Questor Insurance logo

EXCLUSIVE: Questor Insurance 10% discount code (EXPIRED)

Questor Insurance logo

We have an exclusive new 10% discount code for Questor Insurance.

This offer is valid for one week only but you can book now for dates later in the year. So don’t miss out on this fantastic saving.

The code will provide you with a 10% discount on Questor’s van hire excess insurance. Our research suggests that Questor is already the cheapest, so this looks like a real bargain to me.

10% discount code:

*** THIS OFFER HAS NOW EXPIRED ***

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

Ford Transit hire van

Why van hire price comparison could save you money

Ford Transit hire van

If you want to save money on van hire, then you need to know that van hire prices change a lot.

Many of the companies listed on vanrental.co.uk change their rates on a daily basis! There’s often a surprising difference between companies as well. Factors such as the time of year and the level of demand from big corporate customers can have a big effect on prices.

To find the cheapest prices, you’ll need to compare prices across a range of suppliers. And you’d probably prefer to do this on a single website. That’s what we aim to do.

vanrental.co.uk logo

How we compare prices

To help you find the cheapest rates, we get live prices from as many companies as possible every time you search.

Our price comparison system has been developed by our developers in house. We’re not owned by any van hire company and are 100% independent.

We don’t add anything on to the prices you see, which should be the same as you’d get on the hire companies’ own websites.

All of our results are listed strictly in price order. No one can ‘buy’ the top spot

Van hire price comparison results on vanrental.co.uk

How you make a booking

We are strictly a comparison website. We don’t rent vans ourselves and we’re not a broker.

After you choose a van to hire, you’re transferred to the website of your chosen hire company. You’ll see a page like this when you leave our site:

vanrental.co.uk exit page

Your booking will be made directly with the hire company you choose. We don’t collect your personal details and we don’t handle any bookings or payments.

What if there’s a problem?

One advantage of booking direct is that if you have any questions or problems, you can contact the rental company as a direct customer. You don’t have to deal with a middleman who might try to fob you off.

Although there are lots of other websites which compare car hire, there are hardly any in the UK which offer genuine van hire comparison except us!

Thank you

We have been in business for nearly 11 years, thanks to the support of people like you. We believe our service is still the best and the most transparent you will find.

If you have any comments, questions or concerns about vanrental.co.uk, we’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch and we’ll do our best to help:

Finally – if you run a van hire company and you’d like to appear in our results (even if live pricing isn’t possible) then check out our advertising options here or get in touch.

Moving house with a van

Students! Do you need a van to head home for Easter?

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 the end of another term. You’ve got revision to do. What you don’t need is to have to empty your room and shift all your stuff back to your parents’ house half way across the UK. And then bring it back again a few weeks later.

Unfortunately we can’t help you keep your uni room over the Easter holidays. But we can help you to cut costs and ease the pain of shifting your stuff around.

1. Consider self storage

Do you really need to take everything home for just a few weeks? If your university is in a major town or city, you’ll almost certainly have self-storage facilities available nearby.

Why not hire a storage unit and then get the train home? If it’s too big, you could share the cost with a friend.

How to get everything to the storage unit: If you have a friend with a car, even a small one, then you can probably manage by making several trips. If you don’t, then the cheapest option might be a ‘man and van’ service which charges by the hour.

The other option is to hire a van and drive yourself (or get an older friend to do the driving). Hourly van hire is available from companies in most cities, including Europcar, Hertz, Enterprise and Zipvan (note that Europcar’s service is a standard rental, the others require you to join a car-sharing club).

2. You need to take everything home

If you need to take everything home, then the usual routine is for your parents’ car to be pressed into service as an improvised van. But this isn’t always ideal. It might not be big enough and could end up getting scratched and dirty inside thanks to all of your boxes and bits.

far better solution is to hire a van. This can be surprisingly cheap, as even a small van is bigger inside than most cars. The biggest problems are age restrictions and the need for a one-way hire.

Under 25? We’ve got a list of van hire companies which rent vans to under 25s:

I’m afraid you probably won’t find a company who’ll hire to drivers under 21. So if you’re lucky enough to be this young, team up with a friend or get one of your parents to rent the van…

One-way van hire: Nominating a parent to drive can also solve the one-way problem, as your parents can hire a van at home, pick you up, and then drive it back!

Joking aside, this is sometimes be the best and cheapest option. Your stuff will probably fit easily into a small van (unless you have a lot of furniture) and one-way fees can be quite high. A single-day return hire will be much cheaper than a one-way van rental.

Finally… our top tip to save money on insurance

Van hire companies will often offer you extra insurance to reduce the excess on your rental vehicle to £0. This can be quite expensive. It’s normally much cheaper to buy your own van hire excess insurance from a third party.

