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Choosing your van

BUYER’S GUIDE

Buy a van that means business

When you’re on the hunt for a van, you need the right tool for the job. A key requirement is that it can handle the size and weight of your goods. We have a wide range of options, from panel vans and double cabs to factory-built and bespoke conversions. And the right aftersales service to keep your business running. 

 

So we've put this simple guide together to help you decide what’s important and create a shortlist.

    Buy a van that means business

When you’re on the hunt for a van, you need the right tool for the job. A key requirement is that it can handle the size and weight of your goods. We have a wide range of options, from panel vans and double cabs to factory-built and bespoke conversions. And the right aftersales service to keep your business running. 

 

So we've put this simple guide together to help you decide what’s important and create a shortlist.

Choosing Your Van

Carrying capacity

Making sure your van can carry all your people and tools is vital. Buying a bigger van than you need will be less cost-effective, but you also need to ensure there’s capacity if your business does grow. 

 

Larger vans, such as the Movano, usually offer a choice of three roof heights: low, medium and high. So measure some of your biggest equipment to get an idea of how high you need your van to be. Smaller vans, such as the Combo or Vivaro, have a fixed roof height.

 

Weight is important, too. There are multiple reasons not to overload your van – driving an overweight vehicle is not just unsafe, but illegal. Too much weight can also damage or quickly wear out your van’s brakes and suspension, reduce its power and fuel-efficiency, and create more emissions as well.

Seating, space and distance

Whether you’re working solo or with a crew, chances are you’ll need a van with flexible seating options. They can come with one - four bench seat options and additional fold down seats. 

 

Next thing to think about is space. Work out how much you need for tools, long ladders and any wide items you might carry. Many vans come with nifty storage options, too.

 

Travelling far? If you really clock up the miles on business, you may want a 6-speed transmission, and a higher spec so you can get to work with a little more comfort and entertainment. Or if you’re looking for even more versatility, efficiency and comfort, check out the 8-speed automatic transmissions or diesel engines on Vauxhall vans.

 

If you frequently travel to new places, an integrated sat nav will be handy, too.

Getting in and out

What sort of things are you loading in your van? If it’s bulky items, it’s worth considering a van with easier access. For example, the new Vauxhall Vivaro offers access from the side and rear, with the option for the rear doors to fold flat.

Safety and security

A secure van is vital to protect your business’s assets, so make sure you think about the vehicle’s safety features. 

 

Fortunately, many vans today are fitted with sophisticated security devices. For example, an anti-theft alarm comes as standard on Vauxhall Combo Sportive and Limited Edition Nav models, and also on Vivaro Sportive and Elite.

 

But it’s good to take a ‘belt and braces’ approach to security as well. So don’t leave tools or any valuable items in your van overnight.

 

Think about your employees’ and your own comfort when choosing your van. Do you need lumbar support? Does the vehicle have adjusters that will let you set an optimal driving position? Do you want heated seats for those early winter mornings?

Accessories

You want a van designed around your business.  So work out if you need things like shelving, racks, roof bars, pipe carriers, ladder clamps and tool stores to help you get the job done. There are lots of accessories that can help you protect and organise your van, such as ply lining, so it’s worth thinking about this when you’re speccing it up.

What will it cost?

Adding it all up

Start with a budget in mind – either a total amount or what you can afford monthly. There’s lots of finance options available when buying a van. 

 

You could boost your budget by trading in your current vehicle and using it as a down payment on the new one. 

 

Don’t forget to consider things like insurance, tax, fuel and servicing as well.  

 

Naturally you’ll want to minimise costs. But you’ll also need to make sure any van you choose now will serve your needs if your business grows. 

 

Think about all the different operating costs of your van during the buying process.

Fuel

When buying a van, it's important to consider which type of engine is most suitable for your driving. This will ensure that you are getting the most fuel-efficient engine for your journeys. 

 

You can compare the miles per gallon (mpg) and power of different engines to work out which is best for you. As well as considering fuel type and mpg to minimise fuel costs, power is important to consider to ensure you have a comfortable drive. 

