A good alternative to fullsize pickups, cargo vans offer a lot of advantages over other work vehicles. With covered, locked, weatherproof storage, vans are great for tradesmen who don’t need to haul a lot of dirty loads. Obviously, vans make great shuttles for hotels, airports, and limousine companies, but more and more businesses are starting to see the value of a big, empty box from a cargo standpoint. November was generally a good month for van sales, with increases from most of the major brands.
Ford Transit: 9,584, up 98 percent
The Transit has finally hit its sales stride, moving nearly 10,000 units in November. The new-for-2015 Transit features unibody construction, rear-wheel drive, and a choice of three efficient engines, including a Power Stroke 3.2L I-5 diesel. Several body lengths, roof heights, and passenger configurations make it even more versatile.
| 2014 Ford Transit Front Right View2
Chevrolet Express: 5,371, up 20 percent
The only holdout in the domestic body-on-frame van race, the Chevy Express and its GMC Savana twin still enjoy decent sales thanks to their versatility and ruggedness. They’re also still available with diesel engines, enabling a towing capacity of 10,000 pounds. That’s a whole lot of hard-workin’ van. Sales are up a decent amount this month over November 2014.
Ford Transit Connect: 4,237, up 94 percent
One of the first compact cargo vans to hit our shores, the Ford Transit Connect still outsells its Nissan, Chevrolet, and Ram competition by a significant margin. Sales in November were nearly double what they were the year before, possibly thanks to increased foot traffic for the new-for-2015 F-150 and Transit fullsize van. With two different engines, two van lengths, and cargo and passenger configurations, the Connect is a good fit for many urban businesses.
| 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon Passengers Side
Ford E-Series: 3,994, down 4 percent
Although not technically a van anymore, Ford’s E-Series cutaway chassis still sells reasonably well to bodybuilders looking for a sturdy school bus, hotel shuttle, or motorhome base
. Sales are taking a slight tumble, but the Transit will make up for the loss.
| Roush Ford E 450 Cutaway Van Withbox
Mercedes-Benz Vans: 2,770, up 9 percent
We wish Mercedes would subdivide their van sales numbers between the Sprinter and the Metris. As it is, Benz moved a decent amount of vans in the month of November, outselling many of the domestic models. It’s probably fair to assume most of the 2,770 Benz vans sold last month were Sprinters, as the Metris is only just now trickling into showrooms.
| 2012 Mercedes Benz Sprinter Front View2
Ram ProMaster: 2,754, down 16 percent
The front-wheel-drive Ram ProMaster (nee Fiat Ducato) is one of the best vans on the market for cargo, thanks to its low rear floor and extremely box-like cargo area. But despite its gas or diesel powertrains, the ProMaster’s appeal is limited only to those who need cargo space, since it’s not available with passenger seats. That may explain its little sales tumble for November 2015.
| 2014 Ram ProMaster Passengers Side View
Ram ProMaster City: 1,942, new vehicle
Unlike the fullsize ProMaster, the Ram ProMaster City is available with a second row of seating, bringing its max capacity to five passengers. It’s the most powerful of the compact cargo vans, and its interior is impressively carlike for a work vehicle. Its city fuel economy leaves a little to be desired, but otherwise, it’s a great, brand-new choice for those who need a small urban delivery runabout.
| 2016 Ram Promaster City Side In Motion
GMC Savana: 1,439, up 101 percent
The GMC Savana, like the Chevy Express, saw a healthy sales uptick recently. GMC’s industry-leading rebates likely had something to do with that, as did the Savana’s traditional van appeal and available turbodiesel V-8.
| 2014 GMC Savana Three Quarters View 2
Nissan NV200: 1,193, up 5.5 percent
The compact Nissan NV200 is a great choice for many urban businesses, thanks to its tight turning circle and segment-leading city fuel economy. We enjoyed our NV200 long-termer
, and it made for a very versatile daily driver.
| 2014 Nissan NV200 Side View
Nissan NV: 1,105, down 3 percent
The fullsize Nissan NV, available as a cargo or passenger van, has a lot to love. Its brawny available 5.6L V-8 makes some hot-rod-chic noises, and it moves the big van with surprising verve. The Truck Trend Network likes it so much that we use one
for events support, although we will admit its old-school construction and thirsty V-8 take their toll on our wallets when we refuel.
| 2014 Nissan NV Drivers Side
Chevrolet City Express: 833, new model
Based on the Nissan NV200, the compact Chevy City Express has many of the same positive attributes as its Japanese sibling, and its front end looks suitably “Chevrolet.” New for 2015, it’s already making its mark on the compact-van market, although as with the Nissan, its cargo-only configuration means small families and those who’d rather have a crew van will need to look elsewhere.
| 2016 Chevrolet City Express Front Three Quarter 02
Ram Cargo Van: 4, down 100 percent
Based on the Dodge Grand Caravan and largely supplanted by the Ram ProMaster City, the Ram C/V has been discontinued, and its sales numbers reflect that.
| 2015 Ram Cargo Van Front Three Quarter