Cars

The Top Cargo Vans for Small Businesses

Driving a van used to be an unpleasant experience. Older models were known for being noisy, basic, slow, and fuel-thirsty. However, over the years, the segment has undergone significant advancements, and the new 2020 vans are now more driver-friendly and equipped with clever tech features that make them a motorist’s best companion. Rest assured, vans have not compromised on practicality while shifting their focus towards comfort, convenience, and connectivity. Whether you require a van for business or leisure, here are the best models available in 2020.

Ford Transit

The Ford Transit has been the go-to van for businesses worldwide for decades. However, it only became available in the United States in 2015. Setting it apart from Ford’s older E-Series, the Transit boasts a more space-efficient design, a wide range of body styles, and downsized engines that offer better fuel efficiency.

The 2020 model received a significant update, enhancing an already solid foundation with even more technology. It features a standard Wi-Fi hotspot that can support up to 10 devices, ensuring connectivity within a 50-foot radius of the van. Additionally, Ford equipped it with technology from its passenger cars, including the Sync 3 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. It also boasts electronic driving aids such as autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and post-collision braking.

Under the hood, the Transit is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine delivering 275 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. For those seeking more power, a twin-turbocharged, 3.5-liter V6 option is available, producing 310 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. The van comes with rear-wheel drive and a 10-speed automatic transmission as standard, while all-wheel drive can be added at an extra cost. The range includes Regular, Long, and Long-EL models, with low, medium, or high roof options.

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Ford Transit Connect

Ford was the first automaker to introduce a modern small van to the American market, and the Transit Connect remains the most preferred option in its segment. It offers a surprising amount of cargo space without the need for a jumbo-sized model like the Transit.

The Transit Connect provides a car-like driving experience due to its relatively low seating position and compact powertrains. It is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, producing 162 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque. Fleet customers have the option of a more basic 2.5-liter engine. In 2020, the Transit Connect received several new driving aids, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and autonomous emergency braking.

Connectivity is also a strong suit for the Transit Connect. Similar to its larger sibling, it offers a Wi-Fi hotspot that can support up to 10 devices, along with Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system featuring Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a wireless phone charger. The van is available in short- and long-wheelbase configurations, with the latter providing 145 cubic feet of cargo space when the front passenger seat is folded flat.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

It may come as a surprise, but Mercedes-Benz, known for its luxury cars, also produces commercial vehicles. The Sprinter has become the preferred choice for large companies like FedEx and Amazon. Although it is a relatively new addition to Mercedes’ American range, its predecessors were previously sold by Dodge and Freightliner.

The recently redesigned Sprinter incorporates technology from Mercedes’ passenger cars. It was among the first vehicles to feature the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system, which includes natural-language voice recognition and a voice assistant activated by saying “Hey Mercedes.” Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also available, with the larger optional touchscreens offering pinch-and-zoom capability.

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For those with multiple vans, Mercedes offers a data-management platform to monitor and track them accurately. An integrated modem provides owners with information ranging from a van’s current location to its maintenance records. This feature makes it easier to schedule van usage and maintenance. While it may also serve as a tool for employers to keep tabs on their van drivers, it offers valuable insights for fleet management.

The Sprinter is available in various configurations, with the largest version providing more cargo space than competitors from Ford, Nissan, and Ram. In the U.S., it comes with a standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, while a more powerful 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine is also available.

Ram ProMaster City

The merger between Chrysler and Fiat has brought good news for van buyers in the United States. Ram gained access to Fiat vans sold in Europe, which led to the creation of the Ram ProMaster, based on the Fiat Ducato, and the smaller ProMaster City, an Americanized version of the Doblo.

Similar to the Ford Transit Connect, the ProMaster City is smaller than the average American van, offering a more car-like driving experience with a lower seating position. However, it outshines the Ford in terms of cargo capacity and payload capability. Powering the ProMaster City is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder Tigershark engine, delivering a respectable 178 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque, paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission.

While the ProMaster City may lack some high-tech features, it boasts FCA’s Uconnect infotainment system, known for its user-friendly interface. It is available in a single long-wheelbase configuration.

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Nissan NV200

Unlike Ram, Nissan took a different approach when it comes to the design of the NV200. It features asymmetrical rear doors that can open up to 180 degrees. Interestingly, Nissan placed the narrower side door on the driver’s side, offering protection from road traffic that could potentially damage it.

The NV200 comes in a single configuration, and its sole engine option is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, generating 131 horsepower, paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Although it may not provide substantial cargo space like some of its competitors, the NV200 offers a range of versatile features that set it apart.

For instance, if you require additional interior space for storage or delivery, you can fold down the passenger seat to create more room. Additionally, the NV200 offers improved fuel economy and maneuverability, making it an excellent choice for city driving. It gained popularity among taxi fleets in the early 2010s due to these features.

However, it’s essential to note that Nissan has discontinued new NV200 units. If you prefer this type of van, you’ll have to settle for a well-maintained used model. Alternatively, the Nissan Rogue provides a similar experience overall and is worth considering if you prefer a new van.

For further reading, check out these related articles:

  • The best mileage apps for small businesses in 2022
  • 2022 Ford E-Transit electric van will make delivery services greener
  • The best cars for small businesses in 2019
  • Autonomous Mercedes concept shape-shifts from cargo van to rideshare vehicle

For more information about cargo vans for small businesses, visit OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

The best cargo vans for small businesses

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