Here’s our quick guide to help you compare van hire excess insurance. Prices start from just £6.33 per day*. It’s very affordable and often normally provides extra cover compared to hire company insurance.

*Price believed to be correct at time of writing (12/03/2018). Check before you buy.

Filling up a van - petrol or diesel?

Are hire vans petrol or diesel?

Filling up a van - petrol or diesel?

Should you be putting petrol or diesel in your hire van?

Diesel has got a lot of bad press over the last year. If you’ve been following the latest new car sales data, you’ll know that 220,000 fewer diesel cars were sold in 2017 than in 2016.

In fact, falling sales of diesel cars accounted for the entire reduction in new car sales last year.

So if you’re driving a new car — or even hiring one — it’s increasingly likely to be a petrol model.

Are hire vans petrol or diesel?

Although van manufacturers are now starting to offer more petrol models, the vast majority* of van hire fleets are still 100% diesel.

We may see van rental companies starting to offer more petrol models over the next few years, especially in the smaller models such as small and medium vans. However, petrol vans are still rare. For now, almost all rental vans use diesel.

Most rental vehicles have the fuel filler cap labelled with the correct type of fuel, so there should be no reason to get it wrong. But if you are unsure, make sure you ask when you pick up the van, and double-check each time you fill it up.

What if I fill up my van with the wrong fuel?

If you put the wrong fuel into any car or van, the golden rule is to stop instantly. Stop filling and stop driving if it’s safe to do so.

Don’t even put the key in the ignition if you can avoid it. Many modern vehicles prime their fuel pumps with fuel when you put the key in, before you start the engine. Driving a diesel van with petrol in the tank can cause a lot of damage, especially to the (expensive) fuel pump.

In a hire vehicle, you should phone the number provided for breakdown assistance. The breakdown provider will probably send someone out to pump the tank for you. Both the AA and RAC have special misfuelling patrol vans fitted with tanks and pumps to do this safely.

Unfortunately you should expect to pay for this service, as it’s your fault — it’s not a mechanical failure that might be covered by breakdown protection.

*There are a few exceptions, especially in London. Tighter emissions rules and problems with diesel particulate filters on vans used for short journeys are making diesel increasingly unattractive. Car-sharing firm Zipcar recently added 10 Volkswagen Transporter vans with petrol engines to its London fleet, but this is a drop in the ocean and is very much an exception to the rule.

New van registrations February 2018

New van market bounces back in February with 6.4% gain

Ford Transit Custom

The Ford Transit Custom is the UK’s most popular new van.

After ending last year on a down note, new van sales came roaring back in February with a surprise 6.4% increase, compared to the same month last year.

According to figures released this week by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), new van registrations rose by 6.4% to 14,135 units in February. Demand grew most strongly in the 2.0-2.5t van category, which clocked up a 20% increase. This might indicate a major fleet order was completed during the month.

New van registrations February 2018

New van registrations February 2018 (Source: SMMT)

According to Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s chief executive, uncertain market conditions mean that further volatility is likely:

 “February is typically a quiet month as buyers await the March plate change so the rise in demand is welcome news. However, with so much uncertainty in the UK at the moment and weak business confidence, we can expect further fluctuations in demand for the rest of the year.”

The UK’s top-selling vans

Market conditions may be more uncertain, but van buyers’ favourite models have remained fairly predictable. The Blue Oval has retained its commanding lead at the top of the best seller list, with the Ford Transit Custom and Ford Transit accounting for almost 25% (8,521) of the new vans registered so far in 2018.

Here’s the top 10 best seller list for February and 2018 to date:

Top-selling vans Feb 18 and YTD

The top-selling vans so far this year (source: SMMT)

I suspect that a good number of these vans, especially the Ford, Mercedes and VW models are now in the hands of van rental firms. Good news for drivers who’ll get to work behind the wheel of some of the best and most sophisticated vans ever made.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class X 350 d 4MATIC

V6 Mercedes-Benz X-Class breaks cover at Geneva Motor Show

Mercedes-Benz X-Class X 350 d 4MATIC

The Mercedes-Benz X 350 d 4MATIC boasts V6 power and a range-topping specification.

The ‘ordinary’ four-cylinder Mercedes-Benz X-Class pickup has been on sale in the UK since October. But a car like this is screaming out for a big-engined model with all the trimmings.

Mercedes has now obliged, unveiling a V6-powered 258hp X-Class at this week’s Geneva Motor Show. The X 350 d 4MATIC boasts a 0 – 62mph times of 7.9 seconds and permanent four-wheel drive. Maximum torque is a stump-pulling 550Nm.