 

For example, diesel engines can be favourable with often a more efficient mpg which is better for the environment and cheaper to run. Not only that, but they often offer more torque, suitable for those heavier loads.

Service, maintenance and repair (SMR)

Think about the ongoing costs of van maintenance for things like tyres, parts, MOT and servicing. 

 

Aftersales maintenance is important to maintain your vehicle’s health. This will help you avoid surprise mechanical issues (and costs) that can bring your business to a halt. It will also keep you in line with government requirements, such as up-to-date MOTs.

Insurance

Insurance can be pricey, so get a few quotes together. Generally, a more expensive van will have higher premiums. So will one used mainly for business. Premiums will also be more if the security rating is lower and accident-repair costs are higher.

 

Using your van for something specific? You may find you need specialist cover, e.g. haulage insurance.

Road tax

For a light commercial vehicle (LCV) such as a van or pickup, road tax is charged at a flat rate, depending on the vehicle’s age.

 

The 2018-2019 van road-tax rate is £250 for 12 months, or £137.50 for six months. 

Older vans are taxed in a slightly different way, with specific rates for certain periods of the Euro 4 and Euro 5 emissions standards.

New or used

The other big factor in the cost of a van is whether to buy new or used. Both have benefits, with either immediate or long-term cost savings and benefits. Which is it going to be? Here are a few pointers to help you decide:

 

New

 

  • You'll have the latest model with up-to-date technology and style.
  • There are some great new-van deals around, which include servicing, warranty and extended warranties to help take the hassle out of ownership.
  • Choose exactly the vehicle and features you want. 
  • You’ll know the vehicle's full history.

Used

  • Used vehicles are usually less expensive to buy. But beware of any ‘unbelievable’ bargains. 
  • You can get warranty and history checks at your Retailer.
  • Older vehicles depreciate less than new ones. 
  • Road tax costs are higher (older vans are taxed using Euro 4/5 emissions standards).

Warranty and aftersales

You work hard. Your van needs to, as well. So it could be worth thinking about a warranty to protect it. All Vauxhall vans come with a 12-month warranty and RAC cover via Vauxhall Roadside Assistance. This gives you peace of mind that you can keep your business running. 

 

It’s worth considering extended warranty products or service plans, and additional years of roadside assistance for extra peace of mind. Keeping business downtime to an absolute minimum is a priority, so make sure any aftersales service gives you all the back-up you need.

Finance Options

Finance Options

How you finance your van can be crucial to your bottom line. So explore the different finance options on the market based on how you want to account for your van within your business.

 

On book – this is where your van is registered against the business as an asset by an outright purchase or HP agreement.

 

Off book – here the van isn’t registered against the business. It could be a contract hire or a leasing agreement.

On book

Outright purchase

 

This could be with or without a HP agreement. Buying means there are no mileage restrictions or contracts. And no third-parties involved. You can also sell your vehicle at any time.

Off book

Contract hire

 

A great worry-free option that lets you just get on with business. There’s no capital outlay, admin, road tax payments or depreciation. You don’t even have to sell your van. It’s all sorted for you. That’s all on top of the following:

 

  • No large upfront payments 
  • Affordable monthly payments – easy to budget 
  • Maintained contracts available 
  • No disposal risk on costs or admin 
  • VED (road tax) is included across the contract 
  • No admin – handled by the lease company

Finance lease

This is where you pay monthly and make a final outstanding payment. You can choose how much this is. The higher it is, the lower your monthly payments. And when the agreement ends, you can do one of three things:

 

  • Sell to a third party and pay off the outstanding amount
  • Ask your finance provider to sell it for you
  • Continue on a peppercorn rental

Helpful Tips

Test drive tips

Buying a new van is a big investment. So take a test drive and see if the van you’ve got in mind measures up. Here’s a list of things to consider when you visit your Retailer.

