The humble van. Spacious, dependable but not historically all that fast. However, a new wave of these load-luggers capable of giving hot hatches a run for their money are hitting the road.
We’re checking out some of the fastest vans on sale today.
Ford Transit Custom
it would be a crying shame not be able to include the famous Transit on this list, and fortunately enough, there’s a fast one in its line-up. Powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel engine, it’s not the quickest on this list, but does boast a respectable amount of poke.
It’ll go from 0-60mph in just over 11 seconds, which we’ll admit isn’t all that quick — but it’s certainly peppier than most Transits in the range.
Whereas the Transit is more akin to a run-of-the-mill Fiesta in the performance stakes, the Transporter chimes in at a Golf GTI level. Thanks to a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with 201bhp, it’ll crack 0-60mph in 8.6 seconds — which is quick, even by road car levels.
You can have the Transporter with a quick-shifting DSG gearbox with steering wheel-mounted paddles, letting you have that F1-style driving experience when behind the wheel.
Weighing in against the Volkswagen Transporter in the premium van segment is this — the Mercedes-Benz Vito. It can be fitted with a 188bhp, 2.1-litre turbocharged diesel engine (the most powerful unit in the range), which allows it to go from 0-60mph in nine seconds — so it can’t quite match the Transporter’s turn of pace.
That said, the 188bhp model is also rear-wheel drive, so you could argue it’s the more sporting choice — though it mostly means that you’re able to carry a bigger payload with less fuss.
The Expert is Peugeot’s offering in the medium van sector, and it too uses a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine, here stoked to the tune of 178bhp. Unloaded, it’ll actually match the Transporter’s 0-60mph time, and it’ll top out at a heady 115mph.
Fitted with an eight-speed automatic, the Expert is only available with this powertrain in ‘long’ wheelbase set-ups, meaning you’ve more room to play with too.
Renault’s Trafic is another key competitor in the van segment. The range-topper packs a twin-turbocharged diesel engine with 138bhp — which is considerably less than the other vans on this list.
Still, it manages to do 0-60mph in a respectable 10.6 seconds — so it’s far from the slowest out there. There’s also 340Nm of torque on offer, meaning there’s plenty of low-down punch available too.