There’s no doubt this is will be a capable beast as well as a prestige buy. So what will lucky buyers be getting if they splash out on this range-topping model?

Tech spec

The X 350d 4MATIC is powered by a 3-litre turbocharged V6 diesel engine that promises to deliver 258 horses and 550 Newton metres of torquing between 1,400rpm and 3,200rpm. This pulling power is transferred to the road via the 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive system with a rear-biased 40:60 torque distribution.

As standard, this version of the X-Class will be fitted with the 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic gearbox. Drivers will be able to choose from five driving modes — including ComfortSport and Offroad — as well as three different four-wheel drive modes.

Broadly speaking, the 4MATIC system can be tailored for on-road use with “increased vehicle dynamics” (4MAT), improved off-road traction (4H) and low-range mode for serious off-road work (4L). A 100% differential lock is also available for the rear wheels if required.

Impressive credentials for off-road use include a fording depth of up to 600mm, the ability to deal with 1:1 gradients and an approach angle of 29 degrees. Raised suspension packages are also available to improve the pickup’s off-road abilities.

What’s inside?

Inside you get the full Mercedes-Benz treatment. This may technically be sold as a light commercial vehicle, but there’s no doubting the manufacturer’s luxury car credentials:

Mercedes-Benz X 350d 4MATIC interior

Inside the X 350d 4MATIC it’s 100% Mercedes luxury but with rugged overtones.

Drivers choosing the upmarket POWER trim level will get LED High Performance headlamps, a part-leather dashboard and matching seats in ARTICO man-made leather and DINAMICA microfibre. Naturally these will be electrically adjustable. Music, navigation and communications will be taken care of with the Audio 20 CD infotainment system, which also contains a permanently installed SIM card providing access to services including Live Traffic, Emergency Call and Maintenance Management.

Keyless-Go and THERMOTRONIC two-zone air conditioning are both standard on the POWER model.

Anything missing from the standard spec is probably on the option list. There’s no word on how much this model will cost yet, but as usual with these things, if you have to ask, you might not be able to afford it.

2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

New Sprinter promises to be safest, most connected van

2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

The new 2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter – available to order now for delivery from June.

The new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is now available to order, for delivery from June onwards. Prices for the new Sprinter model will start from £24,350 +VAT.

The new van breaks new ground for Mercedes and also for the van industry, with a string of firsts:

  • First Sprinter available with front wheel drive
  • First van model fitted with 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission (FWD models)
  • “Most advanced connectivity solution ever fitted to a van” — Mercedes PRO will provide 18 connected services customers can choose from at the time of launch
  • Sector-first safety features, including Active Brake Assist with pedestrian protection
  • MBUX – Mercedes-Benz User Experience. Carried over from the firm’s cars, the new Sprinter will get a 7-inch touchscreen as standard with features including DAB radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and steering wheel touch pads.

Range & Powertrain

The new Sprinter will be available in three wheelbases, four vehicle lengths, three roof heights and chassis van models.

There will also be a tourer (minibus) and a tractor head model for motorhome converters. This is basically a cab + front wheels with no chassis or rear wheels, allowing for a purpose built motorhome chassis to be fitted to the rear. It’s a sign that Mercedes is trying to go head-to-head with FIAT, whose Ducato model dominates the growing motorhome market.

Buyers will be able to choose between four-cylinder and V6 diesel engines, in line with the current engine lineup. FWD models will be available with the firm’s nine-speed automatic gearbox, while RWD models will have the option of a seven-speed auto.

Safety, Comfort & Connectivity

The firm has also raised the bar in terms of comfort. Keyless Start, multi-function steering wheel, the Mercedes MBUX infotainment system and improved storage. Personally I like the look of the new cab and drivers choosing the automatic option will get plenty of walk-through space from the driver’s seat – great for motorhomes.

New Sprinter cab interior

Inside the new 2018 Sprinter.

There are big steps forward on safety, too.

One of the flagship safety features of the new van will be Active Brake Assist with pedestrian protection. This can brake the van automatically to avoid rear-end collisions and pedestrian collisions.

Other new features include Attention Assist (drowsiness detection), an Emergency Call system that dials 999 in the event of a crash and Rear Cross Alert, which brakes the van if an obstacle is detected while reversing.

Features aimed at fleet operators include built-in telematics services such as Eco Monitoring (fuel consumption) and Theft Management, which monitors the alarm and pre-defined geofences. Location data and servicing parameters can also be monitored.

Still the best?

It seems very likely to me that the new Sprinter will remain the class of the field in terms of safety, performance and quality. It will be interesting to see how many front-wheel drive models are sold — will operators abandon rear-wheel drive to cut weight and lower the floor?

