Author Archives: Van Rental

Europcar Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive

Europcar upgrades hire fleet with Vivaro Sportive vans

Europcar Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive

Europcar now has Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive vans for hire.

Customers of van hire giant Europcar can now choose to rent a high-specification Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive van.

These generously-equipped vans have been added to the firm’s fleet as part of an upgrade aimed at attracting drivers who need a mobile office space, not just a load carrier.

Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive cab

The middle seat of the Vivaro Sportive can be folded flat to form a desk large enough for a laptop or paperwork. It’s an ideal choice for van drivers who also manage sales on the move or have complex paperwork to handle.

“Adding the Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive to our fleet shows our commitment to reviewing and upgrading our offering to meet the constantly evolving demands of UK businesses”, explained Stuart Russell, Director Commercial Vehicles, Europcar Mobility Group in the UK.

Other treats in-store for Vivaro Sportive drivers include a leather-covered steering wheel, cruise control and rear parking sensors. All popular extras that make life easier or more comfortable for regular drivers.

A new model is coming

As a result of PSA Group’s acquisition of Opel/Vauxhall, the current model is due to be replaced by a new Vivaro based on a PSA (Peugeot/Citroen) vehicle platform in 2019.

I suspect the introduction of the Sportive to Europcar’s fleet may also be due to the fact that the current model Vivaro is now in run-out mode.

Manufacturers tend to offer good deals on high-spec vehicles when a model is nearing replacement as a way of boosting sales. And high-spec models like the Sportive are likely to have stronger resale value when the time comes for Europcar to move them on.

The good news is that the new PSA-based Vivaro will still be built at Vauxhall’s Luton plant, preserving its Made in Britain status. Indeed, PSA plans to upgrade the Luton factory to increase production capacity from 60,000 to 100,000 vans per year.

Questor Insurance logo

Questor Insurance EXCLUSIVE discount code – save 7.5% [EXPIRED]

Questor Insurance logo

Great news! We have another exclusive discount code for Questor Insurance car and van hire excess protection.

This service can be a great way to cut the cost of car and van hire. Questor’s insurance is sometimes much cheaper than the additional insurance sold by the rental firms.

With most companies charging an excess fee of £500-£1,000 on van hire, we believe protecting your excess is essential when hiring a van.

Here are the details:

This discount code has now expired. Please check our Van Hire Insurance page for the latest special offers.

Terms and conditions may apply. See Questor website for details.

The new 2019 Vauxhall Combo

New Vauxhall Combo should tick boxes for van hire

The new 2019 Vauxhall Combo

The new 2019 Vauxhall Combo

The latest version of the popular Vauxhall Combo small van will reach UK showrooms in December. I suspect it will be a popular choice with van hire companies too, albeit with tough competition from the Ford Transit Connect.

It’s new: It’s the first new Combo model since Peugeot owner PSA group brought the Vauxhall and Opel businesses one year ago. The new van is based on the same vehicle as the Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner vans, but is designed and adapted by Vauxhall to be a distinct model.

Short, long & 1 tonne: Among the highlights of the new Combo are a maximum payload of 1,000kg and a maximum loading length of 3.4m, achieved by folding down part of the front passenger seat. Crew cab and long wheelbase models will also be available.

Combo with pallet loaded

The new Combo can carry two standard euro pallets and has a payload of up to 1,000kg, depending on variant.

Petrol or diesel: As is increasingly the norm, buyers will be able to choose from both petrol and diesel engines. This gives operators using the van for low mileages or short journeys the chance to buy petrol and avoid problems with Diesel Particulate Filters, which are unsuited to such use.

Diesels will be available with 75PS, 100PS or 130PS power ratings. Buyers opting for the range-topping 1.5-litre 130PS diesel will also be able to specify an eight-speed automatic transmission for the first time.

Lower-powered models will get a 1.6-litre diesel with a five-speed manual transmission. No details were provided in the launch press kit about the petrol engines, so it seems Vauxhall isn’t expecting much interest in this model.

Plenty of tech: The new van will have the usual array of safety kit. Like its French siblings, the new Combo will be available with a sensor-based load indicator that warns the driver if the van is overloaded.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will also be available.

Vauxhall Combo interior

Inside the new Combo has been redesigned and boasts plenty of storage and modern tech, including a touch screen.

The new Vauxhall Combo is available to order now and should reach UK showrooms in December. Prices start from £15,630 +VAT.

London Low Emission Zone sign

Hiring a van is easiest way to cut emissions

London Low Emission Zone sign

The London LEZ already covers most of the area inside the M25 and is set to become stricter, with a new Ultra-Low Emission Zone planned inside the North/South Circular from 2021.

I’ve often talked about the cost advantages of renting a van for occasional van users. But the environmental gains are equally exciting.

Data released by the British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association (BVRLA) to mark Green GB Week show that 56% of the UK’s van rental fleet already meets the latest Euro VI emissions standard.

