Real life prcticality – Small car (super mini) VS small van

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  • Real life prcticality – Small car (super mini) VS small van
  • orangeboy
    Member

    We used to have an old shape caddy as a works van. Could get two bikes fully build in the back fine.
    This was before 29ers though.
    Personaly I got a citrone dispatch which has three seats and much more space , I could sleep in it
    Mine was the old shape 1.9 non turbo very slow but cheap to run.

    st
    Member

    I’ve had a Mini for he last 18months with a removable towbar and bike carrier and it’s been fine. Not the best option as a (second) family car and a struggle to get tools in for trail building n our local forest but I have managed to get two of us with a weekends camping gear and DH bikes to Wales, it was quite a squeeze though.

    I’ve now decided I’d be better with a small van (Caddy) with removable rear seats but I’m tied in to this car for a while yet.

    Premier Icon nickjb
    Subscriber

    I love our big van-like car. Its great to just throw the bikes in the back. Using it today to take a massive pile of stuff to the tip. Four people, bikes and kit to Morzine in comfort. It’ll seat 7 or the two of us can sleep in it. Not the most economical but we don’t drive much and we put veg oil in so its not a big issue for us.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    It all depends which you would use more the car or the van, if your more van orientated then you can live with the impracticality and vice versa.

    In all honesty anything smaller than a transit is just a car with seats out anyway 😉

    handyandy
    Member

    I have a berlingo which cost £1200. I removed two of the rear seats, so it now fits myself plus 2 passengers, and 3 bikes easily with wheels on.

    Get a diesel if you decide to buy one, the 1.4 petrol is terrible fuel economy.

    Oh, and it looks fekking awful.

    deanfbm
    Member

    What’s everyone experiences?

    Car works fine for me, little annoying taking off wheels particularly when it’s muddy and getting interior filthy.

    Just attracted to the simplicity of chucking bike in and going, is this the reality with small vans such as berlingos/caddys/doblos/etc etc.

    jamesoz
    Member

    Down sides to a used van are they will have been ragged to death from new, generally abused and worked hard. Given the choice of two vehicles of the same age/mileage the car will usually be in better shape.
    Also even my little work VW Caddy attracts a high toll bridge charge going into Wales, making it cheaper to take a car.
    Non car derived vans also have lower speed limits.

    I had a bipper for a while, which was just crap. still had to take wheels off to fit bikes in the back.
    The cabin was small and uncomfortable.

    The berlingo/caddy ones are a much better mix.

    scud
    Member

    I’ve a small 1.9non turbo Berlingo, bought it at 82000 miles for £1400 and ran it for a further 70000 miles pretty much trouble free,just started to have a few things go wrong with it in the last few months (starter motor + alternator).

    It is slow, but comfortable and managed to get 7 bikes in it to go down to Morzine, it is nice being able to just chuck the bikes in there if they are muddy and can swallow all your kit (plus it has 6 drinks holders!)

    ajantom
    Member

    Old shape Vauxhall Agila (same as the Suzuki Wagon R), very cheap to insure, tax and run.
    Ugly little car, but it’s basically a box on wheels it has a massive boot for it’s size, with loads of height/headroom. With the seats down can easily fit 2/3 bikes with the front wheels off + kit.

    aP
    Member

    We had a 1.6 petrol mk1.5 Berlingo for 5 years and it was great, easy to take bikes around, comfortable to drive, surprisingly fun but painful fuel economy – 40mpg was a target, under 300miles from a 55l tank was a low point. Drove it to the Pyrenees several times with absolutely no problems.
    Our diesel Focus estate is not so convenient but considerably more economical – 600 miles+ from a 45l tank, easier to drive on motorways and quieter etc, etc. Not so much fun though.

    trail_rat
    Member

    “Down sides to a used van are they will have been ragged to death from new, generally abused and worked hard. Given the choice of two vehicles of the same age/mileage the car will usually be in better shape.”

    absolute tosh.

    jamesoz
    Member

    I would buy an old people mover, pull the rear seats out and tint the windows. That way you don’t have insurance issues or pay extra tolls. It will be quieter, more comfortable and better equipped.
    As it is I have the work Caddy 1.9 tdi which takes forever to warm up in the winter and is pretty noisey.
    The climate control (if fitted) constantly blows hot then cold trying in vain to balance the temperature of the large metal box and is not worth bothering with.
    If the seat is height adjustable then everytime you get in and out the lever will move the seat a bit.
    Aside from that pretty good reliable vans that I’ve had a couple of.

    Premier Icon hot_fiat
    Subscriber

    IME you expand the amount of junk you haul around exponentially in proportion to the size of vehicle you have. I’ve gone back to small cars from a succession of vast estates. Yes it was simpler chucking things in the big cars, but they were no fun at all and 200kg of tools, seats, spare wheels, spare tent etc etc really isn’t necessary for a weekend camping in the lakes.

