What Size Van Do I Need?


When purchasing a van for your business it may feel like a bit of a minefield knowing which size will be best for your work. Thankfully there are several factors that you can take into consideration that will help you figure out your needs and from there you can look at different van options and see which fits these needs best.

Thinking about your payloads, load space, and number of seats needed and from there you'll be able to determine which van sizes are right or wrong for you.

Our guide will take you through these considerations and the different sizes of vans available to help you choose the best option for you and your business.


The payload is the maximum amount of weight that a van can carry and is specified by the manufacturer. As well as different sized vans having different payloads, different vans of the same size will also have a variation in payloads as you move between models.

If you're a florist it's unlikely that you'll need the payload that a large van offers whilst a delivery driver will likely benefit from a more spacious load capacity.

A typical payload limit for each van type:
- Micro van: 500-530kg
- Small van: 600-900kg
- Medium van: 900-1200kg
- Crew Cab: 800-900kg
- Large van: 1200-1500kg
- Luton van: 1200-1600kg

Load Space

Whilst payload refers to the weight that your van will be able to carry, van dimensions are the actual measurements of the load space and need to be taken into consideration for the items you carry.

Some vans will have additional smart options for additional storage space such as load through hatches as part of a passenger seat, which makes awkward loads easier, or from new some can have additional storage racking built into them.

Typical load space dimensions for each van type (l x w x h):
- Micro van: 1.3m x 1m x 1.1m
- Small van: 1.7m x 1.5m x 1.2m
- Medium van: 2.4m x 1.7m x 1.4m
- Crew Cab: 1.5m x 1.4m x 1.2m
- Large van: 3.4m x 1.7m x 1.7m
- Luton van: 4m x 2.2m x 2.2m

Number of Seats

The number of seats that you need in your van will also help to determine which size van you need. You'll always be able to seat two people in every size of van, a driver and one passenger, but a larger van will open the cabin up to two passengers seats.

If you'll regularly carry more people, perhaps to and from a worksite or you maybe intend to also use the van for personal use, you'll need to look at options that provide crew van options. This then limits the size options for you as small and medium vans aren't able to be converted.

However if you're the only one that will ever be in the van, for example if you're a courier, then the number of seats won't be a factor and you can focus on other factors such as the payload and vehicle dimensions.

Small Vans

Within the overarching category there are micro vans, essentially cars with the rear side windows blanked out and a flat load space replacing the rear seats. As it has a very limited amount of space available but is more practically for transporting goods than a passenger car of the same size.

Examples of micro vans include: Ford Fiesta Van, Vauxhall Corsavan, Ford Courier.

Small vans will give you more space than their predecessors whilst also staying versatile enough that you can easily drive through town and park up as you load and unload goods.

Small vans are usually not much bigger than a passenger car, making them a great option for many small businesses. They are only available as panel vans due to their size and their typical fuel consumption is usually between 40-50mpg on average.

Examples of small vans include: Renault Kangoo, Volkswagen Caddy Cargo, Nissan Townstar, Dacia Duster Commercial, Vauxhall Combo Cargo, Ford Transit Connect.

Medium Vans

If a small van won't quite cut it, then medium vans are your next best bet before looking at the much larger vans on the market. It's one of the most popular choices thanks to its sturdiness but also isn't too much longer or wider than a car, making it still easy to drive around in.

This size is also able to be utilised as a minibus/crew van if you opt for a set up with an additional row of seats. Note that this is different to a double cab which is a regular cab with more room behind the front seats but only two doors.

As it's a larger van there may also be a sliding door on the side of the van as well as the standard rear doors, which makes access much easier for the items you use most frequently.

A larger van does then require more thought about practicalities such as where you'll leave the van overnight, where you'll be able to park, and differing speed limits whilst driving.

Examples of medium vans include: Renault Trafic, Volkswagen Transporter, Nissan Primastar, Ford Transit Custom, Vauxhall Vivaro, Mercedes Vito.

Large Van

Large vans are a huge section of the light commercial vehicles segment and if you're looking for options for your business it's likely that you're looking for something with large payloads and loading space.

Fortunately most manufacturers offer a great large van option as part of their range of commercial vehicles and they mostly offer lots of options in body styles too. This can include conversions such as drop sides, tippers, and crew cabs as well as a standard panel van.

A 3.5 tonne van is the largest that you can drive in the UK without requiring an additional licence. So if you're looking at larger Luton vans you'll need to consider the weight and if you'll need an additional driving qualification to be able to legally drive them.

Examples of large vans include: Volkswagen Crafter, Ford Transit, Mercedes Sprinter, Renault Master, Vauxhall Movano, Nissan Interstar.


Whilst deciding which van sizes are appropriate for your business it's best to look at things such as the typical load space dimensions, typical payload limits, and any options for conversion.

Looking at what you'll typically need to carry with you on a daily basis is a great starting point so that you can then compare it against the average numbers for each sized van. This will allow you to make the right choice and immediately have a van that is the right size for your business.

Our knowledgeable team at Clark Commercials are always on hand to answer any further questions and to help you select the right van for you and your needs.

Clark Commercials