 

  • Take your time to get comfortable and adjust the seat, steering column, mirrors etc.
  • Before you head out on the road, check the layout of the controls including wipers, indicators and lights.
  • If you’ve got a particular use for your van, make sure you check it out with that in mind.
  • See how it handles on the road and try everyday manoeuvres like reversing and parking.
  • Make sure all intended drivers can test drive the vehicle. Ask them what they thought. 
  • Take your MP3 player, phone and/or CDs with you to test the car's music system.
  • Ask to use roads you’re familiar with, so you can drive confidently and see how the van performs.
  • Drive on all the road types you regularly use (‘A’ roads, country roads etc) to make sure you’re comfortable.

Carrying capacity

Making sure your van can carry all your people and tools is vital. Buying a bigger van than you need will be less cost-effective, but you also need to ensure there’s capacity if your business does grow. 

 

Larger vans, such as the Movano, usually offer a choice of three roof heights: low, medium and high. So measure some of your biggest equipment to get an idea of how high you need your van to be. Smaller vans, such as the Combo or Vivaro, have a fixed roof height.

 

Weight is important, too. There are multiple reasons not to overload your van – driving an overweight vehicle is not just unsafe, but illegal. Too much weight can also damage or quickly wear out your van’s brakes and suspension, reduce its power and fuel-efficiency, and create more emissions as well. 

Seating, space and distance

Whether you’re working solo or with a crew, chances are you’ll need a van with flexible seating options. They can come with one - four bench seat options and additional fold down seats. 

 

Next thing to think about is space. Work out how much you need for tools, long ladders and any wide items you might carry. Many vans come with nifty storage options, too.

 

Travelling far? If you really clock up the miles on business, you may want a 6-speed transmission, and a higher spec so you can get to work with a little more comfort and entertainment. Or if you’re looking for even more versatility, efficiency and comfort, check out the 8-speed automatic transmissions or diesel engines on Vauxhall vans.

 

If you frequently travel to new places, an integrated sat nav will be handy, too.

Getting in and out

What sort of things are you loading in your van? If it’s bulky items, it’s worth considering a van with easier access. For example, the new Vauxhall Vivaro offers access from the side and rear, with the option for the rear doors to fold flat.

Safety and security

A secure van is vital to protect your business’s assets, so make sure you think about the vehicle’s safety features. 

 

Fortunately, many vans today are fitted with sophisticated security devices. For example, an anti-theft alarm comes as standard on Vauxhall Combo Sportive and Limited Edition Nav models, and also on Vivaro Sportive and Elite.

 

But it’s good to take a ‘belt and braces’ approach to security as well. So don’t leave tools or any valuable items in your van overnight.

 

Think about your employees’ and your own comfort when choosing your van. Do you need lumbar support? Does the vehicle have adjusters that will let you set an optimal driving position? Do you want heated seats for those early winter mornings?

 

Accessories

You want a van designed around your business.  So work out if you need things like shelving, racks, roof bars, pipe carriers, ladder clamps and tool stores to help you get the job done. There are lots of accessories that can help you protect and organise your van, such as ply lining, so it’s worth thinking about this when you’re speccing it up. 

Engines and Environment

Choosing between a diesel or petrol van can be tricky, but here are our key tips to help you. Diesel and petrol engines have been refined over the years and their respective fuel prices are now quite similar. Servicing costs for each engine are also similar, especially with our range of fixed-price services. 

Engines and Environment

Choosing between a diesel or petrol van can be tricky, but here are our key tips to help you.
Have lower servicing and maintenance costs
Are cheaper than both petrol and diesel to run
Can suit people's daily and longer journeys
MORE INFORMATION
Better for shorter journeys / town and city driving
Less maintenance than diesel engines
Are cheaper to buy than diesel engines
Better for longer journeys / motorway driving
More torque than a petrol engine - better for moving heavier loads
Produce less CO2 and normally better fuel economy than a petrol engine, meaning running costs are normally lower

Conversions

Depending on your business, you may need a van that features an approved specialist body conversion, including tippers, dropsides or box vans. Vauxhall offers core factory conversions, as well as a list of approved converters who’ll be able to meet your bespoke needs.