    I can get two bikes, a dog, my o/h, her “weekend” shoe collection and associated triad of bags in a fiat 500. The only reason we needed the yeti is the small squeaky being currently sleeping in his cot. Now he seemingly requires more kit than the REME running a bridge building workshop on the Rhein.

    trail_rat
    Member

    Yes it was simpler chucking things in the big cars, but they were no fun at all and 200kg of tools, seats, spare wheels, spare tent etc etc really isn’t necessary for a weekend camping in the lakes.

    agree – minimal packing essential what ever the vehicle as packing and unpacking loads just becomes a chore – van stays empty all the time so no lugging round heavy seats all the time and the bike just slots in absoltely no hassle.

    insulating the back box helps with noise and temp variation – as does a curtain for a bulkhead.

    my 1.9D – slow as shit heats up quickly in winter. VW being crap shocker 😉

    Down sides to a used van are they will have been ragged to death from new, generally abused and worked hard. Given the choice of two vehicles of the same age/mileage the car will usually be in better shape.

    My 9 year old VW was a builders van (ARGH NO!!!) from new and it’s immaculate. Certainly better than the much newer, bashed up, euro hatch, shopping trolleys that sit next to it in the street.

    Having a van is amazing. When I’m down to one vehicle it’s always the car that goes. Chucking the bikes in covered in mud is only a part of it. When the weather is bad (80% of the time) I can sit in the back and eat my dinner. I can also get dried and changed without offending everyone in the car park and then drive home comfortably.

    When the Mrs. gets a car next year I’m getting a bigger one! Fancy a sprinter with a garage, kitchen and bunk beds.

    andrewh
    Member

    I’ve gone from Mondeo to Transit. Vans are just better in every way.
    .

    I would buy an old people mover, pull the rear seats out and tint the windows. That way you don’t have insurance issues or pay extra tolls.

    The one between the Mondeo and Transit was an MPV. Modified ones are a PITA to insure, the van was a doddle, and a lot (like nearly half) cheaper. Van for private use doesn’t pay extra tolls, although the definition is whether it has a window in the side. Ferries cost more though

    trail_rat
    Member

    “Ferries cost more though”

    where too ? was the same cost for me from newcastle to amsterdam as it would have been for a car – or if i took my dads LWB dispatch – long as it didnt get any higher i was ok .

    jamesoz
    Member

    I’ve gone from Mondeo to Transit. Vans are just better in every way.
    .

    I would buy an old people mover, pull the rear seats out and tint the windows. That way you don’t have insurance issues or pay extra tolls.

    The one between the Mondeo and Transit was an MPV. Modified ones are a PITA to insure, the van was a doddle, and a lot (like nearly half) cheaper. Van for private use doesn’t pay extra tolls, although the definition is whether it has a window in the side. Ferries cost more though

    So removing rear seats that often are designed to be removed or folded away is a modification but putting a side window in to avoid higher tolls isn’t a mod? Things have changed a bit because private insurance on vans used to be tricky.

    Yes you can be lucky and find a well cared for van that was run by the owner rather than an employee who doesn’t pay for tyres, fuel or breakdowns and hates the van.

    Buy well and I’m sure it will be bullet proof not having to carry heavy loads or constant stop start round a major city.

    andrewh
    Member

    Modified van is easier to insure than a modified car for some reason, especially now it’s gone the whole hog and become a camper. The MPV had seats removed, internal storage and bike rack, curtains etc fitted.
    .
    Yes, ferry was more. Car to IOM £120, camper van under 5m in length £295, a van-van or bigger camper £loads

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    A few thoughts …

    Old shape Rav4 you can remove rear seats and it’s a van like load carrier. As a Toyota they are very reliable.

    Even in a Yaris could can get a bike in with front wheel off and seats down / passenger seat forward

    Duffbags are great, keeps mud on bike and not in car.

    Vans have street cred but are less comfortable and lower spec’d than a car. The big gain with a van is when you get a full sized one.

    I considered a small van and having rented a few decided to stick with the “car” solution, sorry the Rav4 was sold would happily get another.

    andrewh
    Member

    I find my van is comfier than my car was, but I like an upright driving position. Agree passenger seats aren’t comfy, back is too steep and doesn’t adjust. Lower-spec is a good thing though! I have nothing electric to go wrong, basic van is perfect for the DIY mechanic.

    “Down sides to a used van are they will have been ragged to death from new, generally abused and worked hard. Given the choice of two vehicles of the same age/mileage the car will usually be in better shape.”

    absolute tosh.

    Seconded! Vans are generally built tough, and even company drivers don’t tend to rag their vans. I’m not liable for any costs but I still treat my company vans nicely.

    The exception is if its red with a fairly obvious ‘Royal Mail’ lettering in the faded paint. If so, its a miracle its made it out of the business, and the panels are probably 2″ deep with filler/newspapers.

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