Whether it’s a courier job delivering a single document or an entire van load, the name of the game is to get load X from location A to location B – right? Well yes, but as an owner driver, considering you may spend around ten hours of the day in your vehicle, shouldn’t the van you have chosen to spend more time with than your wife (or husband!) be the very best one for you? In terms of deciding what’s most important for your courier work you need to consider your priorities – comfort, size, speed, parking, economy and yes, even to be superficial – good looks! (Because really, let’s face it – who doesn’t secretly want to be dating the best looking AND smartest girl in town!) Of course, everyone’s different and this is by no means a definitive list – one mans pride and joy may well be another mans worst nightmare! But in the interest of fairness and equality we have selected (in no particular order) to feature vehicles that have been tried and tested by guys in the know, and we think cover all the bases. You decide!
For mid size courier work this workhorse has very few downsides. It has a great cab capacity (it actually holds three which is unusual for a van this size) and lots of dash room for those essential extras – drink, pens, A to Z’s, atlases, and lunch! It’s a sturdy little fellow and one of the best things about it is the easy access to the storage area. It has twin asymmetric back doors, and a sliding nearside door that can you save loads of time and awkward load stacking. It comes with a 1.6L diesel engine that really holds its own even on the motorway, and the powerful optional air-conditioning is also a welcome feature. (If you’re test-driving in summer, give it a burst and you’ll be sold! In terms of economy, the Partner gets about 45mpg, which is pretty great news for the owner driver in these times when a bigger van can seem thirstier than you on a Friday afternoon!
MERCEDES BENZ SPRINTER
Just the name Mercedes evokes respect, and driving around in one of these do your reputation wonders! Any owner driver lucky enough to be considering a Sprinter can be pretty well assured it is one of the top of the line vehicles for courier work. It’s one of the larger vans on the road and its four cylinder, five or six speed transmission will get you out and on the along the motorway in record time. It has a huge load capacity, (up to 1400kg) and its hinged rear doors open out to 180 degrees as well as having a sliding left door as well for easy access. It’s a simple matter to load up and head off looking good! There’s loads of stowage in the cabin in the doors, centre console and above the windscreen, and the power steering will have you turning on a sixpence. This is one of the fastest vans on the road, and the 22-30 MPG fuel consumption is not bad for one so nippy. To say she’s a looker would be an understatement – with a streamlined Arctic White exterior, pert little snout, and the iconic Mercedes insignia shining on the bonnet, this is a girl with a whole lot of class. With the huge range available and Mercedes’ renowned reliability this one is ideal for the owner driver – but be warned this much style and class doesn’t come cheap!
The Relay is a real gem in terms of driving satisfaction, so for courier work it’s a great choice. It is Citroens largest van available and it handles top notch out on the road and on the motorway. The cabin is so quiet you really feel like you’re in a car, and safety features like the standard driver’s airbag and ABS are standard so you can rest easy in the knowledge that the only extra option you’ll need to pay for is your courier insurance! There are various models available (about 30, in different wheel base and load capacities) and all have impressive standard on board features. The Relay is one of our favourites for security too – it’s fitted with an immobilizer and deadlocks, so no ones getting in without your say so! In the cabin, it’s the little extras that will make your day when it comes to your courier work. There’s a handy document clipboard, and the passenger seat folds down to make a great office away from the office without getting yourself in a mess. And talk about looking good! This is one classy ride, and if you choose to buck the white van man standard and opt for the fire-engine red model – you’ll be making a statement for your business that can’t be missed!
This is an oldie but a goodie! We thought we’d throw this one in even though they are no longer in production. The last year model was 2003, but if you’re new to the game and considering taking on some courier work, you can still pick yourself up a very reasonably priced second hand one, and this could be a perfect option for you. Although this is quite a basic van, you don’t feel like you’re missing out on too much. The later models have power steering, but the earlier ones still handle exceptionally handle well, and even with a full load you don’t feel like you’re under any strain. It has great leg room in the cabin and a surprisingly large load capacity for such a small looking van. There is also a rear window which helps with parking, and really makes this an ideal transition from driving a car to a van if you’re a first time owner driver. The market in these is still quite strong as they have a well-deserved reputation as a reliable working vehicle. You won’t have any problems with economy in either the petrol or more popular diesel versions, and this little baby still looks good even if she is a little outdated!
Yee ha!!! What a little beauty! We love the Kangoo – it is the perfect zippy little van for your city courier work, and out on the motorway – look out! It comes in a van and a compact body (although for versatility we prefer the van) with up to 800kg load capacity. You’ll get ABS, driver’s airbag, radio/cd, height adjustable steering wheel and loads of other extras standard. If you choose the ML+ model you’ll also get a left loading sliding door in addition to the back openers, for those courier jobs that require a bit of creative load stacking! The Kangoo has a great panoramic windscreen, and you also sit a little higher in the front than other small vans, so it feels really spacious to drive. For a full time owner driver , or just if you want to do a few self employed courier jobs, this good looking, practical little mover will hold its own against any of the more established models on the road.