Anyone change their car to a van and regret it?

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  • Anyone change their car to a van and regret it?
  • Premier Icon molgrips

    Well vans drive worse, are worse on fuel and less comfortable, and don’t have the option of taking an extra three people if need be.

    If you are only putting your clubs or bike in there, why bother changing? You’ll also have to pay loads to get across the Severn bridge.

    Premier Icon NZCol

    Yeah I did, went from a WRX hatch to a T5 transporter for very much the same reasons, i also wanted more security for my bikes and din;t really give two hoots about driving fast. Van was OK really, so much so I am thinking about buying a proper VW California. I got rid of mine as it was a lemon and someone offered me what i paid for it so got shot. Wasn;t the most comfortable drive to be fair. Fine around town etc and easy to park as it was SWB, could get bikes in upright with wheels on and bungee to the side, took 20 seconds, got changed in it, slept in it, did rude things in it. You know, what is expected of a van driver !


    Severn Bridge is the same for my T4 with side windows as it is for my Golf.

    Personally I prefer driving the van. It’s more comfortable for me but does use more fuel. I can carry 5 in it so same as the car but with a load more stuff. And I can sleep in it. Would I use it as my only vehicle? Probably. However I walk to work so don’t need to drive everyday, if I did then I might have a different answer.


    We’ve not long bought a Transporter 5 seater Kombi with the 140ps engine and it drives just like a car.

    The main reason we bought a van was because we need something big enough to carry bikes and dogs at the same time.

    The main benefit over an estate car is the extra height inside, which I think makes them far more useful for getting changed or having a brew in after a ride.

    I also drive a 115ps SWB Transit in work every day and it’s really great. We have a choice of Ford Focus and a Transit Connect in work, but the Transit SWB keys are always the first to go.

    I suppose it depends on how old a van you are looking at, but most modern (ish) vans are pretty good to drive; although obviously not an Sri.

    I would definately budget on carpeting the back out though, especially if it hasn’t got a bulkhead behind the front seats.

    Having our Kombi lined and carpeted made a huge difference to the cabin noise. It’s now as quiet as driving a normal car.

    id rather a van then a car, the thought of putting a muddy bike across the back seats of my car is bothering me. could just get a cycle rack though!


    I had a fiat scudo jtd. 3 seats 40mpg. Fast as hell, great driving position. Worst thing I ever did was to sell it,have regretted it ever since. Great MTB companion.

    I recently had to get rid of my van to buy a car as I had a baby. I loved my van for all the right reasons as mentoned above. It was especially fantastic for when I fancied a cheeky nap in the daytime.


    As the title states really. Currently got a tidy little 2003 Astra Sri, now it’s nothing special but it’s never skipped a beat, isn’t particularly slow and everything works. The only problem I have with it is that the back seats havn’t been up in about 4 months, I either have my bike or my golf clubs in there. I’m considering swapping it for a Ford Transit or similar, nothing massive but a van none the less.

    Any reasons that I’ll regret it?

    I had a bright yellow astra van when I was 18, but that was for comedy value more than anything else. I can’t help thinking that a van seems like overkill for anyone that doesn’t need it for thier job (I’m a drugs counsellor).

    Premier Icon molgrips

    I drove a new VW van for two weeks, it was ok but a long long way from a car in terms of comfort and handling. Really got on my weewee after a while.


    are worse on fuel

    That depends what van/car you are comparing.

    and less comfortable,

    again, what are you comparing. The upright seating position of a larger van is a lot more comfortable if you are tall.

    don’t have the option of taking an extra three people if need be.

    rear seats not available any more then?

    You’ll also have to pay loads to get across the Severn bridge.

    Since having windows put in it costs me the same as a car and the savings have paid for the windows. 🙂

    You’ll also have to pay loads to get across the Severn bridge.

    Friend has a panel van with external vinyl stickers added to look like tinted/smoked windows…… never been asked to pay the van rate in years 8)


    I love my Berlingo – it’s the best compromise for me. It’s pretty good on fuel (45-50 mpg on average), reasonably nippy and you can put two big bikes in whole with the seats down. It’s not amazing at going round corners but hey ho.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    Phil.w – a diesel van is clearly more economical than a 4.2l v12 Mercedes, but much less economical than a diesel Passat/Mondeo estate for instance, and much less so than a Golf or Focus. The OP says he only carries a bike or golf clubs, so those cars would work fine.

    As for comfort – again compared to one of those cars. I’m sure you could find a car that was less comfortable, but typically cars are better to drive ime.


    I have an Astra Van from work and the mrs has an Astra. They are basically the same (but mines a bit longer).

