Vans ain’t what they used to be, that’s for sure

Drive Car of the Year 2021 – Best Van

Finalists:

Only a few years ago, there was precious little to talk about beyond payloads and tie down points in this segment. But we’ve since been through something of a commercial vehicle renaissance.

Crucial safety technology has finally made its way into this part of the commercial vehicle world, and more complex powertrains are offering improved performance and efficiency for users. It’s best shown by our three finalists: The Toyota HiAce, the Peugeot Expert and Ford Transit Custom.


And the Winner is…

Toyota HiAce

An adept workhorse that lifts bar in terms of safety and comfort.

While the modern van doesn’t need to accommodate family desires like a four-wheel-drive ute, they do have a similarly wide range of abilities to consider. Along with having a healthy payload and voluminous load space, driver comfort and ergonomics need to be considered, along with modern safety and convenience technology.

And of course, running costs are an important consideration for small and large volume buyers alike.

After all, many who buy these vans for their small business will be spending bulk hours behind the wheel. Something rough, loud and uncomfortable simply doesn’t cut it these days. And of course, running costs and value for money play a big part.

And so along with payload and GVM testing, our assessment of these three vans included dynamic driving, emergency swerve and brake testing on the track, we did big road loops to assess driver comfort, ride quality and ergonomics.

Good news is that all of these vans have varying levels of autonomous emergency braking, modern infotainment displays (with smartphone mirroring) and excellent ergonomics. Although, only the Toyota HiAce gets a recent five-star ANCAP safety rating from 2019. The Transit Custom also has five stars but from a less stringent 2012 test.

As you would hope and expect, all of these vans carry a load well. During this test, we came to realise that there isn’t a dud in the bunch, and all are excellent options. We could have included options like the Volkswagen Transporter, Mercedes Vito and Hyundai iLoad as well, but the competition was tough enough to keep them out of the top three.

Read the full comparison at Drive.com.au


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