Top 10: Highest payload rating vans
Looking for a big and capable van with a gargantuan payload rating that you can drive with a standard licence? These are the top 10 vans on sale right now for carrying capacity in the 3.5 tonne segment, from the most popular makes and models in the UK.
With a payload of 1620kg in entry-level edition specification, the Movano currently has the highest payload of any 3.5 tonne van, though the 10kg advantage it has over its sister model, the Renault Master, is largely down to its pared-down specification. If loads are more important than luxury, though, it’s the one to go for.
The medium roof Master dCi 130 is a great all-rounder, with a spacious load bay and one of the best payloads of any 3.5-tonner on the market right now. It looks pretty purposeful, too, while a recent revamp has kept the cabin looking fresh. It’ll carry 1610kg.
It used to be able to carry more weight than any of its rivals in this class, but recent mechanical changes have seen the Ducato’s overall payload drop by 50kg, in exchange for a far better engine and transmission line-up. Its load carrying ability and decent dynamics make it a firm favourite with camper van converters - the max payload is still a creditable 1605kg.
The Boxer’s new Blue HDi engine is Eur 6 Temp compliant, but in becoming so the new NoX filtration systems have added 30kg to the kerb weight, so the same amount off the payload. It’s still a huge van, though, and is capable of carrying an impressive 1570kg.
Similar names, identical payload ratings... yes, this is another instance of sharing vans and changing badges. The Relay shares most of its components with the Fiat Ducato, and so is ideal for similar uses. The only thing separating the two is personal preference, or the sign above the door of your nearest dealership.
It’s essentially the same van as the Renault Master and Vauxhall Movano, but the NV400 is Nissan’s take on the theme. It has a lower maximum payload though - 1566kg - as the Nissan is offered in fewer body and wheelbase combinations.
The latest Crafter is one of the very best large vans on the market, with a comfortable car-like cabin and excellent build quality. Its payload of 1531kg isn’t the best on the market by any stretch, but it’s more than good enough for most users.
There are bigger variants of the Sprinter for larger loads, but in the 3.5 tonne sector the Mercedes-Benz is capable of carrying up to 1462kg. That’s less than some of its rivals, but still one of the top 10 vans on sale - and much of the difference between it and its rivals comes from the Mercedes having a higher kerb weight thanks to its excellent standard equipment.
The front-wheel-drive Transit has a maximum payload of 1445kg, which is decent but far from class-leading. It has advantages, though, are the same as they always have been - affordable, easy to own and use, a dealer on every corner and an instantly identifiable brand.
The Chinese-built LDV is very much a budget offering, but it’s also a decent no-frills workhorse. Its payload of 1419kg isn’t that far behind the Transit, but it’s the cheapest large van on the market by some margin. If you just need a big van to do a job, it’s fine - but nothing can disguise the model’s aged design.