Okay, we’ll admit it: we’re quite a nerdy bunch here at Cuvva HQ.
For fun, we do things like find out the 10 most popular vans in Britain because, well… why not?
We’ve crunched our temporary van insurance data to discover the most-common models our awesome customers have insured over the past six months.
We’ve put together a little summary of each, and hope it helps if you’re considering buying or borrowing a van.
Any other nerdy business you’d like us to get stuck into? Just give us a shout!
The Ford Transit van is undoubtedly the most well-known and popular van in the UK, so it’s no surprise that Cuvva insures more 24-hour policies for Ford Transits than any other van.
The Transit got a major facelift in 2019 and now sports an updated front grille, bigger payload (that’s “van speak” for how much it can carry), and an impressive range of technology. In 2022, Ford launched its first ever electric van, the E-Transit, with many calling it the best electric van on the market.
(Check out our guide on whether it’s time to switch to buying an electric vehicle.)
There’s not much to say against the Ford Transit, whether diesel or electric. Sure, there are premium vans that offer a touch more than the Transit in terms of features, but they come at a premium price too, making the Ford Transit a top contender for any van buyer.
In at number two on Cuvva’s most-insured list is the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
The Sprinter is considered a cut above other vans for comfort and driving experience, and it offers the space and performance you’d want of a van too.
The downside is its price tag. The Sprinter is one of the more expensive vans on the market, but if you’re spending endless hours on the road, it might be worth the extra cash to get the extra luxury.
Like any Vauxhall, the Vivaro is popular among UK drivers, probably because it’s made right here in the country and boasts a brand with great British heritage.
But there’s a lot more to like about the Vivaro than its ‘Britishness’. The van’s reliability and fair pricing makes it a favourite in the medium-sized van category. It comes in two different lengths, as well as a five-seater Doublecab version for those who need more passenger space. There’s also the Vivaro-e for buyers looking for a well-priced electric van.
One thing counting against the Vivaro is its lack of stand-out features. There’s nothing to mark it out as particularly special, but if practicality and price are your main concerns, this might be a good fit.
The Vauxhall Vivaro is closely rivalled by the very similar Renault Trafic (and no, that’s not a typo!), which comes hot on its wheels in the Cuvva rankings. The Trafic and Vivaro were previously made by the same company, and older versions of these two vans are almost identical.
The updated Renault Trafic is doing its best to be different and has a slick new front-end design and interior. It comes with huge choice in terms of customisation, with buyers able to choose from 44 versions offering a range of accessories, modifications and conversion options.
The Trafic is not available as an electric van yet, but Renault is expected to launch one later in 2022.
The Volkswagen Caddy is one of the most car-like vans on the list, and a top contender in the small van category.
It has a lot of the VW Golf about it – from the great driving experience and interior look to its body work design, which it shares not just with the Golf but also the Audi TT and Skoda Octavia. Like Golfs, the Caddy is reliable, comfortable, and has great safety features, making it a popular choice.
The drawback is its size. It won’t carry as much as the other vans on this list, but then again, it’s not pretending to compete on payload.
If the VW Caddy is all about driving experience, the Citroen Relay is all about practicality. It offers good fuel economy – important given how important it is to save fuel these days – and lots of space.
But the Relay is a noisier and less enjoyable drive than other vans of a similar size and is better suited to driving in town than long distances.
Despite these drawbacks, the Relay remains a popular van for the practically minded. Running costs are lower than many other options, and Citroen also launched its e-Relay electric van in early 2022.
Another Vauxhall on the list – this time the smaller Vauxhall Combo. Unlike the good-but-average Vivaro in the medium-sized van category, the Combo is considered a leader in the small van class and a real contender to the VW Caddy.
Its winning reputation is mainly down to its great driving experience, generous payload (for its size) and heaps of tech features.
There are other more stylish small vans around, but the Combo brings together space, comfort, and value-for-money like few others.
Like the hugely popular Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, the smaller Mercedes-Benz Vito is a cut above other medium-sized vans in terms of classiness, style and specs. The 2.0 litre diesel engine packs a nice bit of power too, giving it the edge of rivals in terms of performance.
Where the Vito struggles to compete is on price and value-for-money. The Mercedes-Benz logo comes with a higher price tag and quite possibly higher maintenance and repair costs too.
Given the crowded marketplace in the medium van category, the Vito hasn’t quite matched the success of its big brother the Sprinter. The eVito electric version is also more expensive than its e-van rivals.
The Citroen Berlingo is a Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) that sits someway between a car and a van, making it a great option for people who need the practicality of a van, but aren’t quite ready to commit all the way.
Unlike most vans, this MPV has windows all around and a row of seats behind the driver, making it a good choice for larger families too. It comes in two different sizes to meet a wide range of needs.
Despite its practicality and good value, the Berlingo is “not quite a van” and “not quite a family car”, and while that may work for some, it could be off-putting for others.
The Mitsubishi L200 is the only pickup truck on the list, so like the Citroen Berlingo, it’s not technically a van in the traditional sense. Pickups are hugely common on American roads, but much less so in the UK. (It could be that all the rain we get makes a closed-in van a bit more appealing than an open-back pickup.)
The L200 is one of the most popular pickups worldwide, and one of the smallest you can buy in the UK, which makes it easier to manoeuvre through our small and winding roads.
Critics of the L200 say its power doesn’t quite match up to its rugged look, but if you’re after a pickup that’s nimbler to drive than its rivals, this might be it.
Van insurance is pretty similar to car insurance, but it does have some subtle differences that reflect the different ways vans are used.
There’s private van insurance for social and everyday driving and commercial van insurance for people who commute in their van or use it for work.
Within commercial van insurance there are three main categories: carriage of own goods, carriage of goods for hire, and haulage. When taking out a commercial van insurance policy you need to make sure you are buying the right kind of cover for your needs.
While some people have a van as their main ride, lots of people need a van for short periods of time to move house or transport large items. Cuvva’s temporary van insurance policies last from 1 hour up to 28 days, offering the ultimate flexibility and easy-to-arrange cover that starts instantly, all from your mobile phone.
(PS - the top-10 ranking in this article was accurate as of August 2022.)