Understanding Different Van Bodytypes - Select Van Leasing

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Understanding Different Van Bodytypes

Today there are so many more types of van to choose from, that as long as you do your homework and have a good handle on your needs, you’re certain to find a van that’s truly fit-for-purpose.  Read our detailed guide below and discover your perfect van today.

Van Body Types Explained

In this section, we explain the different van body types on offer and highlight the key things you really need to know about each, including importantly whether they truly fall under the HMRC classification of a ‘van’ or not. 

Small Vans

The 'Car-Derived' Van - The True Hybrid!

The smallest van on the market, a car-van hybrid featuring the base of a car but with rear seats removed to provide storage space.

  • Best suited to urban environments as they’re easy to park, manoeuvre and are very economical to run
  • Ideal for couriers, handy-‘men’, window cleaners, florists etc
  • Offers many of the advantages of a car: compactness, ease of drive and comfort
  • Carries one or two people (including the driver)
  • Provides rear access to the cabin (usually via a hatchback/tailgate-style door)
  • Useful for small loads that aren’t excessively heavy (loading weight should generally not exceed two tonnes)

Small Van Offers

Small Vans

Compact Van - If You've Got A Bit More To Carry! 

The next smallest type of van after the car-derived van, carries one or two people (including the driver)

  • Best suited to urban environments, as they’re easy to park, manoeuvre and very economical to run
  • Ideal for couriers, handy-'men', window cleaners, florists etc.
  • Has a larger load area than a car-derived van and can handle a heavier load
  • Some offer both rear and side door access to the cabin, others offer only rear access

Small Van Offers

Medium & Large Vans

Panel Van - The Everyman Van!

The most popular van type because they come in a huge range of sizes, shapes, wheel-base lengths (ranging from small through to extra-long) and heights.  These vans are the lifeblood of the UK economy!

  • Ideal for builders, carpenters, joiners, delivery drivers, landscape gardeners, removalists
  • The name refers to the blanked-out side and back windows, which offer added security for load area goods
  • Offers either a single row of seating (carrying 3 people) or double (carrying 6 or 7 people)
  • Medium Van Offers

Medium & Large Vans

Chassis Cab - Tailor It To Your Needs!

Features the cab and full platform of a van, but without the rear van body

  • Offers either a single row of seats (carrying driver and up to 3 others) or double row (carrying up to 6/7 others)
  • Chassis cabs are designed for customisation of the rear van area and are usually converted into a Luton/box van, tipper van or drop-side van (see below for more on each off these)
  • Medium Van Offers

Medium & Large Vans

Tippers - The Easy Loader/Unloader!

A chassis cab with either a single or double row of seating and a large, flat, open rear load area that features a hydraulic ram (that pushes the front load area up to move contents to the rear for unloading)

  • The open, flat cargo area also makes for easy loading from a forklift truck
  • Useful for transporting heavy or loose materials (gravel, stone, soil) that need to be delivered
  • Medium Van Offers

Medium & Large Vans

Drop-Sides - Mr Accessible!

A chassis cab with a single or double row of seating and a large, flat, open rear load area - the sides of which are shallow and drop down to facilitate easy access and loading/unloading of contents

  • The open, flat cargo area also makes for easy loading using a forklift truck
  • Useful where heavy, bulky or loose materials need transporting to e.g. building sites and horticultural projects
  • Medium Van Offers

Medium & Large Vans

Luton Or Box Van - Maximise Your Load Space!

A van with a large box-shaped body that extends up and over the cab area (to provide maximum load space)

  • Ideal for removalists, delivery drivers with large items, landscape gardeners
  • Carries up to three people across a single row of seating
  • Often comes with a tail-lift to help lift heavy loads on/off the van
  • Offer a very large load space (hence their popularity amongst removalists)
  • Lightweight to drive, made from thin, reinforced fibreglass or plastic which also makes it very strong
  • The largest van that can be driven with a standard UL driving licence
  • Medium Van Offers

Pick-Up Trucks

Single Cab Pickup Truck - The True Crossover Utility Vehicle!

A car-van hybrid featuring an enclosed cabin and open cargo area with low sides and a tailgate door

  • Best suited to all conditions, however especially great for rocky terrain e.g. country work and building sites 
  • Ideal for builders, landscape gardeners but less well suited to long-length goods
  • Limited cargo space, albeit handles a trailer with ease to carry up to 2x the volume of cargo
  • Canopy protects cargo and offers some degree of security, however, not as much as with an enclosed van
  • Carries two or three people (including driver)
  • Offers excellent accessibility to cargo area, truck height makes loading and unloading very easy
  • Offers great fuel-economy compared with more traditionally shaped small vans
  • Pick Up Offers

Pick-Up Trucks

Double Cab Pickup Truck - More People, No Problem!

A car-van hybrid featuring an enclosed cabin and unenclosed cargo area with low sides and a tailgate door

  • Best suited to builder and landscape gardener materials, not good for long/boxy goods. Great for rocky terrain such as country work and building sites
  • Ideal for crews, landscape gardeners etc.
  • Excellent if routinely carrying a crew as it features 4 doors and 2 rows of seating to carry up to 6 people
  • Not to be confused with the double cab panel van (which has an enclosed load area)
  • Cargo area has limited space, albeit easily handles a trailer to carry up to 2x the volume of cargo
  • Canopies offer cargo protection and some degree of security, however not nearly as much as an enclosed van
  • Offers excellent accessibility to the cargo area, truck height makes loading and unloading easy
  • Offers great fuel economy compared with more traditionally shaped small vans
  • Tax consideration: It is important to understand the tax rules around double-cab pick-ups and tax
  • Pick Up Offers

Where To Next?

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