In contrast, just 13% of the UK’s van fleet as a whole is Euro VI. Of course, one reason for this is that the leasing and rental sector is one of the biggest buyers of new vans in the UK. After 2-4 year, most of these vans are then sold into the secondhand market.

But the reality is that buying a cheap, old van seems to be a poor choice, environmentally, compared to occasionally renting a nearly-new van.

This has implications for drivers wanting to travel into the expanding London ULEZ and potentially into other planned Clean Air Zones. Keeping an old van parked up for occasional use in cities could cost you dearly if planned charges are introduced. Plus it’s likely to cost you more to run (and more headaches) than an occasional rental.

Even if you don’t venture into our major cities, you’ll probably be concerned about minimising your impact on air quality, which is already dangerously poor in many areas of the UK.

Our independent van hire price comparison engine allows you to compare van hire prices from most of the UK’s main rental firms. If you’re considering the cost of van hire, why not take a look?

New Peugeot Partner van

New ‘Overload’ feature could soon be standard for hire vans

New Peugeot Partner van

The new Peugeot Partner van is available with an Overload Indicator that warns when the van has exceeded its maximum authorised mass.

For hire van drivers, it’s often very difficult to know whether their van has been overloaded. This is especially true if the goods being carried are mixed, such as tools, building supplies and equipment or perhaps household possessions.

It’s all very well to say that drivers are responsible for knowing the weight of the stuff they’re carrying — although it’s true, the reality is that it isn’t always easy to find out. And finding an open weighbridge close to your route is often even harder.

This could be the solution

I’ve been writing about this problem on since 2007!

But while our price comparison system has come a long way in that time, vans have remained far too easy to overload. Indeed, the problem seems to have worsened, and drivers can face serious fines if caught.

What I think is needed is for vans to be fitted with a load sensor that detects when the van has reached its maximum authorised mass. Aftermarket systems have been readily available for some time, but some new vans are starting to be fitted with this feature as standard.

Among the first to benefit are the new Peugeot Partner and Citroen Berlingo vans. These small vans benefit from a payload of up to 1,000kg. All-new third-generation models are now available to order. They are available with an (optional) Overload Indicator which warns the driver when the van has exceeded its maximum authorised mass (i.e. when it’s overloaded).

These models aren’t yet available from hire companies. But they will be soon.

In my view, this is such a useful feature that I expect it to become much more widely available on new vans over the next few years. It should also make it easier for employers and van operators to comply with their duty of care responsibilities.

In the meantime, if your local van hire company (or your employer) is ordering some of the new Peugeot Partner or Citroen Berlingo vans, make sure you ask whether they’re specifying the Overload Indicator!

BT Fleet 250,000 Luton Vivaro

Luton plant celebrates 250,000 landmark for Vivaro van

BT Fleet 250,000 Luton Vivaro

250,000 2nd generation Vauxhall Vivaro vans have been built at the firm’s Luton plant.

The Vauxhall Vivaro is a popular choice with van hire companies, tradesmen and fleets. Built at the firm’s Luton plant, it’s one of only a handful of mass-produced commercial vehicles that can honestly claim to be Built in Britain.

Staff at the Vauxhall plant recently celebrated the production of the 250,000th second generation Vivaro built at Luton. Fittingly, the landmark model was handed over to Vauxhall’s biggest Vivaro customer, BT Fleet Solutions.

BT Fleet has bought no fewer than 25,000 Vivaro vans from Vauxhall over the last 14 years, so it seems fair to assume that the model works well for the firm. Indeed, you’d have to assume that such a big buyer might even have had input into the design and specification of this popular model.

The next Vivaro

The current Vivaro could be the last ‘true’ mid-sized Vauxhall van. The sale of the Opel/Vauxhall business to Peugeot/Citroen owner PSA Group means that the replacement model is likely to built on a PSA platform that’s shared with other group models.

The good news is that PSA has already committed to build the new Vivaro at Luton and plans to upgrade the factory’s production capacity from 60,000 to 100,000 vehicles per year by mid-2019.

Northgate VW Transporter at Nurburgring

Hire van sets new lap record at Nürburgring

VW Transporter at Nurburging

Rob Austin’s stock Volkswagen Transporter hire van has set a new unofficial lap record of the Nurburgring

A standard production model Volkswagen Transporter supplied by Northgate Vehicle Hire has set a new unofficial lap record around the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife race circuit.

The van was piloted by British Touring Car driver Rob Austin, who is normally found behind the wheel of a highly-tuned Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

Rob took some time off his day job to try and beat 10 minute 8 second time set by German racer Sabine Schmitz in a Ford Transit for Top Gear in 2005.

