If lots of cargo space is your top priority, then you could do worse than take a look at Iveco’s Daily City Truck. Launched in 1999, its name is somewhat misleading. Not a heavy goods vehicle, it instead competes with light commercials such as Ford’s Transit, and is available as a 3.5-tonner with a cavernous 17.2cu m load area.

The range extends from 3.2 to 6.5 tonnes gross weight, and the smallest model in the range has a 7.3cu m cargo box. Payloads extend from just over 1.1 tonnes to getting on for 3 tonnes, and Daily is powered by 2.8 litre diesel engines with outputs of 85bhp, 105bhp or 125bhp. Opt for the 6.5-tonner, and you can enjoy a 2.8-litre diesel generating 146bhp.


The writer averaged 26mpg in a 35S13 medium wheelbase Daily with a semi-high roof and 125 horses under the bonnet. There’s an impressive 18,750-mile interval between oil changes – 6,250 miles if you opt for the 85bhp unit – and list prices range from £14,520 to £29,280, depending on which model you pick.

So far as the warranty is concerned, Daily 3.2 to 3.5 tonners are protected by what Iveco terms a Peace of Mind package. It includes a one-year, unlimited mileage, warranty and a two-year free repair and maintenance deal that embraces the replacement of wear and tear parts such as brake pads.

The maintenance deal starts from the date of first registration, and is subject to a 70,000-mile limit. All other Daily City Trucks are covered solely by the one-year warranty.

Daily competes in a hard fought area of the market, and is up against the all-new Ford Transit, which debuted in 2000. The biggest van in the Transit range is the Jumbo, a 3.5-tonner offering a 14.3cu m load bay and a 1,349kg top payload.

The rear-wheel-drive Transit is marketed with three variations of the same 2.4-litre DuraTorq diesel engine, at 75bhp, 90bhp, and 120bhp. The writer got an average 33mpg out of a 120bhp 350L model with a medium height roof.

Smaller models in the Transit range are now offered with front-wheel-drive. They come with a 2.0-litre DuraTorq diesel at either 75bhp or 100bhp.

The newcomers require servicing every 15,000 miles, and come with a three-year/100,000 mile warranty. Prices go from £12,000 to £20,250.

Mercedes-Benz’s Sprinter celebrated 2000 with a revamp that included new diesel engines. It comes with a 2.2-litre power plant that pumps out 82bhp, 109bhp, or 129bhp.

If you want to complete collection and delivery rounds in double quick time, then you can always order a Sprinter fitted with a mighty 2.7-litre five-cylinder diesel that generates almost 160bhp. Any driver who has to enter and leave the cab umpteen-times a day will welcome the way in which the long, floor-mounted gear lever has been swapped for a short, stubby one mounted on the dashboard.

That makes it easier for the driver to slide across the cab and step safely onto the pavement. The alternative may be to emerge from his own door and risk getting knocked over by passing traffic if he’s parked in a busy high street.

Sprinter gross weights extend from 2.59 to 4.6 tonnes. Load areas go up to 13.4cu m, and payloads run from 1,000kg to 2,315kg.

A service is required once every 14,000 miles, and Sprinter is protected by a three- year/unlimited mileage warranty. Servicing is free during the first year of ownership. Average fuel consumption? You should be able to get around 32mpg out of a 313CDI long wheelbase, high roof model equipped with the 129bhp unit. Prices start at £13,740 and go up to £25,960.

When Mercedes revamped Sprinter it decided to introduce two extra cost options that should interest firms whose vehicles spend a lot of time in congested city traffic.

For £175, Stop Start automatically switches off the engine once it has been idling for more than three seconds. Diesel usage falls by up to 8%as a result, says Mercedes, and air pollution is cut too. Dip the clutch pedal, and the engine restarts.

The other option is Sprintshift, at a steep £770. It’s a clever gear change system that can either be used as a six-speed manual gearbox or as an automatic, and doesn’t have a clutch pedal.That means that it cannot be specified in conjunction with Stop Start, alas.

