Best small vans: our expert top 10 list

  • Top 10 best small vans in the UK ranked and rated
  • Covers small panel vans and car-derived vans
  • Choices for all kinds of buyers, plus some to avoid, too

The best small vans come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, there are petrol, diesel and electric models, and the most recommended examples have plenty of load capacity and 1,000kg payload ratings. Even though they hardly take up any room on the road.

We’ve carefully compared every small van on sale in the UK using our extensive review and road-test experience to deliver this comprehensive top 10 list of the best small panel vans.

Fully updated after the 2022 Parkers New Car Awards, our Best Small Van winner leads the way below - but we’ve even highlighted some little vans you should probably avoid. For more advice about electric small vans in particular, check out our dedicated best electric vans page.

Once you've made your mind up you can get insurance quotes from our partner business mustard.co.uk, and search for new and used examples via our vans for sale pages.

Best small vans

10. Nissan e-NV200

9. Fiat Doblo Cargo

8. Fiat Fiorino

7. Volkswagen Caddy Cargo

6. Ford Transit Courier

5. Renault Zoe Van

4. Ford Fiesta Van

3. Ford Transit Connect

2. Citroen Berlingo / Peugeot Partner / Vauxhall Combo Cargo

1. Toyota Proace City

And the small vans to avoid

Why buy a small van?

Small vans used to be basic boxes on wheels, with few creature comforts – keeping prices low but often leaving drivers feeling short-changed. These days, whether you want high safety levels, fancy technology or sporty looks, there’s now a small van to suit you.

Their size makes them great for driving around busy towns and cities, and you shouldn’t find them difficult to park. Most are available with camera systems to help with this. Even entry-level engines should have plenty of oomph for these urban journeys.

A small work van is ideal for businesses that need this agility, such as local delivery firms including motor factors and florists, or those that don’t require the space of a larger van, such as mobile valeting companies and decorators.

But if you plan to go further afield it's worth paying extra for a more powerful model. These will be better on the motorway, haul heavier loads more easily and often return better real-world mpg.

Just make sure that whatever van you choose has enough space and carrying capacity for your needs. You don’t want to be buying a different model just a few months down the line.

There's further buying advice at the bottom of the page.

Top 10 best small vans UK 2021

10. Nissan e-NV200

Best small van for electric practicality

Best small vans: Nissan e-NV200 electric van

The tall, upright Nissan NV200 was never very appealing as a diesel model. But now sold only as the e-NV200 electric van, if you want practicality in a small package with the low running costs and zero emissions of electric power this is your best bet at present.

The 109hp motor is powerful enough, especially with instant electric torque, and it can easily cope with motorway speeds if required. Rapid charging means longer distances aren’t impossible, just less practical than with diesel. Note: the all-new Nissan Townstar replaces the e-NV200 in 2022.

Price new: from £26,305*
Used deals: from £10,895*
Loadspace: 4.2 cubic metres
Max payload: 705kg
Fuel economy: 124 miles per charge (WLTP)

>> Read our full Nissan e-NV200 review

9. Fiat Doblo

Best small van for practical space

Best small vans : Fiat Doblo Cargo

The Doblo Cargo isn't a big seller. But it packs a huge load space capable of swallowing three Euro pallets, and is the only small van currently available with a high-roof option. So if you need a small van that can carry as much as some medium vans, it's well worth a look.

Payload ratings are also among the best in this class. The interior is a bit sparse and poorly equipped by modern standards. But the cabin is usefully practical and it drives well enough. The diesel engines are proven and efficient, too.

Price new: from £16,725*
Used deals: from £1,300*
Loadspace: 3.4-5.0 cubic metres
Max payload: 1,050kg
Fuel economy: 43.4-50.4 (WLTP)

>> Read our full Fiat Doblo Cargo review

8. Fiat Fiorino

Best small van for maximum space in a very small package

Best small vans: Fiat Fiorino

The Fiorino is Fiat’s smallest van. It’s quite an elderly product these days, dating all the way back to 2008, and just loses out to the Ford Transit Courier as an overall package, despite actually having the larger load space.

The 1.3-litre Multijet turbodiesel engines are well proven, which means it should be reliable. And while 80 or 95hp doesn’t sound like much, it is punchy enough for purpose here. Shame the ride is so firm, and the interior feels outdated.

Price new: from £14,715*
Used deals: from £1,995*
Loadspace: 2.5-2.8 cubic metres
Max payload: 610kg
Fuel economy: 53.2-57.6mpg (WLTP)

>> Read our full Fiat Fiorino review

7. Volkswagen Caddy Cargo

Best small van for pretending you’re driving a Golf

Best small vans: VW Caddy Cargo

Caddy Cargo is the new name for the Volkswagen Caddy van. Informally known as the Caddy 5 (for fifth generation), it uses the same MQB platform as many VW Group cars, making it better to drive and more technologically advanced than before. The latest 'twin-dosing' diesel engines are super-clean, too.