Northgate VW Transporter at Nurburgring

Rob succeeded and clocked up a 9m58s lap, setting an unofficial new record:

As far as I know, this is a record for a standard van. But I do remember that back in 2013, tuning firm Revo souped up an earlier VW Transporter and squeezed out a 9 minute 57 second lap at the ‘Ring:

And finally, no discussions of ‘Ring lap records in vans would be complete without including footage of Sabine Schmitz’s legendary 2005 lap for Top Gear, which she completed in 10m 8s in a rather slower Ford Transit:

You’ve got to love the footage of a Transit van passing fast cars and motorbikes on the Nurburging. Just goes to show that most of the time, speed is about the driver, not the vehicle.

Moving house with a van

Heading back to uni? Don’t leave home without renting a van

Moving house with a van

Shifting your stuff is much easier in a van than in your parents’ car! Think about sharing with an older driver to avoid age restrictions.

It’s that time again. Students are flocking back to university with all of their ‘stuff’. If this is you — or your son/daughter — then it’s time to start thinking about renting a van.

To help you get on the road and enjoy a stress-free journey #backtouni, we’ve put together some links to help you get started with van hire:

  • To get started, check out our student van hire guide. This includes details of minimum age restrictions at popular hire companies and other useful tips.
  • One-way van hire: this can be a great solution for students old enough to drive themselves back to uni. We highlight some of the main companies offering this service and explain what you need to know.
  • Got questions about driving licence requirements or age limits? This guide should help.
  • Insurance worries? The excess on rental vans is generally £1,000 or more. So purchasing excess protection insurance can help. Most hire companies sell this by the day, but it’s sometimes cheaper to buy it yourself beforehand — see here for ideas and discount codes.
  • First time? Check out our van size guide and our guide to hiring a van for the first time.
  • Finally… if you haven’t driven a van before, don’t leave home without taking a look at our guide to driving a hire van for the first time.

Once you’re ready to book, our unique van hire price comparison engine enables you to compare prices from many of the UK’s largest and most popular van hire companies.

Please don’t leave it too late — as term starts near popular sizes of van are often booked and some companies may raise their prices…

We hope our tips will get you on the road safely, cheaply and quickly. But if you’ve got any van hire questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on Twitter @vanrentaluk, via our Facebook page or by good old-fashioned email.

Questor Insurance logo

Exclusive discount code: Questor Insurance van hire excess protection [EXPIRED]

Questor Insurance logo

It’s hard to believe it’s September. The kids are heading back to school and students are thinking about heading back to university.

Whatever your reason for hiring a van, you may want to consider purchasing extra cover to reduce the excess liability on your hire van. The standard excess is typically £1,000 or more, so spending a few pounds on extra insurance often makes sense.

Our exclusive discount code for Questor Insurance should help you to save a few £££ on your van hire excess protection insurance. This code is exclusive to, so you won’t find it anywhere else!


Please check our van hire excess insurance page for the latest discount codes.



Terms and conditions may apply — see Questor website for details.

Van parking

How to stay safe when parking and reversing your hire van

Van parking

Van parking (image courtesy of Volkswagen)

If you’re hiring a van for the first time, there’s a good chance that one of your top driving worries will be reversing and parking the boxy beast.

Figures released by the Department for Transport suggest that you are probably right to be concerned. In 2016, there were 1,350 parking and reversing accidents involving vans that resulted in death or injuries to drivers, passengers, cyclists or pedestrians.

In addition to this, there were many more minor reversing shunts where damage was limited to property, not people.

The human cost of these accidents can be terrible. But even if no-one else is involved, costs can be high. Volkswagen estimates that having a van off the road costs companies an average of £550 per day. Average UK car repair bills — after a collision — clock in at a weighty £1,678.

How to reverse your hire van safely

There are a few things you can do to make reversing and parking much safer.

The first is to ensure that your mirrors are correctly adjusted to provide a clear view down each side of the van. Make sure you familiarise yourself with what’s visible and any blind spots.

Don’t be afraid to get out and have a look. I can’t emphasise this enough. Get out and look! Even the most experienced drivers do this sometimes. There’s no substitute for eyeballs.

If at all possible, make sure you have a friend or colleague to help when you’re reversing into an enclosed space.

Of course, if your hire van has a reversing camera, this will help reduce the risk of a collision. Unfortunately most rental vans don’t have this feature, which is usually an extra-cost option on new vans.

Whatever the situation, make sure you are moving dead slow when you reverse and park. That way, if you do hit something the potential damage to life or vehicle will be limited.

What if I damage the van when reversing?

Any damage to the van when reversing could leave you with a hefty repair bill. Our research suggests that the excess on hire vans is typically upwards of £1,000.

Unless you’ve purchased excess protection insurance to reduce this liability, you’ll be liable for all repair costs up to the full excess amount.

Our top tip

The vast majority of van reversing is completed successfully and without any damage. It’s not that difficult to do if you take care and go slow.

Get a reliable friend to help if possible.

If you’re on your own, take as much time as you need. Don’t hesitate to get out and look.

By following these tips, you should be able to enjoy a safe, damage-free van rental.