What's the best medium sized van to buy to pull a trailer?

I'm looking to buy two 3.5t vans. They will be running very heavy using the entire payload most of the time. Usually long journeys with a mixture of country and motorway.

I need one smaller van, that will usually tow a trailer. Ideally SWB Transit sized. Heavy but non-bulky things going in the van and long (still quite heavy) things in trailer. In my mind a SWB Transit RWD, but I'm not sure it'd have the power to also pull a laden trailer. Basically I want the van as small as reasonably possible while maximising payload and still being able to tow.

The second van is to replace a 2005 Iveco Daily MWB 2.3L. If I could find a good one of those I'd do so but they're rare now. I need space for 10ft poles and decent headroom. Dimensions wise, a high roof LWB Transit would be about ideal - I don't want unnecessary length if I can avoid it. This might need to tow occasionally.

The budget is £10k for both. The most important things I'm after are reliability and ability to carry weight. I haven't bought a van for over six years and am slightly overwhelmed. Any advice massively appreciated.

Asked on 22 January 2024 by Yakob

Answered by Craig Cheetham
First of all, the RWD Transit is a good call for the smaller van - it's a dutiful and reliable workhorse and so long as you track down a 135bhp model instead of a 99bhp it'll tow pretty well. With most rivals being front-wheel-drive, you will not find a better short-wheelbase van for towing, but as your budget means you're looking at older models you may find yourself welding the front cab steps in the non-too-distant future.

As you state that reliability is key for the larger van, the standout choices are the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Volkswagen Crafter, which have a very strong reliability record and are essentially the same van, so buy on condition rather than brand. The IVECO is an equally good choice if you can find one, but like you say, panel van versions of the Daily are rare. Or, you could get a longer wheelbase Transit, which is also a very reliable van.
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