Can a Van Make More Sense than a Car?

It seems like a strange question – surely if you need a van you get a van, and if you don’t need one then you get a car, right? Well, things might not be quite as straightforward as that, and there are certainly situations in which it might actually be better for you to get a small car-based van than something like an estate car. You might not need the van aspect every single day, but it’s great to have.

So firstly, what do we mean when we talk about a car-based van? It’s quite simple really; many manufacturers spend so much money on developing their cars that it makes sense to use as much of this design as possible in their vans. So you end up with small vans that are built on the same chassis, and often even have the same front-half as a car in the manufacturer’s line-up. You’ll find this is true for things like the Peugeot Bipper, VW Polo and even the Mini Clubman. The Astravan is probably the most famous, and you can see them here on AA Cars. All are small and drive well – a world away from larger cousins.

So what are the benefits of choosing a van like this? Clearly, if you’re even considering a van then you need a significant amount of storage space, and the simple fact is that vans are superior to estate cars. The shape is better for fitting in large objects, and you don’t have to worry about damaging your nice carpets or the back of leather seats. If you find yourself regularly moving stuff around, then this is a real benefit.

Another added bonus is that vans are generally built to be a little bit more durable than cars, featuring more durable plastic body cladding, and tough-wearing interiors. Good if you don’t want to worry about getting your paintwork scratched when loading and unloading items, whether it’s garden waste or flat-pack furniture.

You may also worry about the fuel economy of vans, but as commercial buyers tend to be very, very conscious of this, the supplied engines usually meet stringent standards.

So there you have it – if you need a vehicle with the everyday characteristics of a car, but with a large carrying capacity, then perhaps you should forego the idea of an estate and buy a small van.

Image source: GM Europe / Flickr - Licensed for reuse under Creative Commons 2.0
Can a Van Make More Sense than a Car? Can a Van Make More Sense than a Car? Reviewed by Hayley Reeve on Thursday, October 01, 2015 Rating: 5

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