Small Businesses Deliver
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, close to 30 million small businesses exist in the U.S., employing almost 50 percent of the country’s workforce. The types of small businesses across America are as varied as the people who own them, although one thing is certain: small businesses need to remain agile and adaptable, including the ways in which they interact with customers on a daily basis when delivering goods, hauling tools of the trade, or visiting clients. Although trucks are often considered the go-to solution for these types of tasks, cargo vans — both small and large — have gained popularity with business owners. Let’s look at the best cargo vans in America for small businesses, listed in order by base price.
Starting MSRP: $23,080
The compact work van is a growing automotive segment, and in 2013 Nissan joined the fray with the all-new NV200. Possessing the lowest starting price of compact cargo vans on the market, the NV200 offers 122.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Loading is made easy with a low 21.1-inch liftover height, and all sorts of cargo can fit within the rear storage space that is 82.8 inches long, 53 inches high and 54.8 inches wide (48 inches between the rear wheelwells). Twenty standard integrated, reinforced cargo-mounting points provide additional flexibility, so owners can install racks and shelves without drilling into the van’s walls. The NV200 also has six available floor-mounted cargo hooks as well as six exterior roof-rack mounting points.
The Nissan NV200 can be equipped with mobile office functionality, which includes a center console featuring laptop / hanging file folder storage, a pen and pencil tray, a CD holder and dual cupholders. Recessed storage areas on the upper instrument panel hold folders and documents. Powering the NV200 is a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 131 horsepower while delivering 24 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway. For 2020 Nissan equips all NV200 cargo vans with a new 7.0-inch display as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Ford Transit Connect
Starting MSRP: $24,275
Small cargo vans such as the Ford Transit Connect have been popular in Europe for years, and their value to U.S. small business owners has really shown itself since these vehicles started coming to America. The Transit Connect was updated last year with improved versatility and technology as well as updated styling. The cargo van is available with a short or long wheelbase, a liftgate or dual 180-degree doors, and a choice of engines as well as a number of available convenience features. The larger Transit Connect can handle 145.8 cubic feet of cargo and accommodate items up to 87 inches long, 48 inches wide and 50 inches tall.
Ford Transit Connect
Power for Transit Connect comes from either a 2.0-liter 162-horsepower engine or a larger 2.5-liter Duratec engine producing 169 horsepower and 171 lb-ft of torque. When properly equipped, the Transit Connect can handle up to 1,620 pounds of cargo or tow up to 2,000 pounds. Ford offers many advanced safety and convenience features including a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot; available Android Auto and Apple CarPlay; and Ford MyKey, which allows owners and fleet administrators to activate an alarm when a preset speed or audio volume gets exceeded.
Ram ProMaster City
Starting MSRP: $24,480
Like its Ford competition, the Ram ProMaster City is also based on a model from Europe — in this case the popular Fiat Doblo. Ram’s offering in this growing market can carry 131.7 cubic feet of cargo in a space 60.4 inches wide (48.4 between wheel wells), 87.2 inches long and 51.8 inches high. The ProMaster City can haul up to 1,890 pounds or tow up to 2,000 pounds. Dual sliding doors and 60/40-split rear doors allow for easy access and loading.
Ram ProMaster City
Powering the ProMaster City is a 2.4-liter Tigershark 4-cylinder engine generating 178 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque. A class-exclusive 9-speed automatic transmission contributes to impressive fuel economy — the U.S. EPA rates the van at 21 mpg city / 28 mpg highway. This small Ram can be well equipped for business use with features such as Bluetooth connectivity, GPS navigation, a rearview camera and internet connectivity.
Starting MSRP: $27,180
A relative newcomer to the cargo van party in the USA, the Metris has been selling in Europe since 1996. Although Mercedes has been a longtime purveyor of luxury and performance cars in America, Metris is only the second cargo van in the M-B lineup, joining the larger Sprinter. The Metris is about the size of a typical minivan, offered in standard and long wheelbase versions — the latter providing a spacious 199 cubic feet of cargo room and an equally impressive 2,370-pound maximum payload. Metris can also tow 5,000 pounds.
The Metris gets power from a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine producing 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. U.S. EPA fuel-economy ratings are 21 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Metris possesses plenty of features that help this van stand out from the crowd, including 270-degree opening rear doors, available active park assist, crosswind assist, lane-keeping assist, collision prevention assist and Eco start/stop. The Metris can also travel up to 15,000 miles between service appointments — a big plus for small business owners.
Starting MSRP: $30,540
The full-size Nissan NV offers impressive capability in a variety of configurations, including a high-roof version. Available in 1500, 2500 or 3500 trims, the NV can handle large loads with 234 cubic feet of cargo space — 323.1 cubic feet in the high-roof NV. Standard cargo space is 120 inches long by 70.2 inches wide (54.3 inches between wheelwells) by 55.8 inches high — 76.9 inches of height in the high-roof version.
