Sporty vans – the full list for 2016-2017

  • Sporty looks suit lifestyle buyers and attention-seeking businesses
  • Top-spec trim levels so come loaded with kit
  • Ford, Volkswagen, Mercedes and Renault all feature

Gone are the days of vans being simple tools for getting a job done – in 2016 we expect creature comforts galore and, increasingly, a good dollop of style as well. Which is where the growing number of  “sport” vans come in.

Particularly associated with Ford, Mercedes-Benz and VW, these are like normal vans but with an extra dose of attitude (and usually a load more standard kit) thrown in. As such they often appeal to lifestyle buyers in addition to people with businesses to run.

>> Best medium vans overall

This page rounds up all the major sport vans currently on sale – concentrating on examples that give you an obvious visual upgrade to underline their status as the top dogs in the range (sorry Vauxhall; that means you’ll have to try harder with your next Vivaro Sportive).

Jump straight to your preferred sporty van manufacturer by clicking their name:

While most of these sport vans do have the lifestyle market firmly in mind, their eye-catching looks could help potential customers remember your business, so they do have a practical function as a marketing device, too.

Remember that. It’ll be helpful should you need to justify the additional expense involved in their purchase to your accountant.

For our full round up of current sport vans, read on.

Also read: Top five sporty medium vans

Ford Transit Custom Sport Van

Ford has been making Transits sporty for decades – it started using high-performance “Supervans” as promotional tools way back in 1971, but since these were basically racing cars in disguise they weren’t much use at the trade depot. Regular Transits of the same era were noted for their use as getaway vehicles, however, so they were pretty handy as standard, too…

That said, it wasn’t until the generation before the current model that we actually saw a Transit SportVan you could actually buy in the showroom. This was initially a limited edition, but it proved so popular that Sport has become the standard range-topping trim for the current Transit Custom.

It comes, of course, with big wheels, a sporty bodykit and racing stripes. We rate it as a fine lifestyle choice, with a comfortable and car-like driving experience. And because it’s the range-topping trim, there’s plenty of standard kit, too, including a fully-lined load area. We’ve recently driven the new 170hp 2.0-litre EcoBlue engine, too.

Click here to read a road test of the Ford Transit Custom Sport Van

Find Ford Transit Custom deals in the Parkers for sale section

Ford Fiesta Van Sport

The Transit Custom isn’t the only Ford to get the Sport treatment, though, as it’s also the top specification on the Fiesta Van.

What’s particularly amusing about this one is that it gets a very similar exterior look to the Fiesta ST hot hatch – and although you won’t fool too many people away from the traffic lights, the 1.5-litre turbodiesel engine is pretty sprightly when it’s just got the 1,070kg basic kerbweight to deal with (if less so when the 495kg payload rating is taken to its max).

Still, if you want a small van that’s good to drive, this is it – as it carries over many of the fine handling traits from the current Fiesta car – which has been the UK’s best-selling vehicle since 2009.

Click here to read a road test of the Ford Fiesta Sport Van

Find Ford Fiesta van deals in the Parkers for sale section

Ford Transit Custom M-Sport

Ford Transit Custom M-Sport

Should neither of the above Ford options hit the spot then there’s always Van Sport – who in 2015 developed the Transit Custom M-Sport to celebrate the Transit’s 50th anniversary. This features a much more aggressive body kit, lowered suspension, 18-inch OZ Racing alloy wheels and a special interior.

The M-Sport name refers to the racing team that develops Ford’s rally cars (amongst many others) as the van is created by the same people. There’s also an M-Sport upgrade for the Transit Connect.

We’ve tested the full Ford M-Sport range  read all about them by clicking here

Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport

Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport

Mercedes also does a roaring trade in sporty models – with previous Vito Sport X models really living up to the name. For the current Vito, Sport represents the top-spec trim and comes with a number of visual upgrades, most of which are finished in chrome, but no significant boost in performance. There’s more kit inside as well.

Available with the standard and long body length, and as a regular panel van or a crew cab, the Vito Sport is a lifestyle option with a premium badge. But the 2.1-litre turbodiesel engine that powers it is not especially refined, and it wouldn’t be our first choice in this sector.

To read Parkers’ road test of the Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport crew cab van click here

Find used Mercedes Vito deals in the Parkers for sale section

Mercedes-Benz Citan Sport

Mercedes-Benz Citan Sport

Sport is also the top spec for the smaller Mercedes Citan, and it follows a similar pattern: shiny accessories on the outside, extra kit on the inside – including air-conditioning. You can only have the Sport as a long wheelbase Citan. As with all Mercedes vans it comes with a three-year warranty and a 30-year roadside assistance package…

Mercedes-Benz Citan Sport now available

Find used Mercedes Citan deals in the Parkers for sale section

Renault Trafic Sport+ pack

Renault Trafic Sport+ Pack

While the Renault Trafic’s own range-topping Sport trim isn’t as lairy as the Transit Custom Sport right out of the box, you can upgrade it with the Sport+ Pack. This adds front and rear spoilers (with design influenced by the Renaultsport hot hatch range no less), step side bars, front foglights, LED daytime running lights and – yes! – decal stripes shaped to the contours of the van.

The pack comes in a choice of Black and White, plain Black or Black and Red – the last being about as close as you can get to a factory A-Team van in 2016… The Trafic is one of our favourite vans, so this seems entirely appropriate.

Click here to read a Renault Trafic Sport review on Parkers

Find Renault Trafic deals in the Parkers for sale section

Volkswagen Transporter Sportline

VW Transporter Sportline

Finally, the newest entrant into the 2016 roster of sport vans is the VW Transporter Sportline. Volkswagen arguably knows the lifestyle van market better than anyone else, and it’s really gone to town here – with the Sportline featuring lowered suspension, 18-inch two-colour alloy wheels plus deeper bumpers front and rear for a far more aggressive look. Possibly the so-called carbonfibre mirror covers are going too far, however…

The inside teeters on the edge of bad taste as well with its black and red leather seats. But since the Sportline builds on the existing top-spec Highline trim, you may well feel the standard equipment list is worth the strain on your retinas; it includes Climatic air-conditioning, touchscreen sat-nav and a number of fancy online services.

Initial supplies of the latest Transporter Sportline are limited to a 180hp twin-turbo diesel automatic version of the kombi – which means you’ll have to sacrifice some loadspace to the second row of seats. Ideal for a modern vanning family, but not for the builders’ merchants. More engines and full Sportline panel vans will be available to order before the end of 2016 ahead of arriving in the UK in 2017.

Find VW Transporter deals in the Parkers for sale section