In addition to the standard front-wheel drive models, you can have the Caddy Cargo with 4Motion four-wheel drive, plus there's a DSG transmission option if you prefer an automatic small van instead of one with a manual gearbox. There are two body lengths and a Caddy California campervan to choose from as well.

Price new: from £18,365*
Used deals: from £18,000*
Loadspace: 3.1-3.7 cubic metres
Max payload: 700kg
Fuel economy: 41.5-57.6mpg (WLTP)

>> Read our full VW Caddy Cargo review

6. Ford Transit Courier

Best compact van for mpg and equipment

Best small vans: Ford Transit Courier

The Courier is Ford’s smallest Transit, a little brother to the very popular Transit Connect. It is very car-like to drive and more modern than its only direct rival, the Fiat Fiorino. A good range of engines is offered, and fuel economy is a particularly strong point.

It comes in four trim levels – topped by a Transit Courier Sport van – and is available as a small kombi passenger van as well as a standard panel van. Useful if you occasionally need to carry more than one passenger.

Price new:Used deals: from £3,990*
Loadspace: 2.3 cubic metres
Max payload: 595kg
Fuel economy: 37.2-65.7mpg (WLTP)

>> Read our full Ford Transit Courier review

5. Renault Zoe Van E-Tech Electric

Best small electric van for driving range

Best small vans: Renault Zoe Van

The Renault Zoe Van is based on the highly successful Renault Zoe passenger car, delivering cheap running costs and a zero emissions driving range of 239 miles. It's modern inside, well equipped, and good to drive around town and on the motorway.

While it might look expensive, monthly finance is very competitive with the rival petrol-powered Fiesta Van. Trouble is, you'll only be hauling light goods. Maximum payload is the lowest on this list at just 457kg.

Price new: from £26,450*
Used deals: from £23,500*
Loadspace: 1.0 cubic metres
Max payload: 457kg
Fuel economy: 239 miles per charge (WLTP)

>> Read our full Renault Zoe Van review

4. Ford Fiesta Van

Best car-derived small van

Best small vans: Ford Fiesta Van

As with its only direct rival, the Renault Zoe Van, the Ford Fiesta Van is just a passenger car with the rear seats replaced by a load area and bulkhead. While every version of the current model can carry over 500kg, the load area is small. It's also only sold with petrol engines now.

However, it looks great - especially in the range-topping Sport trim - and is really good fun to drive, with lots of standard equipment. A recent facelift has freshened it up outside and in. Check out our full guide to the best car-derived vans if you want more info about these specialist small vans.

Price new: from £15,170*
Used deals: from £495*
Loadspace: 0.96 cubic metres
Max payload: 515kg
Fuel economy: 54.3-55.4 (WLTP)

>> Read our full Ford Fiesta Van review

3. Ford Transit Connect

Best small van for choice and fun, decent payload

Best small vans: Ford Transit Connect

This small Transit van success story is one of the bestsellers in this segment for good reason. The Transit Connect is great to drive, packs in the technology, and a recent update boosted payload, too. Standard L1 and long-wheelbase L2 body sizes are offered.

Like every Transit, the Connect comes in loads of versions, too, from basic working van to lifestyle models. You can even get it with an eight-speed automatic transmission to make life easier in traffic. However, it's worth noting that it's due to be replaced by an all-new model in 2022.

Price new: from £16,730*
Used deals: from £700*
Loadspace: 2.6-4.4 cubic metres
Max payload:833kg
Fuel economy: 40.3-55.4mpg (WLTP)

>> Read our full Ford Transit Connect review

2. Citroen Berlingo / Peugeot Partner / Vauxhall Combo Cargo

Best small vans for collective all-round capability

Best small vans: Stellantis trio of Vauxhall Combo Cargo, Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner

With some small exceptions – notably the Peugeot’s ‘i-Cockpit’ interior – these three Stellantis small vans are technically identical. There are some minor spec differences, but collectively they are comfortable and refined, with fantastic practicality. Which also makes them the best small crew vans on sale.

A spacious cab makes them the best three-seater small vans, too. Payload ratings above 1,000kg are available, while high-tech features include overload sensors and clever cameras. They come with petrol, diesel and electric power, and have twice been Parkers Small Van of The Year award winners.

