We are not talking about buying a Mitsubishi Express van with four hundred thousand kilometres on it for twelve Euros. This van would be fitted out with a used mattress with even more kilometres on it and you have only bought it so that you can drive up the east coast of Australia for three months, without showering, parking in council carparks overnight, leaking coolant the whole way, sleeping in said van, sleeping with strangers on the beach, spreading STDs, living off Redbull and two minute noodles and generally being a vile grub.
We are looking at vans for the purpose of commercial and trade work. What are the best vehicles for loading up with tools and your kit and heading out to the work site to get the job done?
Ultimately the answer comes down to how much do you want to spend. This comes to both maintenance and purchase price. There are a few great options out there for the entire budget range but first lets look at what to avoid.
The VW Transporter is a fairly poor contender. Expensive to maintain and once the kilometres are up they fall apart quicker than a sand castle on Railay Beach. Avoid the Transporter.
The LDV is also a poor choice. Whilst still falls new to the van market they have yet to be tested against time. However parts seemed to be reasonably priced, if you can get hold of them. Parts for the LDV seem to be floating off shore by three or four weeks at the best of times. Even basic service items like filters and brake pads are hard to come by.
Mitsubishi Express and Ford Econovan:
Whilst a good van in their day, the Express is now best left for Afghan blokes earning an honest living by loading three tones worth of steel into the back of them and adding a washing machine to the roof to make a few quid in the scrap metal trade.
These vans are common for a plethora of faults these days including blown head gaskets. In severe cases they even melt the cylinder heads.
Fiat and Renault:
Forget it. Unless you plan on trading in for a new one every five years these vans are trouble. Several of our couriers and parts suppliers use these and have reported that even under warranty they are often without their van as it has broken down.
Ok so what are the good options.
If your budget allows and the work you will be doing is less likely to be on grubby building sites the Mercedes Benz options are fairly good choices.
The Sprinter is the best van in its size in our opinion. Very few manufacturers make such a big van. The Vito is of similar quality but much smaller. Watch out for expensive servicing costs and they chew through tyres very, very quickly. In some cases less than 20,000kms.
Hyundai I load:
Fantastic van. Make sure you get the Diesel. They are known to give clutch troubles in the manuals and turbos do give some problems. Servicing is cheap, spare parts easily accessible and secondhand parts are everywhere. Very reliable vans and can carry huge weights.
Probably the best choice on the market. the price tag is a little more than the Hyundai but well worth it. Not much in the common faults a part from a dopey coolant leak from a pipe that runs under the inlet manifold and water pumps leaking.