Does anyone use a Van every day (car replacement)

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  • Does anyone use a Van every day (car replacement)
  • Boba Fatt
    Member

    Been mulling it for a while, and as spit and sweary words keep the Civic on the road, i’m seriously contemplating a van for carting a bike about and general tomfoolery.

    It’s a second car/van for me because I work shifts and don’t need owt fancy

    thecaptain
    Member

    Not exactly every day but it is my only vehicle. LWB Vivaro. Can be a little bit awkward in the tightest car parks but never had any major difficulty with it. Great for chucking bikes in the back (in fact tandems hence the LWB) and also taking random garden rubbish and furniture to the tip!

    Premier Icon Simon
    Subscriber

    Yes, I’ve got an ’02 VW T4 Kombi as my daily driver. Gets me to work, transports my bike and the families bikes and I can sleep in it when I go away biking on my own.
    Can’t imagine going back to a car.

    trail_rat
    Member

    Have done for last 10 years.

    What Simon says. Can’t imagine going back to a car.

    At worst I’ll go to a berlingo multistage.

    P-Jay
    Member

    Not even close to every day, but I’ve driven the works Belingo for weeks on end in the past.

    I don’t mind it, it’s a bit loud, cold in winter, hot in summer (it’s due to be replaced in a few months, next one will have sat-nav) and the Radio is crap – I’d still be ‘happy’ to use it everyday if I had to, but I’m usually glad to get back in my car.

    Yes…6 metre panel van camper at home (weekends and the odd midweek trip) and I drive a wide body (2.3m) Transit at work, office based currently but became adept at threading it through rural lanes, city centres and tiny yards so feel right at home in larger vans.

    I love vans and I prefer them over other vehicles, the only reason I will take my wifes Civic is the cheaper cost of the journey or if I want to drive something a bit more zippy for a change.

    My works Transit is approaching 8 years old and they are changing it for a MWB Ducato soon…not really looking forward to it as I’ve driven them a few times and the A pillars/trim are huge, (I nearly missed a LWB post office van as it was behind the A pillar) the bulky trim around the side window quarterlights obscure part of the mirrors, and the B pillar is quite far forward and makes the blind spot more of an issue. I thought the Renault Master had some obvious design faults (hazard switch not visible to the driver, fingers can get trapped between the steering wheel and radio stalk etc) not sure how these things are missed/deemed acceptable compromises nowadays!

    (however, my tip will not allow vehicles of 3.5t or above, however most vans are available in weights less than 3.5t)

    redstripe
    Member

    Me too for many years. Toyota hiace for most, latterly T6 Kombi swb, wouldn’t/ couldn’t go back to car now, too handy for work/general use

    yiman
    Member

    Yep, 2003 T4 (converted to camper) every day, have done for 8 years. Ok, it could be a bit more “refined” but the driving position is great for me as a tall chap and it’s incredibly versatile as a vehicle.

    Premier Icon nickdavies
    Subscriber

    No, but only because my car is cheaper to run than putting the miles on the camper, couple of thousand miles a year is nothing, 15-20k a year kills it pretty quickly.

    If the car packed up or funds were tight I’d have no problem using the van everyday from a practical/comfort point of view, cost of fuel is the only real day to day downside but it’s not huge amounts.

    Me too. I use the basqueMTB vans for everything. I can use my wife’s car if I need to but the vans are far nicer to drive, have more space for the bikes / putting my daughter in / getting changed after the beach. Parking is the only slight issue as we have LWB transits but as long as you remember what height they are you can always find a space.

    oldtalent
    Member

    Well there are vans and there are vans. I have a small van, Nissan nv200 and use it every day. Not sure I would want massive lwb whatever as my only vehicle.

    Only use it half the week (pedal the rest of the time) but yes, a camper-converted SWB Trafic. Does 41.5mpg average, works just fine.

    I’m a relatively new daily van driver. Got rid of the SMax for a T5. Drives fine. I do like cars but on the basis I can’t afford the cars I really want I decided that practicality and fun was the way to go so got the T5 camper SWB. No issues to speak of really. Can park it fine, though still wary of multi storey’s, but other than that struggling to think of any really downsides. Slower to get upto speed but once at speed can maintain it fine. Goes round corners OK too, roll’s a bit, but can go around roundabouts at car speeds fine enough. A bit thirstier than the SMax but its the 5speed box version.

    The main drawback is for the other half. We’ve got the twin passenger seat that swivels and doesn’t recline or slide back, so not so comfortable. And I miss my front heated windscreen. A work colleague of mine has just gone van with a new T6 with a heated front windscreen and i’m very jelous.

    Premier Icon mattbee
    Subscriber

    Tbh, I do regret getting rid of my T5 & going back to a car a couple of years ago. The negatives of van only are definitely outweighed by the positives.

    fossy
    Member

    I’ve managed with the same saloon for 15 years with a 4 up roof rack.

    I have thought about a van, and an electric bit of crap car for the commute. PS I did used to cycle the commute, until someone broke my spine.

