For the second user who does not need huge load-carrying potential, such as a security guard or courier, or for pizza delivery, the hatchback van is a practical choice; they're cheap to run, comfortable and don't fill up the drive.

This popular sector thrived throughout 2006. “Sought after models in the sector include the Vauxhall Corsavan. There are few around at the moment and due to demand all sell for way over reserve,” says a Manheim spokesperson.

In terms of specification, the higher the better as the second user is likely to be a self-employed tradesperson or small business owner. “Aircon, metallic paint, in-van-entertainment and satnav will make the van much more saleable,” advises BCA's Duncan Ward. “And don't forget the paperwork; a full service history will add value.”

Being small, hatchbacks can take brighter, jazzier colours than larger vans. However, really fussy schemes will put off the used buyer who obviously will want to brand it to his or her own business requirements. “It's worth considering vinyl decals if you want to turn your van into a mobile billboard,” suggests Ward. “These can be removed at remarketing time and — combined with a good level of pre-sale preparation — will leave a solid base colour for the next owner.

“Buyers look for a sensible mileage in line with the age and for the vehicle to be in overall good condition. High mileage is OK if the condition is good, but lower mileage is much preferred. A little cosmetic damage to paint and trim is acceptable, too, but more serious body dings and scrapes suggest the van has been worked hard.

“Many vehicles in the halls have been used by urban couriers and delivery companies and therefore may have low mileage but have worked in a very demanding environment. Look out for dings to the wings and door mirrors and kerbed alloy wheels,” says the Manheim spokesperson.

Finally, while diesel is almost universal in the commercial market, the odd petrol hatchback van will always do very well, because they are so rare.