Used Small Vans For Sale

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Used Small Vans For Sale

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Used small vans for sale

Ford might use the tagline “the backbone of Britain” for its popular Transit, but thousands of people and small businesses get by with vans a lot smaller than the familiar mid-sized panel van. Not everyone needs to haul heavy equipment, pallets of goods or hundreds of kilos of tools, but they still need to move stuff about - and that’s where small vans come in.

Virtually every manufacturer that offers a commercial vehicle has a small van or two in its range, and this means there’s a ready used market out there too. Whether you’re looking for a car-based van for around-town duties or something a bit more substantial that’s still easy to park and doesn’t cost much to run, a used small van could be the way forward.

What is a small van?

As anyone short of stature will tell you, small is relative - but generally speaking, small vans in the UK tend to be anything smaller than the popular panel van class that includes models like the Ford Transit Custom, Volkswagen Transporter, Mercedes Vito, and Renault Trafic. In other words, the small van models from each of these manufacturers would be the Ford Transit Courier, Volkswagen Caddy, Mercedes Citan, and Renault Kangoo.

There are plenty of even smaller vans too, from car-based models like the Toyota Corolla Commercial and Suzuki Jimny Commercial (and if you look a little older, Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, and MINI-based vans too), to the truly tiny Citroen Ami Cargo, which stretches the definition of van somewhat but is easier to park than any Transit.

Why buy a used small van?

The reason for buying a small van is likely that you simply don’t have the need for a larger one, and would rather benefit from the lower running costs and more compact size of a small van. If your business doesn’t need the cargo space or payload of a large van, or even if you just need a signwritten van to represent your business and can make use of certain tax incentives, then a small van may make a lot of sense.

As for buying a used small van, that will likely come down to budget, or simply good financial sense. What you lack in terms of a new-van warranty you may easily gain back in avoiding thousands in depreciation, and buying used could bring a certain van into your price range, if a new one is a little too expensive. If the used van has been looked after, you should get just as many years of good service from it as you would with a new van.

Should I buy a petrol, diesel, hybrid, or electric used small van?

While larger vans stuck with diesel power for many decades, smaller and often car-based vans usually offered petrol engines too, just like their passenger-carrying counterparts. Petrol remains a popular option in the small van market, as some of the benefits of diesel engines don’t really materialise for vans driven only short distances or around town. A small petrol engine is likely to be more than up to the task of handling lighter payloads too, compared to the lugging abilities of diesel.

Hybrid and electric models are becoming more commonplace though. The car-based Toyota Corolla Commercial comes only as a hybrid, and it’s just as smooth and quiet as the Corolla Touring Sports estate it’s based on. Several vans now offer electric power too, and while they’re not yet too common in the used market, hefty depreciation means some of them look like great value, particularly if you tend to cover shorter distances, well inside their potential range.

Where can I find used small vans for sale?

Finding the ideal used small van shouldn’t be too difficult. Most online search tools give you the option of searching by vehicle type, and while you probably can’t narrow things down to small vans specifically, you can usually separate commercial vehicles from cars. One tip to search among smaller vans is to limit engine size to smaller capacities - larger vans will typically have 2-litre engines or more, so searching below this size should prioritise small vans. Plenty of used vehicle dealers specialise in vans, too - there’s almost certain to be one or two fairly local to you.

Basic used small van checks

Vans can lead hard lives, so as well as running a used car check before going to view a van, to ensure there are no black marks in its history, it’s wise to have a thorough check around any van you view in person. Worn and scuffed load areas or the occasional ding or dent on the exterior won’t be uncommon, but the cleaner the better, as it’s evidence the van hasn’t just been looked after, but likely driven more carefully too. Likewise, a matching set of tyres is a good sign - it’s safer for a start, but shows that the previous owner has been willing to keep the van in good order, rather than throwing on the cheapest single tyre they could find after a puncture.

With electric vans, the unknown factor is how much life the battery has remaining. The earliest EV vans may have lost several miles’ worth of range from when they were new, but this can also work in your favour - if you don’t need a huge range and only travel locally, an older electric van won’t just be cheap to run, but could be very cheap indeed to buy.