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Thread: The Van Conundrum

  1. #1
    Benny Smyth's Avatar
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    Default The Van Conundrum

    So the contract hire for my Vivaro comes to a crashing halt at the end of February. I'll need to get it touched up [insert inappropriate joke here] before it goes back and I'll be sad to see it go. I called up Vauxhall about the possibility of me buying the van despite it being a hire agreement with no option to buy. My reasoning? Well, they're going to sell it anyway so why not save time, effort and money and give me first refusal? Their answer? It's the answer that ticked the box and thus refrained from anyone thinking for themselves and realising that it probably is a good idea.

    Either way, I don't think that I'll be going down the hire agreement route again. The reason I did last time was to compensate for getting rid of the car and I wanted something a little nicer to drive because of that. Since then, as some would know, my nephew came to live with us, so I needed to get car again anyway. Now that I have a nice enough car to drive, the need for a van with bells and whistles isn't as strong.

    So I'm more than likely going for a used van. It's been a while since I got myself one of these, but I am a bit wiser about it so this'll be interesting.

  2. #2

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    I went for a used van. I pay about 130 a month for it on finance, across a 3 year deal, knowing that in about 6 months time, it'll be fully paid off, and mine to own (and sell if I wish).

    I bought a van that was less than 3 years old when I bought it, and low mileage, so still has lots of life in it.

    Plus I've been able to upgrade locks etc, without falling foul of any hire agreements. Plus if I were to dink it, it's not going to cost me!

    Highly recommend the second hand route.

  3. #3
    Imagine's Avatar
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    I got mine 2nd hand about 4 years ago for the stunning cost of 1,200.

    It's a W Reg, and I purposely went for older due to it coming into a different band of paying for emissions through road tax. But....I knew what I was looking at. It's a Toyota Hiace and they're as reliable as they come (in fact the motor in it will outlast the bodywork by several decades). It's not the best looking beast (it tends to get knocked in car parks and with gear going in and out), it's not got bells and whistles, but it works and that's all I ask of it at the end of the day.

    The added bonus (and I knew this when I got it) is that my local mechanic trained on these beasts so can do absolute magic with it on the rare occasion it does go wrong. It's had a bit done to it, but as he says.....anything that would have needed to be replaced now has been so there shouldn't be any major shocks to come.

    Would I like something newer? Maybe. Am I likely to get it? Nope - not until this one dies.

  4. #4
    yourdj's Avatar
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    I Have got too the point where I am outgrowing my Zafira and need a van for 2019.

    As much as I want a Viano (classed as a private car) my sensible side is very much warming to the idea of a Nissan electric van. i only ever go out a few times a week and never travel any distance, so it will do me fine. I want to combine it with solar panels in my garden and a battery susyetm to store the energy/feed into my mains system, effectively giving me a road tax free car that more often than not gets charged for nothing. Plus there is very limited servicing and moving parts, so on paper it looks like an amazing deal considering the used ones are about 12,000, with little miles on the clock.

    I think if I was to go for a traditional van it would most probably be a Vito, if that helps, but I would look for something that has cheapish tax and a good MPG? I do about 50-60 mpg I recon in my Zafira as I have learnt to drive it properly, but something with at least 5 seats would be a good idea as a second child vehicle, so i am looking at the bus version of the Nissan I think, the seats are on rails, but I may have to take out the back seats. Probably easier to sell them thatcher than have them lying about for 5-10 years??

    We have a Merc 6 seater R class (3 litre V6) so thats for the family and long drives. Certainly not a DJ or dog vehicle.

    A camper would also feature in my search as they are super useful for a small family and hold their value well. I think you need separate insurance for that specifically for Campers though. plus they don't look great outside of posh venues (unless they are a brand new 60,000 Parco Polo) LOL.

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    Last edited by yourdj; 25-10-2018 at 06:15 PM.
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  5. #5
    Imagine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yourdj View Post
    my sensible side is very much warming to the idea of a Nissan electric van.

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    I looked into those recently but daren't take the risk. The quoted mileage is actually during the day with an empty payload. Bear in mind we normally travel at night and with (heaven forbid in a commercial vehicle)...equipment on-board, the figures didn't add up for me. It worked out that you could (at a stretch) get about 80 miles between charges.

    Now if you're working VERY local, that's not an issue. What happens if you're diverted on the way home though? Or on freezing nights where batteries are less efficient? Or if you're stuck in traffic but still need to use the lights (as is law)?

    I feel electricity powered commercial vehicles have got to come a LONG way before they can be used properly

  6. #6
    yourdj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Imagine View Post
    I looked into those recently but daren't take the risk. The quoted mileage is actually during the day with an empty payload. Bear in mind we normally travel at night and with (heaven forbid in a commercial vehicle)...equipment on-board, the figures didn't add up for me. It worked out that you could (at a stretch) get about 80 miles between charges.

