When it comes to countries such as Britain, few vehicles have earned their place in our hearts more than the van; part standard vehicle and part transportation and storage vehicle, the van has fulfilled many roles for many people down the years.
Some traditional views of vans include The Only Fools and Horses van made famous by the antics of Del Boy and co, as well as the popular tabloid image of the infamous ‘white van man’. But while these stereotypes do exist, it is often easy to forget that modern vans are among some of the most innovative automotive products on the market today. They perhaps deserve the spotlight a little bit more than they currently do.
Modern Life, Many Uses
Newer van models are able to cope with modern demands far more efficiently than previous van models. Most modern vans can cater to both industrial use – such as transporting goods and tools – to also offering a certain level of efficient personal motoring capability too. A prime example has to be the Mercedes-Benz Vito Dualiner; if you’ve ever seen one, the storage space and size should speak for itself. Yet it still has five seats, offering plenty of family-friendly uses, if need be. After all, who’s to say that a working man can’t have both a van and a family? Most of us do.
Not everyone has the money for two vehicles, so one solution needs to solve all the questions modern life can pose. Even the large side doors demonstrate this line of thought. They may look big for a family vehicle but, when you’re trying to load hardware and materials in and out, the larger access makes much more sense.
The modern driver also expects more from a vehicle. In the case of a van, this should come in customisation and flexibility. Again, the Vito Dualiner can be used as an example. Behind the back seats it boasts 4.5m3 of space. However, when you want or need more space, today’s van needs to offer more. Remove the rear seats, and the Vito Dualiner suddenly offers 7.4m3 of space.
This is the kind of challenge that modern vans solve. When seats are needed, they’re available but, when storage is more important, it can be sacrificed. For people working in industries, this makes such a van useful during the day, whilst the seats can be put back in for personal uses. This is just a quick look at the modern van and how it can fit into British life, but it hopefully highlights the newer innovations being made.
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.