Benefits include reduced driver fatigue, your left foot doesn’t have to go up and down constantly as you inch forward in traffic jams – and much less clutch wear. In addition, Mercedes claims a drop in diesel consumption of from 2 to 4%.

Swivel seat

Anybody in the laundry and cleaning business who remembers the old Dodge Walkthru van will be amazed to hear that it’s been brought bang up to date by Mercedes.

At the Frankfurt Commercial Vehicle Show last October, the company displayed a vehicle called the Alu-Sprinter. A longer, wider, and taller version of the largest standard Sprinter, it boasts a rust-free alloy body and a 15cu m load area.

The driver can get up from his swivelling seat, walk across the cab, and step safely onto the pavement via a power operated sliding door. There’s no passenger seat to obstruct his progress, and the hand brake lever folds neatly away.

Alternatively, he can step straight into the load area, and leave the van by using the power-operated doors at the back.

Alu-Sprinter is a prototype at present, but Mercedes say it will go into volume production if there’s enough positive feedback from prospective buyers.

At the time of writing Volkswagen looked set to acquire Birmingham based van manufacturer LDV. Its wide-bodied Convoy may be a bit long in the tooth, but it offers cargo bays of up to 12.2cu m.

Gross weights extend from 2.8 to 3.5 tonnes. Payloads go from 1,072kg to 1,685kg. The 2.5-litre diesel is the same as the one used in the old model Transit. It’s available in two versions – 76bhp or 100bhp.

An older design of engine means a shorter service interval – 6,000 miles. The warranty is two years/100,000 miles, and prices run from £13,220 to £19,720.

One of LDV’s major advantages is its ability to produce a bewildering variety of specialist conversions next to the assembly line. They include a Convoy chassis cab fitted with a 16.85cu m Luton body.


Talking about Volkswagen, it too offers a big capacity van in the shape of the LT. It provides up to 13.4cu m of cargo space Gross weights go from 2.8 to 4.6 tonnes, and payloads from 920kg to 2,500kg.

Volkswagen diesel engines are rarely less than excellent. You can choose from a 2.5-litre at 75bhp, a different 2.5-litre at 90bhp or 109bhp, or a 2.8-litre at 130bhp.

You ought to be able to get 27mpg out of the 109bhp short wheelbase, standard roof, LT28. LT diesels require a visit to the workshop every 15,000 miles. You get a three-year/100,000 mile warranty. List prices run from £14,490 to £23,160.


Vauxhall’s Movano and Renault’s Master are virtually identical, aside from their badges, thanks to a joint venture between the two manufacturers. Cargo areas go up to 13.9cu m, payloads go up to 1,705kg, and gross weights span the 2.8 to 3.5 tonnes bracket.

Last year saw the introduction of a 90bhp 2.2-litre diesel that replaces the old 80bhp 2.5-litre diesel. A 115bhp 2.8-litre diesel is also on offer.

Service intervals are at 12,000 miles if you opt for the 115bhp unit, and at 18,000 miles if you choose its less powerful stablemate. Prices range from £13,280 to £20,790 and both vehicles carry a three year/60,000 mile warranty.

Three other vans that are all but identical are Citroen’s Relay, Peugeot’s Boxer, and Fiat’s Ducato. Again, they’re the fruits of a joint venture.

The cargo areas go up to 12cu m in all three cases, with payloads of up to 1,800kg. The engine line-up differs a little from model to model, with power outputs ranging from 71bhp to 128bhp.

Service intervals run from 6,000 to 12,000 miles, depending on which model you pick. The warranties differ too.

Boxer is protected by a three-year/60,000 mile package, while Relay and Ducato come with a three-year/100,000 mile deal. Prices run from £11,875 to £19,100.

The vast majority of vans sold in the UK are diesels, but most manufacturers also offer at least one petrol engine. Increasingly they are being converted to run on environmentally friendly liquefied petroleum gas or compressed natural gas.


All vans should have suitably-equipped load areas. If laundry is being collected and delivered in roll cages, then they should be properly secured to tracking, either using restraining straps or shoring poles. Allowing cages to roll backwards and forwards ceaselessly will not only damage the vehicle and the cages – it is unsafe.