Sales of compact vans weighing from 2.0 to 2.5 tonnes (t) increased by 8.3% year-on-year to 21,752 units over the first four months of 2024, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Sales of minivans weighing less than 2.0t grew by 17.1% to 2,217 during the same period. 

In the month of April, the respective increases were 6.8% to 4,611 units and 41.1% to 604 units. The overall volume rises were not helped, however, by registrations of electric models, a market pioneered by compact vans. Battery electric van sales fell by 3.1% in the first four months of the year, dragged down by a startling 42.4% slump in April.

Three compact vans, the Ford Transit Connect, Vauxhall Combo and Peugeot Partner, were among the top 10 sellers in April while two: Citroen’s Berlingo and the Transit Connect were in the top 10 list for the year-to-date.

The new version of Ford’s smallest van, the Transit Courier, went on sale in February. It is bigger and butcher than its predecessor and now not much smaller than its stablemate, the Transit Connect. 

With an eye on present and future markets, Ford is making the Courier available in ICE (petrol and diesel) and battery-electric guises. Petrol and diesel versions are on sale now, while the BEV will arrive in the UK early next year. 

Ford is producing the Courier as both a panel van and crew van, although the latter is not initially available in the UK. If there is sufficient demand, the manufacturer says it may introduce it in the future. 

The panel van has a load volume of 2.9m3, which represents a 25% uplift on the previous Transit Courier. The standard payload across ICE models is 680kg, excluding the driver, but Ford says a higher payload version fitted with dual rate springs can carry up to 845kg. Ford claims the E-Transit Courier will boast a payload of 700kg. Maximum towing capacities are put at 1,100kg for the diesel, 1,000kg for the petrol and 750kg for the BEV.

The new Connect has been developed alongside the Volkswagen Caddy as part of the product alliance between Ford and VW. It will be available in panel van and Kombi formats and with diesel and PHEV (petrol/electric) powertrains. 

The diesel will arrive in the third quarter of 2024 with the PHEV coming in the fourth quarter and the Kombi joining the line-up the following year.

As part of a comprehensive revamp of its product line-up Stellantis has upgraded its compact vans with the emphasis on electric derivatives. The Citroen e-Berlingo, Fiat Professional e Doblo, Peugeot e-Partner and Vauxhall Combo Electric are equipped with a 50kWh battery delivering a claimed range of 205 miles and a 100kW (136hp) electric motor. Payloads of more than 700kg can be carried in the vans’ 3.8m3 load spaces.

Meanwhile, Renault has hinted its sustainable mobility division, Mobilize, may launch its Bento electric micro van in the UK in early 2025. The single-seater, which measures 2.54m by 1.30m, has a range of up to 87 miles and a load space of up to 1.0m3, comprised of 0.7m3 in a closed rear box plus 0.3m3 in the cabin.


Ford Transit Courier: February 2024

Citroen e-Berlingo: March 2024

Fiat Professional e Doblo: March 2024

Peugeot e-Partner: March 2024

Vauxhall Combo Electric: March 2024

Ford Transit Connect: September 2024

Volkswagen Caddy: September 2024

Mobilize Bento: (est) January 2025