10 August 2017 by CJ Hubbard, Vans Editor

  • Ford Fiesta Van mpg
  • Ford Transit Courier mpg
  • Best vans for mpg
  • Heavy vans use more fuel
  • Older vans will be less efficient
  • Van AdBlue
  • Regular servicing helps vans save fuel
  • Vauxhall Corsavan mpg
  • Our guide to the most economical vans on sale
  • Find out which van of every size is best for mpg
  • Tips on how to save fuel when driving vans, too

Looking for information on the most economical vans on sale in the UK? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Here you’ll find advice on van fuel economy in general, as well as links to our lists of the best mpg vans in every sector of the market:

What is the most economical van you can buy?

If size doesn’t matter – which in this case, it might – the vans with the best fuel economy are those that are very closely related to cars.

Namely: the Ford Fiesta Van and the Vauxhall Corsavan.

Ford Fiesta Van mpg

Currently it’s the Fiesta Van (above) that’s the most economical, returning a claimed 88.3mpg. But with the Fiesta on run-out stock and not being replaced, it's good to know the Corsavan (below) isn’t far behind, with one model reaching 85.6mpg.

Vauxhall Corsavan mpg

If you do need to carry more than just whatever will fit in the back of a small hatchback with the rear seats removed, the next best bet is the Ford Transit Courier (below), which claims up to 76.3mpg.

Ford Transit Courier mpg

Beyond that we have full lists of the most economical small, medium and large vans:

How is van fuel economy calculated?

Every van manufacturer uses rules laid out by the EU to provide an official miles per gallon (mpg) figure. This is calculated using two types of test: urban, which is supposed to simulate driving around town, and extra-urban, which supposedly simulates faster roads as well.

The results from these two tests are then brought together to create a combined mpg figure – which is the number everyone quotes for comparison.

How realistic are official van mpg figures?

Until someone comes up with a fair way of delivering comparable real-world economy figures – which can be affected by everything from the weather to the amount of traffic and even the time of day – the official mpg claims are the best way to compare van efficiency like for like.

This is because every van manufacturer is forced to play by the same rules – even if there have been occasions where someone has tried to break those rules.

Best vans for mpg

This doesn't mean you should expect any van you buy to return its official mpg figure in real life. In fact, it’s extremely unlikely you’ll get anywhere near the claims, especially once you’ve got all your gear in the back.

But you can still use the official economy figures as a guide to whether one van might prove more economical than another.

What affects van mpg?

Weight, driving style and maintenance.

How weight / payload affects van fuel economy

The heavier a van the more fuel it uses

The heavier a van, the more fuel it requires to move it around. So if you’re looking to save money on fuel, consider whether everything you’re carrying is absolutely essential.

And clear any unnecessary rubbish out of the cab occasionally – after all, as a popular supermarket says, every little counts…

How driving style affects van fuel economy

Fast driving uses more fuel

Aggressive driving uses more fuel than careful driving, while higher speeds are less economical than lower speeds - which is why vans fitted with speed limiters have much better official mpg figures than their non-limited equivalents.

One simple way to improve your driving style for better mpg is to imagine the accelerator pedal has an egg underneath and you’re trying to squeeze it rather than crack it.

Small, thoughtful actions like this can make a surprisingly big difference.

How maintenance affects van mpg

Regular servicing helps vans save fuel

A well-maintained van will always be more efficient than a poorly maintained one.

Think about this in terms of reducing resistance; check tyres are at the correct pressure for your load, and don’t skimp on oil changes.

Are there special super-economical van variants?

A number of van makers do offer eco-optimised models.

VW’s BlueMotion range is probably the most famous (ironic, given the Dieselgate scandal), but Energy (Renault), BlueEfficiency (Mercedes-Benz), EcoJet (Fiat), Econetic (Ford) and Ecoflex (Vauxhall) are all terms used by manufacturers to denote especially economical vans.

Are vans with small engines or big engines more economical?

Interesting question. There has certainly been a ‘downsizing’ trend within the van industry in recent years, with many manufacturers introducing smaller engines to replace larger ones – and often to good effect in official testing.

However, the 2.0-litre TDI Volkswagen Caddy is still one of the most economical small vans you can buy, despite every other van in that sector sporting smaller engines.

More signficantly you might well find that out in the real world, larger, more powerful engines deliver more miles per gallon.

Older vans are less efficient

This is because they will likely be straining less at any given point, and less strain generally means less fuel.

This rule should only really be applied to modern engines, though. An old smoker from years past will almost certainly be less economical than a modern van of any engine size – technology and engineering moves very fast in this area.

Is Euro 5 or Euro 6 better for van mpg?

Another interesting question. Euro 6 is the very latest emissions standard for vans, and it replaces Euro 5. But it was introduced to improve air quality rather than improve fuel economy, and can actually reduce efficiency as a result.

As such, you’ll find that some vans have worse official mpg under Euro 6 than they did under Euro 5.

Almost every larger van has required an AdBlue tank and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system to be added, for example, in order to reduce NOx emissions.

Van AdBlue

At the very least this has meant an increase in kerbweight. And as we’ve already discussed, extra weight is bad for fuel economy.

However, many van makers have also introduced more efficient engines as part of this change, and in these cases the mpg improvements under Euro 6 have sometimes proved quite dramatic.

See the BlueHDi-powered Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner, as good instances of this.

To find out more about the most economical vans, see our individual segment guides:

Related info: