Every year the expert panel of What Van? editorial staff draw on decades of experience to choose those products and brands they feel are most deserving of the titles, a task that becomes increasingly difficult as the overall quality of the industry improves so quickly. In many categories there was so little between several contenders that any one of them could have been a worthy winner.

For the 2011 awards we’ve made a couple of changes to the categories. Gone are the Microvan and Security Awards, while the Eco Van of the Year prize has changed to become the Green Award, to give it a wider remit.

Coming in are two new prizes, the What Van? Safety Award  and the What Van? Technology Award. Safety is critical to any organisation, as the cost of accidents goes way past bent metal, in both financial and human terms, while the Technology Award gives us a chance to look beyond the mainstream models on sale to see which companies are making commendable efforts to bring through new innovations. The environmental, safety and technological advances can be matched by those in comfort, refinement and quality, and the entire commercial vehicle industry deserves praise for that.

We have also awarded highly commended status to those deemed to have run the winner closest from all the many great products on sale in the van market today. But each category can only have one winner, so turn the pages to see the results of hours of deliberation.