If you need a vehicle with large storage capacity and the ability to take challenging surfaces and terrain in its stride, then you’re definitely in the market for a 4×4 van.
Although they may sound like a slightly unusual option, these 4×4 vehicles are, in fact, highly popular.
In this article, we’ll look at who would benefit from investing in an off-road van and then consider some of the best choices currently on the market to buy as either new or used 4×4 vehicles.
On one side of the market, there are the outdoor sports enthusiasts whose hobbies require the transportation of unwieldy equipment to some rather far-flung places.
There are, for instance, the surfers who wake up at the crack of dawn to make their way to remote bays with a van loaded up with surfboards, or the mountain bikers who have multiple bikes and support equipment to get to the start of the trail.
In particular, clubs and training schools for these activities always need at least one dependable 4×4 van, if not a small fleet.
On the other side of the market, there are the businesses operating primarily outside of cities and highly developed areas such as delivery companies who must navigate muddy tracks and incomplete roads to reach their destinations.
Then there are the companies that regularly work with, or on, farms. Finally, there are the companies that need to provide a dependable service throughout the winter months when road conditions make ordinary vehicles dangerous, if not impossible, to use.
Now let’s consider some of the best models currently on the market, starting with what might be considered a somewhat surprising choice… a Mercedes.
Mercedes is typically associated more with luxury vehicles and sophisticated city living than with rugged motoring. However, there is more to this renowned brand than the popular image would have you believe.
One look at the Mercedes Sprinter 4×4, fully kitted out with a roof-rack and a chunky set of tyres and there’s little doubting the off-road capability of this vehicle. Looks aside, this van has a payload of up to 2,890 kg, a loadspace of up to 17000 litres and a useful finishing touch – it lets you turn the four-wheel-drive on manually.
The Ford Ranger is a mighty pick-up that does all the things that Ford is known for doing very well. A best-seller in the UK, the Ranger gives you a payload of 1,252kg and a maximum load length of 2,317mm. All in all, this is an impressive vehicle for a decent price.
The VW Transporter is a stylish choice of mid-size van from this ever-popular German manufacturer. The 4×4 option is offered on T32 models and makes use of Volkswagen’s impressive 4MOTION system.
Technically, this doesn’t actually provide complete four-wheel drive; the system, in fact, responds to the conditions of the terrain to provide better handling and also provides four-wheel-drive lock if needed.
The Toyota Hilux could provide the dictionary definition of a “tried-and-tested pick-up truck”; a model now in its eighth generation, this vehicle provides all the practicality and reliability that buyers look for in a pick-up and looks great to boot. When it comes to capacity, the Hilux’s load bay has a length of 2,315mm and can carry a very handy 1,085kg.
So if you’re looking for vehicles that combine excellent capacity with top off-road capability, look no further than these four choices. They’ll keep you on schedule, whatever the terrain.