Unlike some of the other automotive segments, vans saw a respectable uptick in sales for January 2016 versus January 2015. Most van nameplates sold better than they did in the first month of last year, giving manufacturers of these utility machines something to smile about, even if their pickups and SUVs took a little sales tumble.
Ford Transit – 9,631, Up 51 Percent
The new, unibody Ford Transit
replaced the body-on-frame E-Series van in the latter half of 2014, and as last month’s sales numbers indicate, the new Transit is selling very well now that production is in full swing. One aspect of the Transit’s success is its variety of body styles, as well as a low cost of entry in base models.
| 2015 Ford Transit Rear Three Quarter 03
Ford Transit Connect – 3,411, Down 8 Percent
Arguably the first compact cargo van in the United States, the Ford Transit Connect continues to sell well in spite of competition from Nissan, Chevrolet, and Ram. Sales took a hit last month, but it’s still the bestselling van in its segment.
| 2014 Ford Transit Connect Left Front 2
Ford E-Series – 2,959, Down 11 percent
Still in production as a cutaway, primarily for motorhomes like the Sportsmobile pictured here, the Ford E-Series continues to sell well. Available with a gas V-10, the E-Series is a popular choice for school buses and other industries that rely on body-on-frame ruggedness and versatility.
| 2015 Sportsmobile Ford E350 Classic
Chevrolet Express – 2,913, Down 19 Percent
Another benefactor to the need for body-on-frame vans is the Chevrolet Express.
Rumor has it that sales of the Express actually increased after the E-Series van was discontinued, as many body builders were reluctant to switch to a less-versatile unibody construction style. Still, sales of both the E-Series and Express were down in January 2016, so for how long they’ll remain on the market is anyone’s guess.
| 2014 Chevrolet Express Cargo Van Passengers Side Doors Open
Ram ProMaster – 2,109, Up 33 Percent
The Ram ProMaster, although hampered by its cargo-only body style, saw a significant sales increase last month. The van’s front-drive powertrain opens up a wide, deep cargo area, and its optional four-cylinder EcoDiesel is a popular option to boost efficiency.
| 2016 Ram Promaster Front Three Quarters
Mercedes-Benz Vans – 1,899, Up 26 Percent
Mercedes-Benz has an unfair advantage in this sales list, as the company’s van division doesn’t subdivide sales between its two models, the Sprinter and the Metris.
Still, the latter van’s newness and attractive price point combine with the fullsize Sprinter’s strong reputation to give Benz excellent January 2016 sales.
| 2016 Mercedes Benz Metris First Drive Driver Side View
GMC Savana – 1,500, Up 1 Percent
The GMC Savana, like its Chevrolet Express cousin, is a body-on-frame van powered by one of three V-8 powertrains: a 4.8L gasser, a 6.0L flex-fuel vehicle, and a 6.6L Duramax diesel. Those engines give the Savana a rugged reputation it rightly deserves. Sales were up just slightly last month.
| 2015 GMC Savana 2500 Cargo Van Rear Three Quarters
Nissan NV – 1,292, Up 22 Percent
The Nissan NV, available as a passenger or cargo model in two different roof heights, is a versatile, if uncommon, option fleet operators have. Fit with either a 4.0L V-6 or 5.6L V-8, the NV is a good option, thanks to its vast cargo capacity and wide stance. It’s also got a cool, truck-like appearance up front, unlike most other stubby-nosed vans.
| 2014 Nissan NV Front Passenger Side
Nissan NV200 – 1,273, Up 8 Percent
The compact NV200 shares much with its Chevrolet City Express twin, including increased sales for last month. The little van is a very attractive option for many urban businesses thanks to its segment-best turning radius and city fuel economy. We enjoyed the usefulness of our long-term tester
| 2015 Nissan Nv200 Side View Doors Open
Ram ProMaster City – 974, New Vehicle
Brand-new in 2015, the Ram ProMaster City is another take on the compact-van recipe. A large 2.4L I-4 coupled to a nine-speed automatic transmission give the little Ram excellent performance and respectable fuel economy. Based on the European Fiat Doblo, expect ProMaster City sales to increase in the future.
| 2016 Ram Promaster City Front Three Quarter
Chevrolet City Express – 710, Up 21 Percent
A sizeable increase in sales shows customers are warming to the Chevrolet City Express. As on the Nissan NV200, a 2.0L I-4 provides 131 hp to a CVT transmission and the front wheels, giving it good economy around town, although efficiency suffers on the freeway somewhat. As its name suggests, it’s a great choice for urban fleets.
| 2016 Chevrolet City Express Front Three Quarter