Van with its boot open

Work Vans: Four Of The Best Available In 2021

There was a time when poor comfort, crude road manners and outdated technology could be forgiven in a commercial van so long as it swallowed enough cargo.

By Shell on Sep. 01, 2021

Today, however, a commercial van needs to do more than just carry stuff; it must also be a safe, comfortable, connected and environmentally friendly workspace.

The latest generation of commercial vans reflects the new reality, bolstering their fundamental cargo-carrying abilities with an unprecedented mix of safety, in-car technology and creature comforts. Here are four of the best, from small to large.

Volkswagen Caddy Cargo, from $34,990 plus on-road costs

  • Load capacity: 3.1-3.7m3
  • Payload: 722-754kg
  • Fuel economy: 4.9L/100km

A new generation of the small-van segment's top seller has just gone on sale and raises the bar for safety with standard auto-emergency braking and reverse camera, plus an extensive suite of other driver-assist options.

The new Caddy also introduces two new strong, thrifty diesel engines and a refreshed cabin with an 8.25-inch smartphone-mirroring touchscreen stereo, more storage, and a long list of up-to-the-minute options, including fully digital instruments.

As before, standard-wheelbase, long-wheelbase (Maxi) and five-seater Crewvan models are available.

Mercedes-Benz Vito, from $42,900 plus on-road costs

  • Load capacity: 3.6-6.6m3
  • Payload: 804-1260kg
  • Fuel economy: 6.2-6.7L/100km

Benz's mid-sized hauler has picked up standard auto-emergency braking, lane-keep assist and blind-spot monitors for 2021, making one of the safest models on the market even safer.

Inside, the redesigned cabin has a bigger 7.0-inch touchscreen stereo with smartphone mirroring and a clearer reversing camera, as well as optional tricks like a digital rear-view mirror that allows a view out the back when the cargo area is full.

Mercedes has also simplified the range into a more digestible array of short/medium/long-wheelbase and crew-cab models. The latter can carry up to six if you option three-person front seating.

Toyota Hi-Ace, from $44,230 plus on-road costs

  • Load capacity: 6.2-9.3m3
  • Payload: 1075-1135kg.
  • Fuel economy: 7.5-8.4L/100km

Toyota's new-for-2019 Hi-Ace has just been treated to an update, picking up more cabin storage and access to Toyota Connected Services, which can generate automatic emergency calls in the event of a collision or allow a stolen vehicle to be tracked.

Elsewhere, it's business as usual, meaning a broad selection of long-wheelbase, super-long-wheelbase and five-seater crew-cab variants, plus a strong, economical diesel engine and standard 8.0-inch touchscreen stereo with smartphone mirroring and sat-nav. It also has one of the most comprehensive safety packages around, with auto-emergency braking, lane-departure/blind-spot warnings, reversing camera and other technology all standard.

LDV Deliver 9 van, from $42,095 driveaway

  • Load capacity: 9.66-12.33m3
  • Payload: 1500-1670kg
  • Fuel economy: n/a

This new large-sized Chinese contender serves up vast cargo-carrying abilities for not a lot of cash.

It's more than just a big box, too. Auto-emergency braking, lane-departure warnings and a wide-view overhead reversing camera are amongst its standard safety features, and other driver-assist gizmos can be optioned.

Inside, the three-seat cabin has a big 10.0-inch touchscreen stereo with smartphone mirroring and a folding middle seat that turns into a desk/storage, while the single diesel drivetrain has fuel-saving stop/start technology and other up-to-date tricks. It's available in medium-wheelbase/mid-roof, long-wheelbase/mid-roof and long-wheelbase/high-roof variants.


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