Price new: from £16,588*
Used deals: from £300*
Loadspace: 3.3-4.4 cubic metres
Max payload: 1,009kg
Fuel economy: 44.7-55.6mpg (WLTP)

>> Read our full reviews of the Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner, and Vauxhall Combo Cargo

>> Find Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner, and Vauxhall Combo Cargo vans for sale near you

1. Toyota Proace City

The Parkers Small Van of The Year 2022

Best small vans: Toyota Proace City, 2022 Parkers Small Van of The Year

The Proace City is built for Toyota by Stellantis, and is yet another version of the three vans above. But there's more to this than the Toyota nose job. The Proace City packs in all the same major features as the others, but come with one big advantage: warranty cover for up to 10 years. As standard.

As with all of its vans, the Proace City is part of the Toyota Relax warranty programme. Add the growing Toyota Professional dealer network, and it seems a no-brainer to us that the Proace City is the best small van to choose. Which is why we made it our 2022 Parkers Small Van of The Year.

Price new: from £17,878*
Used deals: from £16,150*
Loadspace: 3.3-3.9 cubic metres
Max payload: 950kg
Fuel economy: 46.3-51.3mpg (WLTP)

Small vans to avoid

Now, let’s be clear – none of the below are absolutely awful. In fact, they’re all versions of the same van. But there are reasons for avoiding them, not least that brand new models will go on sale in 2022.

Renault Kangoo

Best small vans 2021: Renault Kangoo

The best version of the current Renault Kangoo is the ZE electric model, but although it will travel a claimed 143 miles between charges, the 60hp motor is much less powerful than the e-NV200’s and makes for relatively poor performance. The rest of the range is very much feeling its age (it was launched in 2008). Thankfully, the all-new model is impressive.

>> Read our full Renault Kangoo review

Nissan NV250

Best small vans 2021: Nissan NV250

The NV250 is a stop gap van, occupying the space between the end of diesel versions of the NV200 and the arrival of the all-new Nissan Townstar in 2022. Weirdly, being based on the current Kangoo makes the NV250 older in origin than the NV200 it replaced. Nissan has never let us drive one. Draw your own conclusions.

>> Nissan NV250 details on Parkers Vans and Pickups

Mercedes-Benz Citan

Best small vans 2021: Mercedes-Benz Citan

The Citan is a Renault Kangoo with a fancy badge, some changes to the suspension bushes and a few bits of rather incongruous Mercedes switchgear in the cabin. For the money it costs you can do so much better. The new one is a big step forward, though, as Mercedes has had much more input into the design and development.

>> Read our full Mercedes Citan review

Further small van buying advice

What sort of small van should I buy?

As well as the small panel vans, there are also car-derived vans and smaller commercial 4x4s to choose from if you're after a little van.

Both these types of small van are based on passenger vehicles, and have reduced load areas and payloads compared with small vans proper. However, they are usually also even better equipped and nicer to drive.

>> Best car-derived vans

>> Best commercial 4x4s

Dedicated small commercial vehicle vans also come in different types. The most common are city vans the size of the Citroen Berlingo, Ford Transit Connect and Volkswagen Caddy, available in a choice of two body lengths: standard or short-wheelbase (SWB) on one hand and long-wheelbase (LWB) on the other, often labelled Maxi.

Many of these are also available as crew vans, meaning a second row of seats for extra passengers.

The Ford Transit Courier and Fiat Fiorino, meanwhile, are particularly small vans. But still more practical than a car-derived van, and usually cheaper.

All UK small vans are front-wheel drive (FWD) as standard. Some manufacturers offer packages that add grippier tyres and clever electronics to improve traction on slippery surfaces, which could be useful on building sites or in bad weather.

More rarely there are some four-wheel drive (4WD, AWD or 4x4) small vans available – with Vauxhall offering a special Combo Cargo 4x4 conversion and Volkswagen the factory-built Caddy Cargo 4Motion.

Petrol, diesel or electric?

Diesel is the traditional fuel for all vans, and if you do a reasonably lengthy journey every day diesel still returns the best fuel economy.

But if you do lots of short journeys in towns, consider a petrol small van. These usually cost less to buy, can deliver good mpg if driven sensibly, and don’t have a diesel particulate filter (DPF) to get clogged up.

If you're looking for the best petrol small van, we'd consider the Ford Transit Connect, the Ford Fiesta Van or the VW Caddy Cargo.

Electric small vans are becoming more and more tempting, too. Their motors are punchy at low speeds, making them great in traffic, they’re very quiet and relaxing to drive, and running costs are the lowest of all if you charge them on a sensible tariff.

Driving range can be limiting and they are expensive to buy outright – though often very competitive on monthly finance or if leasing. On top of which, electric vans always come with an automatic transmission, something you’ll pay extra for with rival petrol and diesel models (if an auto is available on these at all).

Worth considering, and there's far more info on our best electric vans page.

Also read:

>> Best vans for reliability

>> New vans coming soon

>> Best pickups

>> Best medium vans

>> Guide to long-wheelbase vans