12 Best Work Cargo Vans [w/Comparison Table] – 2020 Edition

If you are searching for the best cargo van for your business, you have come to the right place. In this article, we break down the following topics to help you find the right work van for your small or medium-size business.

The Benefits of Work Cargo Vans

A work cargo van offers many benefits over other vehicles, including:

  • Dependability: Many of the top cargo van manufacturers — Chevy, Ford, Nissan, Mercedes-Benz, etc. — are known for their reliability and safety features.
  • Cargo: Designed with storage in mind, work cargo vans offer anywhere between 100 to 500 cubic feet of space.
  • Temperature Control: If you are a florist or caterer, a cargo van can be upfitted into a refrigerator to preserve your products.
  • Maneuverability: Some brands of cargo vans can be far easier to move through city streets than heavy-duty trucks. Plus, they are often more comfortable.
  • Branding: Cargo vans can be custom-branded to promote your business while on the road.
  • Tax Benefits: With the Section 179 tax deduction rule, the IRS lets businesses deduct up to 100% of their lease payments in the first year.

See More on the Benefits of Leasing & Financing Commercial Vans

To help you find the best van for your business, our experts have put together a list of the top 12 vans and the most important features to consider in your search.

The 12 Best Cargo Vans

The 5 Best Small (City) Cargo Vans

  1. Ford Transit Connect
  2. RAM ProMaster City
  3. Nissan NV 200
  4. Mercedes Benz Metris
  5. Dodge Caravan

The 7 Best Large Cargo Vans

  1. Ford Transit Cargo Van
  2. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Cargo Van
  3. Freightliner Sprinter
  4. Chevrolet Express Cargo Van
  5. GMC Savana Cargo Van
  6. RAM ProMaster Cargo Van
  7. Nissan NV2500 Cargo Van

Ford Transit Cargo Van

The Ford Transit is one of the best-selling vans in America. This van is equipped with 10-speed automatic transmission and plenty of room for racks, bins, storage utility, equipment, tools and anything else you could need.

When you choose a Ford Transit, you can choose from several vehicle configuration options, including:

  • 3 Roof Heights (Low, Medium, High)
  • 3 Body Lengths
  • 2 Wheelbases
  • 3 Engines
  • All Wheel Drive Option

Ford’s safety features include:

  • 3-Point Safety Belts for All Seating Positions
  • AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control™
  • Driver and Front-Passenger Front Airbags, Front-Seat Side Airbags, and Safety Canopy® Side-Curtain Airbags
  • SOS Post-Crash Alert System™
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van

If you’re looking for a cargo van that can handle heavy-duty work, look no further than the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. This cargo van is available with standard or high roof options, an option for 4×4, as well as multiple rear-step options.

The Sprinter also offers an impressive amount of cargo capacity with 319 cubic feet of space available.

Notable safety features include:

  • Active Brake Assist
  • Blind Spot Assist Mirror
  • 360° Camera
  • LED Performance Headlights
  • Active Lane Keeping Assist
  • Traffic Sign Assist

Freightliner Sprinter

A full-size cargo van with an impressive cargo capacity, the Freightliner Sprinter offers two wheelbases (144″ or 170”), two roof sizes (standard or tall), a 4×4 option, as well as an extended length option.

Available with a diesel or gas engine, the Sprinter has been optimized for reduced internal engine friction and a more efficient belt drive system. Not only does this help keep costs down, it can also maximize your fleet’s productivity.

The latest Sprinter model includes these new safety features:

  • Active Brake Assist
  • Active Distance Assist Distronic®
  • 360° Camera
  • Attention Assist
  • Traffic Sign Assist

Chevrolet Express Cargo Van

A classic city van, the Chevrolet Express has been around so long that you are likely to have a hard time finding a technician that is not familiar with its mechanics.

With this van, you will have the choice between two wheelbases and four engine types. Although there is only one low roof size, this does make it easy to reach top-loaded equipment.

With a 31-gallon fuel tank, the Express Cargo Van has the highest fuel capacity on our list, along with the GMC Savana.

Available safety features include:

  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Side Blind Zone Alert
  • Rear Park Assist
  • Rear Vision Camera
  • Forward Collision Alert

GMC Savana Cargo Van

GMC’s Savana Cargo Van offers competitive payload and towing capacities, with extended wheelbases available. An eight-speed automatic transmission comes standard and there are alternative powertrain options available.

Utility-wise, the cargo area measures 239.7 cubic feet for the short wheelbase option. This is only a few cubic feet below the class average, but the long wheelbase option will expand space to 284.4 cubic feet.

The Savana — along with the Chevy Express — has the highest fuel tank capacity on our list at 31 gallons.

The Savana’s safety features include:

  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Side Blind Zone Alert
  • Front and Side Airbags
  • Rear Park Assist
  • Rear View Camera

RAM ProMaster Cargo Van

The ProMaster boasts the lowest load floor height, both standard and high roof options, and the widest cargo width of any other van in its class. It is also available in three body lengths – the standard 136”, 159”, and 159” extended.

