- Every mid-size van on sale ranked for payload
- Top models now carry almost 1,500kg
- Helping you make an informed buying decision
Want to know which medium van has the highest payload? Then you’ve come to the right place, as we’ve investigated all 11 mid-size vans on sale in the UK in order to find out which one carries the most.
The best are now challenging the large van class, with maximum payload capacities of almost 1,500kg – that’s 1.5 tonnes. What’s more, the difference between the best and worst in this segment is now 427kg.
This area of the market is dominated by the Ford Transit Custom, which is the UK’s best-selling van. But is the Transit Custom the best choice if you’ve got a really heavy load to carry? Read on to find out.
Before you get to it, though, you may want to take note of a couple of things. Firstly, remember that payload capacity includes everything inside the van, including the people, up to whatever gross vehicle weight (GVW, also known as gross vehicle mass or GVM) has been specified by the manufacturer.
The GVW varies considerably in the medium van class, so make sure you check that the van you’re considering meets your requirements.
Also remember that most manufacturers quote the payload as the same regardless of the trim level, when in fact high-spec vans will legally be able to carry less due to the weight of their additional equipment.
Finally, two manufacturers – Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen – account for the weight of the driver (a nominal 75kg) in their kerbweight figures, reducing the payload figures they put in their brochures. We’ve adjusted for this here in order to make it easier to compare every rival.
11) Hyundai iLoad – 1,205kg
Suffice to say, you’re probably best not buying the budget bargain Hyundai iLoad if you want to carry a lot of weight. It’s a heavy van at 2,098kg before you’ve even put anything in it, which only leaves just over a tonne of spare capacity for payload.
Still, the single 116hp engine choice is a large 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel with a torquey 343Nm max, so it shouldn’t struggle to shift whatever you're carrying, especially with its rear-wheel drive layout helping traction.
= 9) Fiat Talento L2H1 – 1,249kg
The Fiat Talento is one of four vans based on the Renault Trafic platform (the other two being the Nissan NV300 and Vauxhall Vivaro). It’s a good-looking van that’s comfortable to drive, but for what can only be specification reasons, doesn’t carry as much payload as the other three.
You only get the 1,249kg figure with the single-turbo 95hp and 120hp engines, too, rather than the more potent – and fuel-efficient – twin-turbo 125hp and 145hp models.
= 9) Mercedes-Benz Vito SWB 114CDi – 1,249kg
Mercedes-Benz boasts that the latest Vito carries as much as 130kg more than its predecessor, but it’s still only mid-ranking when it comes to payload in the 2017 medium van sector. Its 1,249kg max matches the Talento above.
However, the Vito 114CDi in question is a rear-wheel drive van. This should mean excellent traction for the 136hp/330Nm four-cylinder diesel when fully loaded.
= 6) Nissan NV300 L2H1 – 1,280kg
The Nissan NV300 is the newest of the four members of the extended Renault Trafic family, and if there’s a Nissan LCV dealer near you it makes plenty of sense because it comes with a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty. The Toyota Proace and Hyundai iLoad are the only other mid-size vans that offers as much reassurance.
The NV300 also matches both the Trafic and the Vauxhall Vivaro for maximum payload, with 1,280kg claimed across the L2H1 (that’s long-wheelbase, standard roof) range. The equivalent Proace, however, carries over 200kg more…
= 6) Renault Traffic LL29 – 1,280kg
Given the Trafic is the mother van for the NV300, no surprise the Renault is also considerably out-gunned when it comes to ultimate payload. This van design does offer one of the largest load areas in terms of volume, however, so if it’s space you need they’re still very much worth a look.
Especially since they are also among the most comfortable vans on the market, with one of the highest-quality cabs. Again, any engine in the range achieves the 1,280kg payload rating.
= 6) Vauxhall Vivaro 2900 L2H1 – 1,280kg
Final member of the Trafic family, and aside from the styling the only difference between the Vivaro and the others is that it’s built in Luton, rather than France. Local advantage often means great value when it comes to cost – but always shop around.
You can choose any long-wheelbase (L2), standard roof (H1) 2900 variant, but we’d recommended splashing out for the BiTurbo for additional punch and improved fuel economy; 125hp is fine, 145hp even better. As with the others it’s a 3,040kg GVW van, with 2,000kg towing capacity.
5) Volkswagen Transporter T32 SWB 2.0TDI Startline – 1,349kg
Unlike most other manufacturers on this list, VW is very specific about its payload ratings, rightly pointing out that basic models will have more legal load capacity than those with more standard equipment.
So while T32 (meaning 3,200kg gross vehicle weight) short-wheelbase Startline with the 150hp 2.0-litre diesel engine comes in at 1,349kg, if you go for the higher-spec Trendline or Highline the payload reduces to 1,240kg or 1,213kg. Meanwhile, long-wheelbase versions carry 56-57kg less.
4) Ford Transit Custom 340 L2 H1 – 1,459kg
Sitting just outside the top three is the UK's most popular van, the Ford Transit Custom. It's not far outside, though – in its latest 2018 facelift guise, the 340-series L1H1 version still carries an impressive 1,459kg.
That's a hell of a lot, especially considering a kerbweight approaching 2.0 tonnes, helping it feel solid and secure on the road. The secret is the enormous 3,400kg gross vehicle weight. A powerful 170hp engine means it drives nicely and can tow up to 2,800kg, too.
3) Toyota Proace 2.0D 120 Medium – 1,487kg
The top three mid-size vans are all related to each other, being variants of the Citroen Dispatch, Peugeot Partner and Toyota Proace. These are the very newest design of medium van on the market, so their payload performance makes sense, helped by very low kerbweights.
What’s perhaps more surprising is not every brand offers the same maximum amount. Toyota’s 1,487kg payload is the lowest of the three because it doesn’t offer a 3,100kg GVW Compact van, only a Medium (and Long) model. That’s still 95kg more than the similarly sized Transit Custom.
= 1) Citroen Dispatch 1400 2.0 BlueHDi 150 XS – 1,499kg
Citroen beats Toyota for ultimate payload by offering an XS – that’s Extra Short, same as the Proace Compact – Dispatch with a 3,100kg gross vehicle weight. With less kerbweight eating into that legal total maximum weight there’s more capacity left for stuff. 1,499kg in total, the joint-best in the mid-size van class.
Of course, the amount of load volume – or room – for that stuff is reduced by the smaller van body, too. Go for a Medium length van, and the payload will be similar to the Proace. Though it does also appear that the 150hp 2.0-litre engine is slightly lighter than the 120hp version used in the Toyota.
= 1) Peugeot Expert 2.0 BlueHDi 150 Compact - 1,499kg
Peugeot uses Compact instead of XS, but otherwise this Expert is basically identical to the Dispatch above – we’ve only listed them this way round for alphabetical neatness. Both claim the same whopping 1,499kg payload.
Regardless of bodylength, the Expert, Dispatch and Proace are all small, light vans, with low roof heights ideal for carpark access. They’re also nice to drive (even if the steering wheel is off-set to the left), with good fuel economy and a comfortable ride. Just check the load volumes are big enough for your gear before you buy.