Best medium vans 2019-2020

  • What is the best mid-size van for you? Parkers is here to help
  • Every medium sized panel van on sale in the UK ranked
  • Costs to quality, design to practicality - all aspects of ownership considered

What is the best medium van? We’ve driven every mid-size panel van on sale in the UK and after a great deal of careful consideration put them into order of preference based on everything from their load-carrying capability, ease of use, running costs, reliability and driving experience. 

Whatever you want to buy a medium van for, Parkers Vans and Pickups is here to help, with a breakdown of the major pros and cons of every model alongside a link to the full review so you can find out even more. All to make sure you’re getting the best van for you.

As well as being working machines, these are the vans most often bought as lifestyle vehicles; spec two rows of seats and you’ve got super-practical family transport, while more adventurous types such as surfers, mountain bikers and fishing enthusiasts also tend to favour this type of van.

Here’s the Parkers Vans and Pickups list of the best medium vans, counting down in reverse order.

11) Hyundai iLoad

Hyundai iLoad 2018 facelift - see where it ranks among the best medium vans 2019

Although facelifted in 2018, the iLoad is the oldest medium van on sale in the UK – and it shows. Available as a panel or crew van but in just one body size, it has a single 2.5-litre engine option producing only a modest 116hp, not to mention the lowest payload rating and the poorest fuel economy of any van in this sector.

On the plus side, the interior is car-like, and with 343Nm of torque it doesn’t struggle to shift the load it can carry. It’s also cheap and comes with a five-year warranty.

However, with a poor driving experience and limited equipment list, almost no options, short service intervals and no dedicated light commercial vehicle (LCV) dealer network, most buyers would do better looking elsewhere.

>> Read our full Hyundai iLoad review

>> Find a Hyundai iLoad for sale near you

>> Get an insurance quote on a Hyundai iLoad via mustard.co.uk

= 8) Renault Trafic / Nissan NV300 / Fiat Talento

Fiat Talento (top), Renault Trafic (middle) and Nissan NV300 (bottom) - find out where they rank among medium vans 2019

Trafic is the lead van here, with Renault also building the Nissan NV300 and Fiat Talento in its factory in France. They come in two body lengths and two roof heights, and have recently been updated for the latest Euro 6.2 emissions regulations, moving from 1.6-litre engines to new 2.0-litre motors with up to 170hp. 

They are comfortable, refined and engaging to drive, and the engines are efficient. But with relatively modest payloads, these are not the vans to choose if your goods are heavy.

Still, they are packed with practical features, including lots of in-cab storage, large numbers of load-lashing points as standard and an especially lengthy load space. Long warranties (five years from Nissan) and good dealer network support (Renault especially) also make these worth considering.

>> Read our full Renault Trafic review

>> Read our full Nissan NV300 review

>> Read our full Fiat Talento review

>> Find a Renault Trafic for sale near you

>> Find a Nissan NV300 for sale near you

>> Find a Fiat Talento for sale near you

>> Get a van insurance quote via mustard.co.uk

7) Mercedes-Benz Vito

Mercedes Vito - find out where it ranks among the best medium vans 2019

If you’re looking for maximum quality, the Mercedes Vito is the top dog – though you need to choose wisely, and be prepared to pay for it. For example, while it’s unique in the class for being available with front- and rear-wheel drive powertrains we’d definitely opt for a rear-wheel drive model, given the choice.

You get a bigger engine, for starters. But also a nicer driving experience. There are few vans that feel quite so much like driving a regular car, and higher specification Vitos even have the cab finish to match (though cheaper ones can be dire inside). Upates in 2019 include new trim levels and revised engines.

Three body lengths and a massive options list – including a seven-speed automatic gearbox – mean you won’t struggle to tailor the Vito exactly to you. And while it doesn’t have the highest payload ratings, it’s well supported by the Mercedes dealer network and 30 years of roadside assistance cover.

>> Read our full Mercedes Vito review

>> Find a Mercedes Vito for sale near you

>> Get a Mercedes Vito insurance quote via mustard.co.uk

= 3) Citroen Dispatch / Peugeot Expert / Toyota Proace / Vauxhall Vivaro

Vauxall Vivaro (top left), Peugeot Expert (top right), Citroen Dispatch (bottom left) and Toyota Proace (bottom right) - find out where they rank among the best medium vans 2019

Utilising the newest medium van platform in the market, this quartet of closely related cousins offer impressive fuel economy and class-beating payload ratings, making them great value for money.

Being so new, they also have lots of high-tech features (though these are largely limited to the options list), while engine output goes as high as 180hp; the Toyota version even gets a five-year warranty, though the others - especially the Vauxhall, introduced in 2019 - perhaps have stronger van dealer networks.

There is only a single roof height, but there's an unusual choice of three load lengths (except in the Vauxhall) and these are car-like and quiet to drive. Shame the cab is a little cramped and that the driving position is off-set.

>> Read our full Citroen Dispatch review

>> Read our full Peugeot Expert review

>> Read our full Toyota Proace review

>> Read our full Vauxhall Vivaro review

>> Find a Citroen Dispatch for sale near you

>> Find a Peugeot Expert for sale near you

>> Find a Toyota Proace for sale near you

>> Find a Vauxhall Vivaro for sale near you

>> Get a van insurance quote via mustard.co.uk

2) Volkswagen Transporter

VW Transporter - find out where it ranks among the best medium vans 2019

The most reliable mid-size van for several years running according to the FN50 van reliability survey, the VW Transporter manages the neat trick of being both cool and exceptionally practical – with perhaps the most functional cab design of any model in this sector of the van market.

It comes in a massively wide range – read our long-term test review of the 204hp TSI turbo petrol version – as well as front- and four-wheel drive, and trim levels that range from basic with bash-friendly unpainted bumpers to bodykitted Sportline models with lowered suspension.

As with the Vito, maximum payload isn’t its greatest strength, but there is a choice of roof heights and body lengths. Sharp looks and tidy handling keep it popular with the lifestyle crowd, and it holds its value well. Just budget for earplugs, as they’re not the most refined vans inside. A facelift reaches dealers in early 2020.

>> Read our full VW Transporter review

>> Find a VW Transporter for sale near you

>> Get a VW Transporter insurance quote via mustard.co.uk

1) Ford Transit Custom

Ford Transit Custom - find out where it ranks among the best medium vans 2019

Updated in 2018 with a major facelift that made it even better looking and more functional, and then updated again in 2019 with the introduction of revised engines and mild hybrid technology, the UK's bestselling van is a real belter.

It's had some issues with its 2.0-litre EcoBlue Euro 6 engines - most recently with injector failures - but as an all-rounder, the Transit Custom really is tough to beat. Owners love them, they're good to drive and they have high payloads, while a wide range of trim levels and lots of dealers helps make them great value

What's more, they're at the leading edge of technology, too, with a new Plug-In Hybrid version and plenty of the latest connectivity systems, including a smartphone app that helps you keep track of your van - and its health - at all times. Brilliant.

>> Read our full Ford Transit Custom review

>> Find a Ford Transit Custom for sale near you

>> Get a Ford Transit Custom insurance quote via mustard.co.uk

Also read:

>> Best small vans

>> Best large vans

>> Best medium vans for payload

>> Most reliable vans