Honest John Vans has crunched the numbers and found the top five 3.5 tonne vans for payload.
Looking for a capable van with a gargantuan payload rating that you can drive with a standard car licence? Honest John Vans has analysed the market to find the top five panel vans in the 3.5 tonne market.
You might not know it, but the date you passed your driving test can have a big impact on the type of van that you can drive. For example, if you passed your test before January 1997 then you may automatically be able to drive larger, heavier vehicles weighing up to 7.5 tonnes. Anyone who passed their driving test after January ’97 may need to pass an additional test in order to drive vehicles heavier than 3.5 tonnes.
You can tell exactly what types of vans you can drive from the information on the back of your photocard driving licence. There are four columns on the rear of a modern licence; the left-hand one displays categories (i.e. the specific types of vehicle you’re allowed to drive) and the two central columns show the start and expiration dates for each category.
Best 3.5t vans you can buy right now
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 6o 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.