The Bedfordshire Car & Caravan Centre

Compact vans: the unsung hero
14 November 2014

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Teeny tiny VW camper

The compact van rose to prominence in the 1960s in the USA, with such models as the Ford E-Series and the Dodge A100.

Famous for being the go-to van of the hippy movement in the form of the Volkswagen Transporter, and being the vehicle of choice for Mystery Inc. in Scooby-Doo, the compact van has been a popular option of vehicle for half a century.

Today, the compact or panel van serves as an important component in many contractors’ tool kits, allowing them to transport themselves and their tools of trade to various jobs. Every major car manufacturer has a model in their product range, including the famous “Ute” in Australia.

In the late 1990s, the panel van experienced a renaissance with the Renault Kangoo, which began to create vans that were more closely related to their nearest standard car model.

An example of this is the Ford Transit Connect, which is derived from the Ford Focus and was released in 2002. It was served as a direct replacement for the sedan delivery vans based on the Ford Escort and Fiesta, and actually shares very little in common with the Ford Transit van range.

In addition, the Volkswagen Caddy was introduced in 1980 and its various incarnations over the years have been derived from other VW cars.

The Volkswagen Caddy continues to this day and has seen many redesigns that keep it related to its car sisters, and also other modifications under the hood. This model has variations that make it more suited for different activities, some for standard commercial van usage, and others serving as a people carrier or even a camper van.

Another popular choice is the Peugeot Partner, which is almost identical to the Citroen Berlingo. Derived from the Peugeot 306 estate, the Partner finds use in both the commercial and leisure markets, serving again both as a commercial van or a people carrier.

Since its release in 1996, it has actually undergone very few changes, with the second generation not being released until 2008. 

Many people opt to purchase used compact vans for commercial purposes, and those in Bedfordshire who are looking for a used van for sale will very quickly find a suitable purchase at Mastercars Bedfordshire, with a large selection of used vans