    Tempted with a pickup (crap ride) or a van…

    fossy
    Member

    PS I’d love a small van for the bikes, and then a small car. The missus can have her crossover….

    jamesmio
    Member

    Yup, old 2000 plate Civic got as close to dying as those incredible old cars ever do and replaced it 18 months ago with a LWB Primastar (Trafic/Vivaro).

    Love it, should have got one sooner. As above, it’s a bit of a pig for nipping into town (let alone a city) and car parks are a bit of a nightmare, but for the commute and general pottering about, brilliant.

    Premier Icon tiim
    Subscriber

    Yep, a 2006 Vauxhall combo, does 12 miles / litre (55mpg) for my 45mins dual carriageway / motorway commute and happily takes two people, four bikes and kit to races at the weekend. Doubles up as changing room / metal tent for fun stuff and old enough / cheap enough to run that I don’t mind the few days in the summer when AC would have been nice.

    If I drove less / had more money / cared more about vehicles I’d basically buy the same but newer, or move up to a vivaro/traffic sized one for even more fun use.

    Premier Icon lister
    Subscriber

    Yep. Spent the last 10 years driving a W reg T4 which we self converted to a kombi style vehicle. It was great.
    Just moved up to a factory issue kombi T5 65 plate. Love it more, drives like a car, quieter, aircon, better fuel efficiency.
    Kids are at a triathlon club every week and the bikes are shipped around constantly.
    Most of the time I wonder how people with bike related hobbies, kids, or both cope with a car.

    Hob Nob
    Member

    I did, then went back to a car. I missed the space, relative security and ability to get changed inside it.

    Everything else though, no thanks. Vans are rubbish & that was coming from a 12 month old T5.5 Kombi with a decent amount of kit in it.

    I’m fortunate enough to be able to use one when I need one now, usually a 12 month old Vivaro sport – again, it reminds me just how terrible it is in every way other than the 3 things above.

    I don’t think there is any way I could go back to just a van. I could maybe get close with a kitted up T6, but they are nearly £50k. Mental.

    doubleu
    Member

    Yep – 07 transit connect here. Had it for 18 months now. Previously had a lease on a yeti which was up, my commute at the time was 3 miles so decided to buy a cheap van. Wouldn’t go back.

    If you have a second car in the household then its easy. The only thing that gets annoying is not being able to do runs to the council tip. Need to apply for a permit.

    munrobiker
    Member

    I used to have a small van as my only vehicle and now use a Peugeot Expert regularly.

    I don’t understand the appeal of having one as your actual car. The interiors are basic, sound deadening poor so they tend to be noisy, the seats are less comfortable than a decent car seat and never go back enough and they are generally rough places to be. I’m always glad to get back to my car, and for the sake of putting a bike in it or on it 10% of the time I’m much happier with a roof rack or tow bar rack than sacrificing so much driving comfort.

    mudhead84
    Member

    Yep, got a Vito. Tried a pick up, loved it but not as user friendly as a van. Had 5 bikes safely strapped in the back, not scratching each other, without any parts removed. On the look out for one with more seats now as we have grown into three plus dog.

    andy8442
    Member

    I’ve a VW T6, as my work car come family car, come everything else. It’s my third such van type vehicle in 12 years, and I love it. 40mpg, big comfy motorway cruiser.

    I’m on my second Vito, first one bought in ’03 and I’m now looking for my third. I also have Voyager that’s getting a bit long in the tooth, so the Vito will then be my only vehicle. I just can’t imagine buying an ordinary car again.

    Premier Icon Mugboo
    Subscriber

    Had a T4 as a daily for 8 years now and intend to run it indefinitely. Like most people I’ve made it into something that works for me. It’s now an insulated 4 seat, bike/log carrying mobile that with addition of two pieces of plywood is also a sleeper for wild camping bike weekends or enduros.

    As above, I ain’t ever going back. In fact we love them that much we bought another as a camper.

    wrightyson
    Member

    Transit everyday. My bike and all my kit lives in it (yes yes I know). We also have a family car admittedly but I rarely drive it. Me and Mrs ws often go out in the van running errands etc as it’s free diesel. I am a driving God so parking is a doddle but it does help that I’ve been driving vans for 15 or so years. Becomes a bit tiresome at anything over 90 mins driving though….

    sturdylad
    Member

    YUP, standard STW issue T5
    Use it every day for the short commute to work.
    If I’m 100% honest I’d rather drive a car but as I can’t afford an RS6 Avant, there’s nothing to touch the van for the practicalities of a cycling hobby.
    TT at least once a week in summer, much nicer getting changed in the van than baring my arse in a random car park
    Mountain biking… same applies
    Occasional family camping..

    Reasonable spec in the van and fitted out with captain seats and caravelle interior at the back makes it a nice place to be.

    If and when I stop regular cycling then I’ll probably go back to a car.

    Worth noting that mine is one of the ones that qualifies for £140 a year road tax so that’s also a factor when looking at a replacement

    Im the opposite to most above. I hate my Mk7 Transit as a daily and would rather pedal or use our volvo estate than the van.

