Here’s a Quick guide to van body types and what they specialise in

Vans come in a huge range of sizes and body types, allowing you to choose from almost endless configurations when you’re looking out for the best van deals. Different van body types are suited for different purposes, so before you commit to buying, it’s sometimes worth casting your eye over what the other van body types have to offer, just to make sure you’re definitely buying the van that’s best suited to your business. To save you some time, we’ve summed up the essentials.

Panel vans

By far one of the most popular and versatile types of vans, these commercial vehicles are widely used by almost every trade. For security reasons they tend not to have rear or side windows that allow passers-by to look directly into the cargo area – which could make an all too tempting prospect for potential thieves. They also have larger side mirrors than normal cars, giving the driver extra visibility so that they can navigate the van safely.

Panel vans available in several different body types, allowing you to take your pick between roof heights, wheelbase options, and trims. This means that like many other commercial vehicles, they’re subject to a massive range of customisation – so whatever your job or industry, you can be sure there’s a panel van out there for you.

Crew cab or double cabs

By far one of the most popular and versatile types of vans, these commercial vehicles have an extra row of seats, allowing you to trade off storage space for extra passenger capacity. There are three seats at the front, and normally three or four behind. This makes them ideal for jobs that regularly require small teams. Behind the second row of seats, there’s a solid bulkhead to section off the passenger area from the load space.

Luton bodies and box vans

Luton vans, sometimes known as ‘box body’ vans, are named for their most clearly distinguishing feature – the tall, box-shaped cargo bay accompanied by a separate cab. This body style offers one of the most generous load capacities of any commercial vehicle, which makes it a firm favourite with couriers and delivery drivers, as it’s handy for transporting particularly bulky items or especially large quantities of stuff without the need for multiple trips.

Luton vans can generally only be accessed from the rear doors, and since the storage area is much higher off the ground than other vans, lifts are used to facilitate loading. In case you’re wondering, Luton vans are named after the factory where they were originally first produced, all the way back in the 1930s.

Pickup trucks

This type of commercial vehicle is immediately recognisable by its large open back and low sides, which makes it a great choice for hauling materials without getting caught out by height restrictions. It’s also useful for reliably getting back and forth to relatively remote work sites, as its rugged build and excellent drive capability means that it has no problem with rugged terrain. Some pickup trucks are available in double cab versions, such as the Nissan Navara.

Flatbeds, tipper vans and dropside vans

A flatbed is exactly what it sounds like – a cab or crew van with a flat, unenclosed load bed, not too dissimilar in some ways to the pickup trucks we mentioned above.

On that note, a tipper is a type of flatbed that’s technically a subtype of pickup van, if you want to get technical about it. Like other flatbed vans, tipper vans have an open load area that make them perfect for transporting bulky items or aggregate, or other stuff you might normally struggle to effectively transport in a regular panel van.

The main difference between a tipper and a regular flatbed is that a tipper has a hydraulic arm that raises the bed at the front in order to tip the contents out the rear. Some types of tipper vans can even tip their loads out to either side, which can be handy in job sites where you might be a bit tight on space.

A dropside van is basically another type of flatbed, but one that has side panels that can be folded down, so that cargo can be loaded and unloaded from any side. All these types of vans tend to be particular favourites of the construction trade, whose drivers often find themselves shifting large amounts of aggregate like soil or building waste.

If you’re weighing up which new van to buy, we’ve got no shortage of choice right here at The Van Discount Company, with cheap new vans available from a huge range of manufacturers. On average, buyers save 40% off the recommended retail price of a brand new van, and we’ve got models from a huge range of leading manufacturers including Ford, Peugeot and Renault. Call our van experts today on 01282 872 530 to see what we can do for you!