Two engines are available for the Nissan NV: a 261-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 or a 5.6-liter V8 producing 375 horsepower. The V6 gets a 5-speed automatic transmission, while the more powerful V8 is teamed with a new 7-speed automatic. When properly equipped with the larger engine, the NV can tow an impressive 9,400 pounds. Even though the NV has a high ground clearance of 8.1 inches, the liftover height is a surprisingly low 28.5 inches. The NV can be equipped with NissanConnect with navigation and mobile apps, a 5.8-inch color touchscreen display, enhanced voice recognition for navigation and audio, a USB connection port, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, and a rearview monitor.
Starting MSRP: $30,145
Like the ProMaster City, the full-size ProMaster proved itself in Europe — where it’s been selling as the Fiat Ducato for more than 30 years — before coming to America. Unlike most full-size cargo vans, the ProMaster is front-wheel drive. ProMaster is available as a 1500, 2500, or 3500 in standard and high-roof formats as well as in three different lengths. Cargo capacity ranges from 259 to 463 cubic feet depending on the configuration. With its front-wheel drive configuration, the ProMaster offers best-in-class step-in height and the lowest load floor available.
The ProMaster comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine producing 280 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque as standard equipment — a diesel is no longer offered. ProMaster can handle a payload up to 4,680 pounds or a maximum towing capacity of 6,900 pounds. Twelve tie-down rings with 1,000-pound. ratings fold away to maintain a flat floor, along with five sidewall tie-down rings with 550-pound ratings for easy loading and unloading. ProMaster can be equipped with a front bench seat to accommodate up to three passengers. It also has a console that can be folded down to create a table with storage, a paper holder and a compartment to house a portable computer.
Chevrolet Express / GMC Savana
Starting MSRP: $32,500
The Chevrolet Express and its GMC twin, the Savana, are among the oldest designs in the cargo van market, but they also offer some of the most impressive capabilities. Available in regular or extended lengths, these big cargo vans are only built as heavy-duty 2500 and 3500 variations. Unlike many of the newer designs, the GM vans have either a sliding or split swing-out door on the right side only. The big van is also available with a 3-person bench seat in the Crew Cargo Van. Also available are XM Satellite Radio, a 220-amp generator, a rear auxiliary heater and six standard D-rings for securing cargo.
Chevrolet Express / GMC Savana
Three powerful engine options are available for Express / Savana: a 4.3-liter 276-horsepower V6, a 6.6-liter 401-horsepower V8 or a 2.8-liter Duramax turbodiesel 4-cylnder engine producing 181horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. The Express / Savana offers as much as 284 cubic feet of cargo room and can handle up to 4,280 pounds of payload. The big van also impresses with its towing capability; it can pull up to 10,000 pounds.
Starting MSRP: $34,495
The Sprinter brings a lot to the cargo van market with three body lengths, two roof heights and a number of convenience features not expected in this type of vehicle. Available features include Bluetooth connectivity, rain-sensing wipers, an upgraded audio system, high-beam headlight assist, blind-spot assist, a rearview camera and a first-aid kit. The Sprinter can also be equipped with the latest Mercedes-Benz User Experience system with voice control and a 10.25-inch touchscreen multimedia display. Sprinter is also available with 4-wheel drive for even more versatility.
The Sprinter Cargo Van can be equipped with 4-cylinder gas engine, a 6-cylinder diesel or an all-new 4-cylinder diesel with 161 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. When properly outfitted, the Sprinter can carry as much as 6,294 pounds or tow up to 7,500 pounds. Cargo volume maxes out at a plentiful 533 cubic feet. Sprinter can also go up to 20,000 miles before scheduled service — extremely valuable for commercial van operators.
Starting MSRP: $34,510
The Ford Transit is by far the best-selling commercial van in America, outselling the competition by a wide margin. This is likely to continue since Ford made major updates to its versatile van for the 2020 model year. In addition to fresh styling, the Transit is offered with all-wheel drive for the first time. Available in a variety of configurations, Transit has two different wheelbases, three roof heights as well as 150, 250 and 350 variants. Ford has also introduced a Crew Van option, adding a row of seats at the front of the cargo area. Cargo space is immense — the largest Transit features a space 172.2 inches long, 70.2 inches wide (53.7 inches between the wheels) and 81.5 inches high with a maximum 536.4 cubic feet of space.
Transit is available with a choice of two powertrains: a 3.5-liter 275-horsepower V6 and a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 making 310 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. For better access, the Transit is available with a powered sliding door as well as rear cargo doors that open up to 237 degrees. Also available is SYNC3, Ford’s latest entertainment and communication system. In addition Transit can be equipped with Ford Telematics that let owners track the vehicle and also receive maintenance alerts as needed. Ford recently announced that an all-electric version of the Transit will be added to the lineup next year.