    Comfy to drive and due to being the little 1.3 turbo diesel, gets high miles to the gallon on the motorway (and its not reving its nuts off either).

    If there’s more than one bike going in, then you have to take the wheels off but one will lay in with wheels on. We had 3 bikes in with stuff for a long weekend.

    Had a Transit Connect before and the Astra is a lot better IMO.


    of course better is clearly defined isnt it molgrips

    i wouldnt buy a transit though …. nor a vw ….

    if its just bikes and golf clubs id buy the car version of the berlingo or partner – but with no electronic gadgets (as its french) ….

    least thn you have the option to carry more than 2 folk which is a problem after a while if its your only car – it does get you out of being designated driver quite easy though 😀

    VW Caddy maxi life? Touran both are nice little van type vehicles, Also drive very much like cars, teh touran is based on teh golf.



    No not at all, Golf to T4, carries everything I need, can sleep in it as well, little slower (well quite a lot) but not really any worse on fuel 2.4 diesel (non turbo) v 1.6 petrol.
    Have a Passat as well which will fit the bike in to if I need to get anywhere really quickly. 😀
    The new T5 s drive like a slightly higher Passat anyway, but were way too exspensive at the time.

    Premier Icon molgrips

    of course better is clearly defined isnt it molgrips

    Well, in many cases yes. Not many people would argue that vans handle better than cars on the whole.

    Just can’t understand why the OP would bother at all if he only wants to carry bikes and clubs. What’s the point?


    Our Transporter isn’t too bad on fuel, it will do over 40mpg on a steady run. It’s a 140ps manual SWB Kombi.

    It’s great on a long run as well for comfort, with loads of room in the front cab and acres of room for rear passengers.

    I find the seating position to be comfier than our previous cars, particulary on a long journey.

    One thing I will say though is that our Transporter has a single drivers and front passenger seat rather than the usual passenger bench seat. This means that the front passenger seat will recline the same as the drivers seat.

    I think that most front passenger bench seats in vans are in a fixed position, so you are unable to recline the back cushion. Our Transit SWB in work has certainly got a fixed passenger seat back which I think makes it less comfortable.

    Recently went from a lovely VW Corrado VR6 to a battered corsa van for the same reason! Back seats down all the time, spent too much on petrol, scared witless that someone would dent it or scratch it, constantly cleaning it, constantly pouring money into it!
    Corsa van-job done! Cheap on fuel, put any crap in the back, dog, bike, rubbish etc! Not bothered how it looks, don’t worry about it getting dirty, not fussed about the bodywork, it’s brill!!!

    Do it now and never look back!!


    dont forget to look at insurance too. If you are in a city you may get hammered!


    “Well, in many cases yes. Not many people would argue that vans handle better than cars on the whole.”

    well in that case its only “better” if your criteria for a vehicle is must drive like a car.


    molgrips – what would you expect the real world MPG for a older (say 04/05 plate) passat/mondeo estate to be?

    I ask because I have considered changing back to a car as I have a long commute and don’t use the van as a van so much any-more. (and you seem to know more about cars than most on here)


    molgrips, my back seats come up once every few months and when they do i have to apologise profusly for having to make my passengers sit in mud and oil. A van would mean that this never happened, and i’d be alot less consious of the state i was leaving it in.

    Looking at getting something like this:

    dogs/bikes/clubs/rubbish/fridges all in the back, no problems. I might also look at fitting a 3rd folding seat in the rear in case of emergencies.


    if you live in a city you will get hammered …. nope

    as a van driver you will get hammered everywhere for insurance …

    2 vehicles …

    one a 1.9n/a diesel pug partner van . 89bhp top speed of 80
    insurance is 450 third party for private use

    the other a 2l HDI diesel pug partner combi (with windows and seats) and 120bhp…. insurance was 250 quid fully comp !

    Rob Hilton

    I love having a van!
    Aside from comfort and not being able to open the front doors in winter (have to climb through from the back, drive round for 20 mins and then give them a good kick from the inside) it’s great!

    Never have to clean it as: it’s a van! And it’s used for ferrying bikes around in. Does have a fold-down really dogey bench seat in the back that you’d have to mental to use, so it’s the passengers’ fault if they don’t want to.

    Good way to make friends* as instantly everyone you know wants you to help them move house/take stuff to the tip.

    *Make friends/become a gopher 🙂


    Our insurance for the 1.9d van is cheaper than for the 1.9d car and the van is younger.


    big estate car?
    best compromise.

    gunnagofasta is right, I no longer pine for fancy newer models, for me a cheap estate car is perfect.
    I bought a Golf Tdi estate a couple years ago, I get 50mpg, I throw anything I want in it and dont care about scratches or dents.
    Despite this it scrubs up fine and just keeps on going, and ive only spent a couple hundred keeping it on the road.