RAM’s safety features include:

  • Brake Assist
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Side Impact Beams
  • Front Seatbelt Pre-Tensioners

Nissan NV2500 Cargo

The Nissan NV2500 is one of the biggest commercial vans of its kind. This model features a ladder-type frame, powerful V8 engine, seven-speed automatic transmission, and truck-like design for maximum cargo capacity. When you’re inside the high roof version, you will even be able to stand up comfortably.

Some of the NV2500’s safety features include:

  • Zone Body Construction
  • Vehicle Dynamic Control
  • Traction Control System
  • Electronic Brake Assist
  • Anti-Lock Braking System

Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van

Ideal for small businesses, the Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van is said to feel more like a car than a van. In fact, it can fit in most residential garages, even with two wheelbase length options.

Highlights of the Transit Connect include an eight-speed automatic transmission, efficient fuel economy, and auto start/stop technology. Florists, caterers, contractors and the like can enjoy value and comfort with this model.

Ford’s safety features cover:

  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking
  • Pre-Collision Assist
  • Rear Parking Sensors
  • Rear View Camera
  • Traction Control

Mercedes-Benz Metris Cargo Van

Featuring high cargo capacity in a compact design, the Metris is the smaller alternative to the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. This cargo van was made for urban environments, and makes it easy to maneuver throughout city streets.

With a seven-speed automatic transmission and an ECO Start/Stop function, the Metris helps reduce fuel consumption and emissions by turning off the engine when the vehicle is at a standstill.

Safety features of the Metris include:

  • Six Airbags
  • Collision Prevention Assist
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Blind Spot Assist

Nissan NV200

The NV200 features a low floor for easy cargo loading and its compact structure makes maneuvering through city streets a breeze. Since this is a small, economical model, there are some limitations to cargo space and utility. However, this Nissan could be the perfect fit for small businesses that need to haul equipment and can do without all the bells and whistles.

The NV200’s safety features include:

  • Rear Sonar Sensors
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • Front Seat Belts with Pretensioners and Load Limiters

RAM ProMaster City Cargo Van

Another vehicle that drives more like a car, RAM’s city version of the ProMaster comes with a nine-speed automatic transmission and best-in-class cargo capacity.

The interior of the cargo area is designed to be configured any way your job requires. The dual sliding doors can open up to 26 inches and a flat-load floor.

Like the ProMaster Cargo van, RAM’s safety features include:

  • Four-Wheel Antilock Brake System
  • Brake Assist
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Side Impact Beams
  • Front Seatbelt Pre-Tensioners

Dodge Grand Caravan

As one of the most affordable options on our list, the Dodge Grand Caravan features a classic design, one V6 powertrain option, and a six-speed transmission. If you are looking for a deal, this minivan model stays poised when navigating city streets and offers plenty of cargo space with all seats folded down.

Dodge’s safety features include:

  • Rear Back Up Camera
  • All-Speed Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Steel Safety Frame

How to Choose the Best Van for Your Business

No two vans and no two use cases are ever the same. A self-employed contractor may need a completely different work van than an HVAC company. Because of the nuances, it is important to begin your search for the perfect business van with an idea of what you need for the following:

  • Cargo Space
  • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
  • Payload Capacity
  • Roof Height
  • Wheelbase
  • Drivetrain
  • Fuel Type
  • Safety Features

There are also a few key questions to ask yourself that may narrow down your options:

  1. Where will the work van be driving?
    The terrain and climate in North Dakota is significantly different than Florida.
  2. Do you need a cargo van or a passenger van?
    What you’re actually transporting will narrow down your options.
  3. What is the average payload weight your vehicle will transport on a typical day?
    It is better to overestimate the payload capacity to ensure you stay under.
  4. How tall do you need the roof to be?
    Will you be using the roof for storage or do you need to stand up inside the van? Some things to keep in consideration include parking garages and awnings that might interfere with the overall vehicle height.
  5. Do you have any must-have safety features in mind?
    Many modern cargo and city vans come equipped with a lot of features you might see in a luxury car.

Businesses & Professionals That Rely on Cargo Vans

Cargo vans are the ideal choice for many businesses and professionals including:

  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • HVAC Professionals
  • Contractors
  • Handymen
  • Caterers
  • Florists
  • Delivery Services
  • Dog Groomers
  • Painters

Our Rankings of the Best Work Vans, Based on Features

Best Gas Mileage

  • Ford Transit and Ford Transit Connect: 24/29 Miles Per Gallon (City/Highway)

Best Cargo Space

  • RAM ProMaster: 462.9 Cubic Feet of Cargo Space

Best Payload Capacity

  • Ford Transit: 4,640 lbs. Max. Payload

Best Roof Height

  • Ford Transit: 82.2” to 110.4”

Best Warranty

  • Nissan NV250 and Nissan NV200: 5 Year/100,000 Mile Warranty

Merchants Fleet is here to help you find the perfect work van for your business. Our fleet consultants are happy to provide expert guidance and recommendations, and our truck engineering team is happy to discuss upfitting and aftermarket equipment options to make sure you have the right tools for the job. Contact us today to get started.

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