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In the UK, we have several hotly debated topics, such as the correct way to pronounce ‘scone’, not to mention whether the milk or tea bag comes first. But when it comes to our roads, one of the biggest discussions for motorists is whether they should choose an automatic vehicle or not. 

As a van driver considering purchasing an automatic van, there’s likely a lot more weighing on your decision, especially if you need the vehicle for your work. 

In today’s post, we will cover some of the most frequently asked questions relating to automatic vans so you can make an informed choice. 

Automatic Vs Manual Vehicles

Although several transmissions types exist, including manual, automatic, continuously variable, semi-automatic and dual-clutch, it is often the choice between a manual and automatic vehicle that gets the most attention. 

Approximately 66% of drivers learn to drive manually versus automatic. The good news is that if you passed your driving test with a manual license, you can switch to an automatic without retaking your test. 

But does an automatic vehicle have benefits over a manual vehicle? Here are the top points to consider. 

Benefits of Automatic Vans

  • Easier to drive
  • No need to change gears
  • Typically has 4 modes (Park, reverse, neutral & drive)
  • Unable to stall vehicle (unless there’s a mechanical fault)
  • Better for rush hour traffic
  • Better for those with disabilities
  • Automatic vans typically have a higher resale value 

However, automatic vans are more expensive to purchase than their manual counterparts. 

Benefits of Manual Vans

  • More control over the vehicle
  • Better suited to different weather conditions
  • Easier to accelerate
  • Cheaper to maintain

However, for those of us who drive for a long-time for work, we often find we develop aches and pains far quicker in a manual. 

Are Automatic Vans Reliable?

That’s the million-dollar question, right? After all, if you are using a van for your business, you need to know you’re going to reach your customers and carry out all the tasks related to your work. 

The AA has stated that automatics can be more reliable than manuals, which certainly counts for a lot as a leading automotive insurer. The main reason the AA and others think highly of automatic vehicles in terms of reliability is that the gearbox picks the right settings on your behalf, which is a much more efficient process than manually changing the gears yourself. 

With the engine not having to focus on gear changes, it can perform to a higher level of fuel efficiency too. 

What can sometimes cast doubt is that automatic transmissions are more costly to repair, owing to their more intricate composition. However, as technology continues to improve it is likely this issue will become less of a problem over time. Consulting user feedback can also be helpful when choosing the most reliable vehicle too. 

Benefits Of An Automatic Van

Simplicity is by far the biggest benefit of an automatic van. With a manual transmission, your attention can be divided between what’s happening inside the vehicle and on the road itself. 

When you add in thoughts about the work you are carrying out, and even modern distractions such as hands-free phone calls, an automatic van sounds great if you’re on the road all the time. So, where safety is concerned, automatic definitely ticks all the boxes.

As a business, automatic vans could even save you money. While previously, automatic vehicles were known for using more fuel than manuals, the tables are turning. So if your work is mostly in urban areas, you might find a new automatic van is much better suited to the stop-start traffic. Plus unlike if you purchase an automatic vehicle, you aren’t going to find some employees who cannot drive the vehicle because they only have an automatic license. 

Considerations Of An Automatic Van

  • The type of driving you’ll be doing
  • If you need more control for weather conditions
  • Purchase and repair costs

An automatic van isn’t going to suit all uses. For example, if your business is based in the Scottish Highlands and you experience some of the UK’s most challenging weather conditions, you’re probably going to want to opt for a manual van. That’s because it will give you more control over the vehicle especially in wintry weather. 

That said, the reality is that the majority of businesses do operate in urban conditions whereby an automatic vehicle perfectly suits their needs.  

Type Of Industries That May Benefit From An Automatic Van

Practically all industries can benefit from automatic vans. The main reason users opt for a van over a car is the room vans give you in the back. The size and capabilities are exactly the same as with a manual vehicle, it is only the driving aspects that are simplified. 

Two industries that may benefit from automatic vans the most include:

Long Distance Driving

In recent years, automatic vehicles have upped their game in the long-distance driving stakes. Therefore, it’s no longer the case that excessive distances should only be handled by manual vehicles.

As said before, automatic vans are much easier to drive, and drivers find less aches and pains. However, from a financial point of view fuel efficiency has made travelling long distances cheaper within automatic vehicles. When you are trying to manage overheads as a business, reduced fuel costs can make all the difference. 

Couriers

Automatic vans as with manual vans can have tremendous load capacities making them ideal for couriers. The more space provided means an increase in the number of parcels that can be collected or delivered in a run. Plus if you are delivering to mostly urban areas anyway, then an automatic isn’t going to hinder your work. 

Where reliability is concerned, makes such as Mercedes offer a 24/7 repair service which means your parcels will never be left stranded. All of which is much better for business, and gives you that peace of mind especially if you have many vehicles within your fleet, or if you’re a self-employed courier. 

Best Automatic Vans For Trade Use 

Tradespeople such as builders, plumbers, electricians, plasterers and roofers naturally want plenty of space within their vehicles. More than that, they need the flexibility to complete different tasks as they move between their offices, building sites, suppliers and more.

Some of the best automatic vans for trade use include: 

  • Vauxhall Vivaro-e
  • Mercedes Sprinter
  • Citroen Dispatch
  • Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial

Decent Automatic Gearbox

When it comes to finding a reliable automatic gearbox, the top 10 manufacturers are Lexus, Aston Martin, Smart, Suzuki, Honda, Mazda, Toyota and Porsche. So, it’s worth checking out automatic vehicles from these manufacturers if the gearbox quality is one of your top priorities. 

Fuel consumption

The fuel efficiency of a van is based on its payload and the way in which the vehicle is driven. Excessive weights and erratic driving styles will increase your fuel consumption, regardless of the model you opt for. 

However, the following models are some of the best automatic vans on the market where reduced fuel consumption is concerned:

  • Citroen Berlingo 
  • Mercedes Citan
  • Toyota Proace
  • Citroen Relay
  • Ford Transit

Cheap Automatic Vans

As mentioned, automatic vehicles tend to have a higher purchase price than manual vehicles. Though, that doesn’t mean to say the price point is out of reach especially if you shop around. 

In addition, automatic vans also depreciate slower versus manual vehicles making them ideal if you plan on selling your van later down the line. 

Some of the cheapest automatic vans on the market include:

  • Renault Kangoo
  • Ford Transit Custom
  • Nissan ENV200
  • SsangYong Musso Saracen

Automatic Vans And The Diesel Ban

Finally, you may have heard the news that from 2035 the sale of petrol and diesel cars will be banned in the UK. This is so the government can meet its green objectives relating to reaching zero carbon emissions by 2050. Originally, the date for the ban was set for 2040, but experts warned this would be too late to hit environmental objectives of 2050.

The reason the ban matters in terms of automatic cars is that at present, the majority of electric vehicles are automatic. This is because electric vehicles don’t require a clutch due to their inability to stall like their petrol and diesel counterparts. 

A small number of manufacturers are either currently producing or planning on producing manual electric vehicles. However, given the market is definitely swaying in favour of automatic electric vehicles, it may mean you have less choice and possibly face higher expense to continue using a manual vehicle once the ban is in place. 

Are you looking for an Auto Body Part for your automatic van?

Do you need any further help or advice with anything we’ve mentioned above? Mount Panels is a leading UK supplier of van panels and parts. 

With over 40 years of experience, we can get you the parts you need to get up and running quickly and efficiently. We also offer our customers based within 25 miles of our Leeds HQ free same or next day delivery.We would be more than happy to help you with all automatic van queries, or any other questions you may have relating to car and van parts. Please contact us and we’ll be in touch!