    Cars are money pits, ive never looked back since converting to bangernomics.
    The 3 or 4 grand a year I save in not throwing money at depreciation or expensive servicing comes in very handy!

    Having said all that, id love a T25 (unreliable) or T4 in order to extend comfort on active weekends.

    Ford C-max, best of both worlds.

    Can just about sleep in the back even when loaded with a weekends kit 9done this a few times now, gets you past the early mornign start/dont wantt o get out of bed stage and the drive can be done overnight), does 35/45mpg town/motorway driving, handles like a (fairly heavy) car, seat’s 5 if you need it to, or do what I do and leave 2 seats in the garrage so it seats 3 wheich is more than enough 90% of the time.


    i love my van the only time i regret it is when filling up the (huge tank) with £115 of diesel.

    my previous car (1.5 dci clio) would do 75 mpg+ when driven carefully. van does 37-40 mpg – which is similar to most of my mates cars.

    i love my van. (sad really)

    EDIT: Ford C-max, best worst of both worlds.

    Premier Icon cr500dom

    I have a Traffic as a Daily driver, handles well enough to surprise a lot of Cars, 1.9tdi, Big Discs all round, chuck loads of stuff in the back and not worry about it, bike gets bungied to the side, can get changed in it, make a brew etc.
    will do highly illegal speeds with ease but still retain decent MPG if you dont clog it everywhere.
    Will be getting a minor refit soon with bulkhead out, seats and windows in the back, to make it more practical for un-vanlike stuff….. but all seats etc will still be removable.
    I love cars, but I couldnt be without my Van

    Premier Icon molgrips

    molgrips – what would you expect the real world MPG for a older (say 04/05 plate) passat/mondeo estate to be?

    Mine’s an 06 (with the older non common-rail 140bhp engine) and gets 52-55mpg on 70mph runs, between 40 and 50 around town, and it’s automatic, so you should be able to do better in a manual.

    Re the back seats – I use a tarp or a bike rack. Personally I would not trade the advantages of a car just for that. A lot of people like vans so you may also.

    Re the handling – vans are wider and roll more ime, I’d have thought that was hard to argue against. Width and body roll don’t make for good handling on country roads I find. All vans I’ve drive are also noisier and rider harder, but then I haven’t driven a nicely kitted out carpeted one, but then again again they seem to be really expensive.

    I actually do like vans and would probably buy one if I had load of money and space, but I wouldn’t want to forgo the really quite remarkable (to me) comfort of my Passat.

    Premier Icon rangerbill

    I love my VW T3 even though its slow and rusty. Chuck stuff in, get changed, make a brew, have a nap, stand up etc. Its slow but manages to do the maximum permitted speed in this country so not to fussed.
    Also I always have a clear road in front of me so its stress free 😉
    Wish I’d have bought a van years ago.
    Get about 35-40mpg, not bad for an old hightop van. Handles really well at legal speeds and no power steering

    EDIT: Ford C-max, worst of both worlds.

    In what way?

    You just admited it does more MPG, doesn’t need diesel (so no DMF, DPF, high pressure pump or injectors and fuel’s 5% cheeper). Ford – so parts are cheep. Drives like a car not as good as some cars eg the focus its based on, but a million miles better than anything belingo/kangoo based.


    We borrowed a Vito and took it on the M6 toll in both directions and were amazed we got charged same as a car.

    Truly Truly amazed.


    I drove a Citroen Dispatch for a while – doing about 1000 miles a week. And we also had a Citroen ZX for a while. They’re fairly equivalent vehicles – same technology, same maker, same engine. Not like saying “I had a 95 Fiesta and then I got into a Vito and it was ace”.

    The Dispatch (van) was slower, noisy as hell at speed, and was absolutely flat out at 80. The ride was horrendous if you had nothing in the back, and the body panels boomed like crazy over bumps. 3 people in the front was extremely cosy. And it used more juice – a lot more if you were trying to do 70 or 80 as it was effectively flat out. Handling was vague too, particularly horrible in crosswinds.

    The ZX was a Audi R8 by comparison. Less slow, comfier, quieter, more room for people, used less fuel etc. Had odd sliding rear seats which made for masses of boot space if you needed it.

    I’d never drive a van as my only vehicle unless I absolutely needed one for moving 8×4 sheets of ply or it was provided gratis…

    Premier Icon jam bo

    I had a t4 2.5tdi for a while. Sold it and went back to a car after six months.

    It was thirsty, expensive to run and 95% of the time, empty.

    It was ace for the 5% Of the timeI wanted to shift loads of kit/people about. If I could afford one as a second car is have another in a shot.

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