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What are the Main Types of Vans?

What are the Main Types of Vans?

Different Van Types

Choosing the right type of used van for your business or personal use is crucial. You need to make sure that your van is not only the right size, but is also suitable for carrying the kinds of loads you'll be transporting, and can access the locations you'll be travelling to. we've put together a guide to the different van types of vans available, their specifications and more, so that you can make the most informed choice for your business.

To find out everything you might want to consider when looking for your next used van, take a look at our Van Buying Infographic

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What are the types of vans available?

Let's take a look at some of the most popular van types and specifications, grouped by size and type:

Pickup Truck


Pickup Trucks

Pickup trucks are easily recognisable since they have an open-air cargo bed at the back behind the cab, like the Mitsubishi L200. Also considered a truck, this type of van often comes in either two- or four-wheel drive and is popular with business and lifestyle buyers. 



crew van


Crew Vans

Able to transport either people and/or cargo comfortably, many combi or crew vans include stowable seats to boost cargo space further. Examples of combi vans include the Renault Trafic.   






Great for large families, minibuses and MPVs (Multi Purpose Vehicles) have up to seven passenger seats, two of which should be able to fold flat to the floor. This type of van should offer comfort and spaciousness, as the Volkswagen Transporter Shuttle does.



luton van


Luton Vans

This type of van incorporates an enclosed body - a tall, boxy cargo bay - with a separate cab and is usually wider than a panel van. An example of a Luton van would be a Peugeot Boxer. This van type is a favourite of couriers and delivery drivers since the boxy shape makes it easier to deliver larger parcels or bulkier loads. These vans usually only have access from the rear doors and often have lifts to make loading easier as they're often higher off the ground.



Box Vans

Similar to a Luton van, a box van features an enclosed, uniformly box-shaped cargo area, separate from the cab. Unlike a Luton, box vans maintain a consistent shape and lack extra storage over the cab, making them ideal for businesses needing a secure and spacious environment for transport. An example of a box van is the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Box Van. Box vans are favoured for their ease of loading and unloading, thanks to options like roll-up or barn-style rear doors.


tipper van


Tipper Vans

Tippers are specifically designed for quick and efficient unloading of bulk materials; they feature a rear platform that can be raised at an angle to dump the contents, which is especially useful in construction and waste management industries. A good example of this is a Citroen Relay Tipper



dropside van


Dropside Vans

Dropside vans are ideal for those who need easy access to their cargo without the constraints of fixed walls; their sides can be lowered to facilitate the loading and unloading of goods, making them perfect for construction materials and landscape gardening supplies. An example of a Dropside would be a Ford Transit Dropside.






Any van can become a campervan with the right conversion, and more and more Brits are discovering the joys of creating their own home-from-home on wheels. One of the most popular type of vans to convert into a campervan are the Vauxhall Vivaro and the VW Transporter.



panel van


Panel Vans

Panel vans are designed with enclosed sides and a rear, making them secure and ideal for transporting goods that need protection from the elements. This type of van is popular among couriers and service technicians due to its versatile interior space, which can be customized with shelving or equipment racks to suit specific business needs. A classic example of a panel van is the Ford Transit



Electric Vans

Electric vans are becoming increasingly popular as eco-friendly alternatives to traditional fuel-powered vehicles. These vans are equipped with electric motors and batteries, offering a quieter, more environmentally friendly option that reduces emissions and operating costs. An example of an electric van is the Nissan e-NV200


Chassis Cab

A chassis cab is a type of vehicle that includes only the cab and the chassis, allowing for various types of bodies to be mounted on the back depending on the specific needs of the user. This flexibility makes chassis cabs highly popular among commercial users who require customised setups, such as flatbeds, box trucks, or even specialized equipment like cranes or fire trucks. An example of a chassis cab is a Ford Transit Chassis Cab



Different types of van sizes

Small Vans

Size is a crucial factor for a used van, so much so that it might be a more important consideration than the type of van you go for. Smaller vans, such as the Citroen Berlingo, have a short wheel base (SWB) and great manoeuvrability, but obviously offer less in the way of cargo capacity.  


Medium Vans

Neatly bridging the gap between small vans and large vans, medium vans offer a good deal of storage space as well as a comfortable ride, not dissimilar to a normal passenger car. Camper vans, and medium panel vans, such as the Ford Transit Custom, are classified as medium vans. 


Large Vans

Providing the most payload space for your buck, large vans have a long wheel base (LWB) and provide a smoother drive, thanks to the longer space between the axles. Large vans, such as Luton/box vans like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, are the largest vans you can drive on a standard UK drivers licence.



Different Types of Van FAQs

Are there different types of vans?

Yes, there are various types of vans tailored for different uses. Panel vans are enclosed for secure transport, box vans offer spacious cargo areas, Luton vans have extra storage above the cab, and chassis cabs are customizable for specific builds. Additionally, there are tippers and dropsides for construction work, refrigerated vans for perishable goods, and electric vans for environmentally conscious businesses. Each type is designed with particular functions in mind to best suit the user's needs.

What is the most common type of van?

The most common type of van is typically the panel van. These are versatile vehicles used for a variety of purposes, from delivery services to tradespeople. They are characterized by their enclosed cargo space with no side windows in the rear, offering a secure and weatherproof environment for transporting goods. Popular models include the Ford Transit and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, which are favored for their reliability and ample cargo space.

What is a small van called?

A small van is often called a compact van or a city van. These vans are designed for easy maneuverability and efficiency in urban environments. Examples include the Ford Transit Connect and the Renault Kangoo. They are ideal for businesses that require a vehicle for quick and frequent stops, as well as for navigating narrow streets and tight parking spaces.

How many types of vans are there?

There are numerous types of vans to cater to different needs, including panel vans, box vans, Luton vans, chassis cabs, tippers, dropsides, compact vans, and more specialized types like refrigerated vans, electric vans, and camper vans. Each type has its own features and uses in various industries.

How many types of transit vans are there?

The Ford Transit range includes several types: the compact Transit Courier, the mid-sized Transit Connect, the versatile Transit Custom, the spacious full-size Transit, and the adaptable Transit Chassis Cab.

What are the different types of sprinter vans?

Sprinter vans come in cargo and passenger variants, with the former offering large cargo spaces and the latter equipped for carrying multiple passengers.



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