    Now if you're working VERY local, that's not an issue. What happens if you're diverted on the way home though? Or on freezing nights where batteries are less efficient? Or if you're stuck in traffic but still need to use the lights (as is law)?

    I feel electricity powered commercial vehicles have got to come a LONG way before they can be used properly
    Yep 80 is what i have heard, but they have a good rapid charge system for about 45 mins to 80% or something like that, i can just plug it into a mains plug at a venue if I have a longer than usual drive I guess? Plus don't forget they have regen that reposers the batteries instead of breaking, you just remove your foot off the accelerator and it does it then.

    Anyhow 95% of my events are a 20 min journey away, so I think it might be an option I really need to look into the battery and when/how/how much when they are changed. Plus a few test drives to see if I like the experience. I think for 17,000 I can get that and the solar stuff and it should break even in a few years when i deduct servicing, tax, fuel & my electric bills. If i had a long journey with less kit, then I can use the Merc as its fine for the odd event, BAGS of room being a LWB.

    I shall let you know how i get on. i am trying to recoup money from an expensive building project at the moment, so it will most probably be post March 2019 when I start earning more money and have all the events in for the year.
    Last edited by yourdj; 25-10-2018 at 06:21 PM.
    Your DJ - Mobile DJ The New Forest, Southampton & Hampshire. Toby
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by yourdj View Post
    A camper would also feature in my search as they are super useful for a small family and hold their value well.
    plus they don't look great outside of posh venues (unless they are a brand new 60,000 Parco Polo) LOL.
    The traditional vintage VW campers seem to be doing well - in fact many people hire them as wedding transport to the venue. You could get a dual use out of it - drop off the equipment at the venue, and then do a run to the church and back

  8. #8

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    I drive a Berlingo & am now on my 2nd.. I'd have replaced the old (dead) one with something a little bigger but as usual I was caught between a rock & a hard place with nothing larger with reasonable economy or mileage in my budget.

    But - in the course of my day job I've had the dubious pleasure of hiring commercial vehicles to make various techy deliveries in.

    Renault Trafic : a nice van to drive - very comfy in front & lots of modern accoutrements. Has a decent stereo too. Pretty economical - I wasn't driving like a vicar on my way to Nuneaton & managed 56mpg with a very heavy load (needed a forklift to get it in & out put it that way).

    Ford Transit Custom: As the Trafic but the hire company left me needing to put diesel in before my long drive dahn saaf. No issue, I can expense the diesel no problem.. But I had to RTFM to find out how to get the damn fuel filler open! Stupid filler door is inaccessible UNLESS YOU OPEN THE PASSENGER DOOR!!!!!!! How can anybody put up with this?! Who flipping cares if the cab has a very handy 13A inverter powered socket under the middle seat, when you have to open the passenger door to put fuel in? Pretty economical & plenty of room in the back for my dream disco rig. But just NO on account of that flipping fuel filler flap. What kind of IDIOTS design these things?

    Mercedes Sprinter. I was in a big hurry to do a last minute thing & the hire company only had this or a Corsa van left. I got the 'short wheelbase' version apparently but it was still an absolute horror to navigate & park. I got tired of its incessant beeping & flashing warnings about oil pressure too. A common trait of Sprinters apparently. No satnav, no bluetooth, not even DAB or AUX input on the radio. Just awful.

    Vauxhall Vivaro.. on a par with the Trafic - A lovely van to drive & sips fuel.
    Last edited by Nakatomi; 26-10-2018 at 12:05 AM.

  9. #9
    Dinosaur Excalibur's Avatar
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    Default

    Just a little note on Justin's experiences with the Transit Custom. My son has one, while I have the older model. I'm convinced that they fired the lad who designed mine, and his last act of revenge before leaving was to design the Custom. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    The cabin on mine is designed to live and work in. The Custom isn't.

    P.S. Benny, your post confuses me. So buying your old van wasn't an option then? When I lease kit from PC World ( through a third party ) I always get the option to buy it at term, which I always do.
    Last edited by Excalibur; 26-10-2018 at 07:47 AM.
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  10. #10
    yourdj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rth_discos View Post
    The traditional vintage VW campers seem to be doing well
    They are super expensive as they are so popular. But popular cars are popular for a reason.

    On the electric side of things I like the look of this LOL.

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    The Cadi Maxi is one i would consider it very nice to look at:
    I may as well buy a Galaxy though as it has the same space.

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    Last edited by yourdj; 26-10-2018 at 08:34 AM.
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