    I cannot get comfy in the van – and get severe shoulder&neck pain after an hour or so of driving. 3000miles round france last year was absolute agony. Im the same with the Ducato at work.
    Most vans are diesel therefore more complex engines than they need to be (DPF/DMF/hp injectors etc).
    Absolute crap in snow/grass/trail centres.
    Insurance is more expensive and a hassle when only used privately.
    Rust before your very eyes (apart from French vans).
    Security is an ongoing problem. Mine was broken into twice despite having windows amd clearly being empty – forget leaving anything inside it.
    Cant do a spur of the moment tip run.
    99.9% of vans are thrashed/abused/dented – the 0.1% that arnt command a massive premium.
    A lot slower point to point than even our wallowly volvo, noisier at motorway speeds.
    Class7 MOT’s
    Van/metal tent camping is grim in uninsulated vans (ive done it snowboarding/Fort William DH, France) – its cold and you get drenched in condensation.

    Our V70 takes 3 of us, bikes and camping gear quite easily and is far better the rest of the year as a daily.
    Im done with vans.

    mikertroid
    Member

    Had many over the years; last one was an ’06 T5 Kombi which I sold 5 years ago as I thought I was leaving the country.

    I do 25k a year on Minor A and B roads and I found the T5 exhausting on a 90 minute x-country commute. Too much metal for 20% MTB/Surf duty. Much prefer my BMW touring for day to day driving. It carries boards bikes etc but isn’t the biggest car.

    That said I am considering having an older van and newer hot hatchback to spread the duties.

    Premier Icon eskay
    Subscriber

    I drive a LWB Vito as my only vehicle. The only place I have been unable to take it was a city centre car park in Cardiff (1.8m height restriction from memory). Every other car park has been fine. I prefer driving it to my wife’s car and my previous car.

    Premier Icon Yak
    Subscriber

    Yes – went from a civic to a T5 Kombi. Does me fine and I prefer driving it to a car. Better view, less hurried driving, comfy seats – all together a nicer experience than my old civic. The only downsides are the dpf regens every 200miles. They nearly always coincide with me pulling up at home. I wish there was a light that came on saying it’s due and then you can push a button when you know you have a min 15min drive. I do a lot of short runs, so I know diesel isn’t ideal. But I guess when I come to replace it, the current run of petrol TSIs or similar will be hitting the secondhand market so one of those would be ideal.

    kayla1
    Member

    We had a Doblo with the back seats removed and it was awesome as a van/car. We’ve got a MWB Ducato now as our only vehicle which is better for nights away and slinging bikes in.

    mariner
    Member

    I had a Peugeot Combi for years and twas brilliant. I could stand a 29er HT up in the back no need to take a wheel off. Drove like a car but really just a van with rear seats best of both worlds.

    downshift
    Member

    T4 Caravelle here, had it 5 years and just over 50k miles; now coming up on 190k. We run it with the back row of seats removed, and can’t really see us being without something this size ever again. It just makes stuff like the 4 of us heading off somewhere to ride on a whim so easy; front wheels off 3 of the bikes and they’re all in the back in a couple of minutes. Also swallows camping gear for summer family jaunts with ease and has a rack on the back for the 4 road bikes. My commute is 45 mins cross country and it’s a breeze. Also no problems with tip runs here since I explained that it’s neither a camper or a van, just a big mpv…

    Rustynissan… Heard that complaint a few times. Try lowering the seat right down (most seem to Jack them right up), seat back a couple more clicks and backrest a bit more upright.

    Solved the issues for me and now find the car more uncomfortable.

    Marin
    Member

    Yes. Don’t like driving cars anymore.

    trail_rat
    Member

    one of the issues i did find with my new van is the pedals are too high for comfortable cruising.

    ie 60mph means cramp in the foot.

    so i fitted cruise control and that solved it.

    now it is very comfy and not so noisy – but then my base line is a 1987 land rover 90 so everything is quiet 😀

    I work on site 300 miles from home so rather than putting loads of miles on the car i bought a little van to use while im away. i used to get the train up and down then use the van between my digs and the site, and then to wherever in the evenings to ride; but now i just do the full commute in it, its racking up some impressive mileage but i love it and i enjoy having it at home on the weekends for other pursuits.. got some ply racking installed so its home to loads of tools, kit, shoes, other paraphernalia; like a mobile bike shed! im always ready for a ride at the drop of a hat wherever i am!

    honestly the best thing ive ever bought!! next van could do to be bit faster and have more seats tho…

    Tried it. When we bought our T5 we got rid of our BMW thinking the van could do it all but in reality we found it a pain in the arse. Car parks are a chew despite the usual “but T5s are no longer than a Passat” stuff. Regardless, having lived with one they are more difficult to park and manuvere around car parks especially.

    Persevered for about a year and then bought a car to run alongside it for daily duties. Best of both worlds now – Golf GTI as the sensible daily thats big enough for a weeks holiday if needed and the van which I use now and again for the station run if the weather is foul but gets used most weekends for day trips/biking and then camping during the spring/summer.

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