The 6 Most Economical Vans for Tradespeople

As tradespeople, getting the most value for money possible with our vans has always been important. But right now, when the cost of filling your tank seems to increase with every trip to the petrol station, maximising the miles you get for those gallons is vital. So whether you’re looking to upgrade your van or you’re starting out with your very first, we’ve put together a run-down of the most economical vans to keep your trade business on the road.

Mercedes-Benz Citan

Total distance on one tank: 831 miles (diesel), 611 miles (petrol)
Mpg: approx. 61
Vehicle cost: £17,800

The Mercedes-Benz Citan tops the chart, according to research by On the smaller side, it is the most fuel-efficient van for both diesel and petrol, reaching 831 miles with a full tank. While it is slightly more expensive than the other vans listed, it gives significantly more mileage than competitors, particularly with the diesel model. For tradespeople travelling long distances, this really does justify the spend. Whilst the fuel-efficient engine stands out against its rivals, it is not favoured for much else, so it would be worth balancing the miles you’ll get to the gallon against some of the other features of the models listed below.


Volkswagen Caddy

Total distance on one tank: 541 miles (petrol)
Vehicle cost: £16,695
Mpg: approx. 40

The Volkswagen Caddy is popular in the small van category with impressive environmental benefits. This model is less polluting than previous versions due to its twin-dosing AdBlue system, which reduces NOx emissions. This model offers various safety aids, such as automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, road sign detection and lane keeping assistance, all optional. This model is easy to drive, reportedly feeling more like a car than a van, making drives less stressful, which could be a big factor if you’re going to be driving it a lot.


Electric van: Citroen e-Dispatch

Miles per charge: approx. 150 – 200
Vehicle cost: from £25,000 (grants available)

Electric vans are pricey compared to diesel versions, but there are grants available, and they will save you hundreds on running costs and taxes. Plus, of course, they are far better for the environment due to low emissions. The government Plug-in Van Grant provides incentives of up to £2,500 for smaller vans (with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of less than 2.5 tonnes) and up to £5,000 for larger vans (GVW of 2.5 to 3.5 tonnes). Any make and model can qualify.

The Citroen e-Dispatch is a great entry electric vehicle to assess if electric is the right route for your business. It is far less expensive than many other models of a similar size, and is low cost per mile with lower service costs. This van is best suited to businesses requiring less than 150 miles per day due to the charging time, though longer distance can be accommodated if charging time is not an issue. Opting for an electric vehicle is also a great way to showcase your business’ green credentials.


Renault Trafic

Total distance on one tank: 600 miles
Mpg: approx. 35-40
Vehicle cost: £27,500 (2022 model)

The Renault traffic is one of the most spacious mid-sized vans, with a long wheelbase. The latest 2022 model has various updates which maximise efficiency, cabin quality and design. At 5080mm, this is one of the longer vans on the market, with a cargo volume of 5.2 cubic metres, enabling it to carry an impressive 11 standard sheets of plasterboard. The 2022 model is also more fuel efficient than its predecessors and has continued the ECO mode button.


Volkswagon Transporter

Total distance on one tank: 708 miles
Mpg: approx. 35-40
Vehicle cost: £33,369

The VW transporter is slightly smaller than the Renault Trafic, but is more powerful and more fuel efficient. This model is a consistent hit amongst tradespeople, winning autoexpress’ Van of the Year title in 2016. Although comparatively much pricier than its rivals, the VW transporter holds its value very well. Boasting high quality safety systems, strong engines and great driving comfort, it is clear why these vans remain popular. The low running costs of this van also gives it an edge when considered alongside its other benefits. Parkers even cited this vehicle as the second-best selling medium van in the UK in 2020 and 2021.


Ford Transit Custom

Total distance on one tank: 588 miles
Mpg: approx. 40
Vehicle cost: £32,985 for standard, the double cab is £38,835

The Ford Transit Custom is the UK’s best-selling van, though the most expensive in this listing (for the double cab model). This additional cost will be beneficial for many tradespeople who may not need the transport capacity of multiple vans but need more people on a job at once, as this van holds more people than many of the others. Though not the largest Ford van, it is able to carry an impressive payload of 850kg. This model has various roof heights (H1, H2) and wheelbase lengths (L1/SWB, L2/MWB), and a 2.0-litre diesel engine (EcoBlue) – 105PS to 185PS. It is powerful, smooth, and stylish with advanced safety features and optional extra equipment across the Transit Custom range. In terms of fuel economy, this model stands at 42mpg, making it pretty efficient. It is certainly very popular among tradespeople and remains a great option for many people.


Whichever van you choose, we can create a storage unit to fit it. And our lightweight marine ply wood will help you keep your overall load down to maximise that precious fuel economy. Get in touch to discuss what we can create for you.



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