The new commercial vehicles market is thriving so far in 2019 with registrations rising to 102,743 in the first three months – up 8.9% on the same period in 2018.
March 2019 was the best ever month for new Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) with more than 66,000 new vans and pick-ups hitting British roads compared with the same month in 2018 – an increase of 6,359 vehicles.
Fresh models, incentives and the new '19' number plates all helped make March memorable, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
“March is typically the busiest month of the year and it’s great to see large demand for the new ‘19' plate," said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive. "While the market does fluctuate with buying cycles, it appears buyers are making the most of the fantastic deals on offer."
Both medium vans weighing 2.0-2.5 tonnes and large vans weighing 2.5-3.5 tonnes saw double-digit growth, with demand rising by 17.9% and 13% respectively. Registrations of pick-ups also rose by 6.7%, to more than 11,000, while small vans weighing less than 2 tonnes experienced a decline, falling 10.6%.
The Ford Transit Custom, the UK’s best-selling commercial vehicle by a considerable margin, again topped the LCV charts, with the Ford Transit comfortably in second place.
The registration figures stated in this article are accurate for January to March 2019.
1) Ford Transit Custom - 16,611 registrations
Echoing the best-selling Ford Fiesta in the UK Top 10 for passengers cars, the Ford Transit Custom is streets ahead when it comes to vans with 16,611 registrations by the end of March 2019 – more than double its nearest rival, the bigger Ford Transit.
Winner of the What Van? Awards 2019: Medium Van of the Year, it has "dominated its sector since it burst onto the scene to rave reviews in 2012, bringing unprecedented style, road-handling characteristics and innovative load-carrying solutions to the market".
2) Ford Transit - 7,253 registrations
The Transit Custom's big brother is a van legend. It's been the backbone of Britain since 1965 and is now in its fourth generation. Still the most popular larger van, the Transit is available in three body lengths and two heights, plus there are van and double cab body options.
With an efficient range of engines (with a fully electric version coming in 2021), it boasts a great ride and good handling. A facelifted new version goes on sale in 2019 featuring a mild hybrid engine, all-new interior and the latest driver assistance tech.
3) Mercedes-Benz Sprinter - 5,602 registrations
Winner of the 2018 Auto Express Van of the Year and What Van? Awards 2019: Large Van of the Year (to name but two) the third generation Sprinter was launched in 2018 to rave reviews.
Available with three wheelbases, four vehicle lengths, three roof heights, chassis, chassis crewcab, Tourers, and an all-new Tractor Head chassis specifically designed for motorhomes, the new Merc is loaded with tech. An innovative all-wheel drive (AWD) version has just joined the fleet, making the Sprinter a sensible option for when the going gets tough.
4) Volkswagen Transporter - 5,249 registrations
Alongside the Ford Transit, the VW Transporter is the one of the world's most iconic vans. Originally launched way back in 1950, the current sixth-generation T6 came along in 2016 and it's continued to sell in big numbers.
Winner of the Used Van of the Year title at the What Van? Awards 2019, the Transporter is a class act with superb comfort, high build quality, a fine range of efficient engines and top tech.
5) Ford Ranger - 4,736 registrations
The UK's most popular pick-up certainly looks the part. Not only is it rugged yet comfortable, but it's versatile with genuine off-road ability and boasts a 3.5-tonne towing capacity. Available as a single cab, super cab or double cab, the latter is a great option for business users looking for a work vehicle that's family-friendly when they clock off.
With an upgraded version arriving in 2019 boasting enhanced performance, fuel efficiency, connectivity and driver assistance tech, there's little danger of the Ranger dropping down the top 10.
6) Ford Transit Connect - 4,523 registrations
Originally launched in 2002, the Transit Connect compact panel van is now in its second generation (2013-). It was refreshed in 2018 and features Ford's excellent 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel and 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol featuring cylinder deactivation.
More like driving a car than a van, it shares its running gear with the Focus hatchback. Offered with standard and long wheelbases, the double cab version has a second row of seats and sliding side doors for improved access.
7) Peugeot Partner - 4,148 registrations
Crowned International Van of the Year 2019 and winner of Company Car and Van magazine's ‘Small Van of the Year’, the versatile new Partner is available in two body lengths (4.40m and 4.75m).
Boasting a wide range of efficient petrol and diesel engines, manual and automatic transmissions, a good selection of driver assistance and safety systems, plus Peugeot's innovative digital i-Cockpit, it's a dynamic small van choice.
8) Citroen Berlingo Van - 4,123 registrations
Named Best Small Trades Van (Berlingo Blue HDi 100) and Best Green Van (Berlingo Electric L1 635 LX) at the 2019 Business Van of the Year Awards, Citroen's compact commercial has been racking up the awards since its launch in 2018.
Available in two lengths, M and XL (4.40m and 4.75m) and with payloads up to 1,000kg, its load volume ranges from 3.3m³ and 3.8m³. Closely related to the Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall Combo, the comfortable, well-equipped Berlingo is arguably the best all-rounder.
9) Vauxhall Vivaro - 4,074 registrations
With an all-new Vauxhall Vivaro (pictured) now on sale and first deliveries expected this summer, we can expect this Ford Transit Custom competitor to climb the charts. Built in Britain and now based on the same platform and technology as the latest Citroen Dispatch and Peugeot Expert, the new Vivaro will have higher payload and towing ratings than the outgoing model, making this popular van even more practical.
The new Vivaro comes in two lengths (4.95m and 5.30m) and three body styles (panel van, double cab for up to six occupants, and a platform chassis). Payload is up to 1,400kg, cargo capacity is 6.6m³, and it has a 2,500kg towing capacity.
10) Mitsubishi L200 - 3,900 registrations
Crowned 2018 Auto Express Pick-up of the Year and named ‘Best Pick-up’ by both Carbuyer and Parkers, the fifth-generation Mitsubishi L200 has a great reputation for good value, durability and practicality.
With new and established rivals such as the Mercedes-Benz X-Class, Nissan Navara and market-leading Ford Ranger all upping their game, Mitsubishi is rising to the challenge in 2019 with a bold facelift, plus safety/driver assistance upgrades.