Fiat Ducato minibus

What minibus can I drive?

Fiat Ducato minibus

Source: Fiat Professional

If you’re planning a big day out with a group of people, hiring a self-drive minibus can be the ideal solution. Instead of several cars, you only have one vehicle to park — and you only need one driver.

We often get questions from people who aren’t sure what kind of minibus they can drive on a standard car licence. So here’s a summary of what’s possible.

Be aware that some self-drive minibus hire companies may have additional restrictions. For example, some have a minibus age of 25. 

What’s a minibus?

A minibus is defined as a vehicle with between nine and 16 passenger seats (plus the driver).

Fewer than nine passengers is a car.

More than 16 passengers is a bus.

Driving licence held since BEFORE 1 January 1997

Your driving licence should have category D1 entitlement with a (101) code. This means you can drive a minibus with up to 16 passengers, but not for hire or reward.

This means you cannot drive in any commercial capacity – e.g. taxi, hotel shuttle bus.

You can still share the costs with your passengers, if it’s a family or social club outing, for example.

If you want to drive a minibus for commercial purposes, you’ll need to take an additional test.

Driving licence held from AFTER 1 January 2017

Your driving licence won’t have category D1. To drive a minibus without restrictions you’ll need to take a D1 test.

However, you can still drive a minibus with certain additional restrictions:

  • You’re over 21 and have had a full driving licence for two years or more.
  • You’re under 70 or else you pass the “Group 2 medical standards“. See your GP if unsure.
  • You are driving on a voluntary basis for social purposes for a non-commercial organisation.
  • The minibus has a maximum weight of 3.5 tonnes or of 4.25 tonnes if adapted for disabled passengers. Be aware — some 16 passenger minibuses are rated at 4.25 tonnes without disabled equipment. Check with your rental company.
  • You’re not towing a trailer

Driving abroad

Your UK licence might not allow you to drive a minibus abroad. Check before you travel.

Ready to hire a minibus? Compare minibus hire prices with our search tool.

 

Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is correct to the best of our knowledge. However, vanrental.co.uk cannot be held responsible for any damages or losses resulting from any errors or omissions or from improper or unlicenced usage of a vehicle.

LVT Transport Luton with 1 curtainside

Can I hire a van like this? A Luton van with one curtainside

LVT Transport Luton with 1 curtainside

LVT Transport of Pontyclun operates an unusual luton with one rigid side and one curtainside.

Most van hire companies offer luton vans with standard rigid boxes.

A handful of rental firms also offer 3.5-tonne curtainsiders, which are basically luton vans with canvas sides that can be pulled back to allow loading and unloading from the side of the vehicle.

Curtainsiders are useful for wide loads and those which need to be loaded by a fork lift, rather than a trolley jack or manually.

But I don’t think any rental firms offer vans offering the best of both worlds — one rigid side and one curtainside.

Pontyclun-based LVT Transport specialises in kitchen and furniture delivery for major retailers. With new customers coming on board in 2018, founder Ceri Leigh has invested in additional vehicles for this year.

One of these is a Sprinter 314 CDI on a long wheelbase that’s been fitted with a luton body with one rigid side and one curtainside.

This unusual configuration allows 3.0-metre wide loading access for forklift trucks, while preserving the traditional luton advantages of rigid sides with load securing restraints. The van will be used by the firm’s uniformed two-man delivery teams, who provide a ‘white glove’ service, positioning, unpacking and assembling furniture for customers before removing all packaging.

Like most Sprinter owners, Mr Leigh waxes lyrical about the quality and reliability of Mercedes-Benz vans:

“We purchased a Sprinter five years ago which now has 320,000 miles on the clock, and is still on its original engine, gearbox and clutch. It has never let us down. That’s nothing out of the ordinary, though – it’s just what we’ve come to expect. So good has that vehicle been that while it’s no longer covering the whole country, we’re keeping it for local deliveries.”

Mr Leigh teamed up with co-owner and fellow Director Amy Van Tiel in 2013, when they rebranded the company as LVT Transport.

In 2016 the two broadened their service offering by forming LVT Warehouse & Distribution – they started out with 3,500 sq ft of storage space but so successful has the new venture been that since then they have more than tripled the total capacity, and plan to have in excess of 30,000 sq ft of warehousing before the end of 2018.

MAN TGE dropside van conversion

Van hire size guide: should I hire a dropside or tipper van?

MAN TGE dropside van conversion

The new MAN TGE dropside van conversion, pictured at the Birmingham NEC at CV Show 2017

Choosing the right type of van to hire isn’t always easy. But if you need a dropside or tipper then your choice should be pretty clear, as these types of vans are designed for quite different jobs to standard panel vans.

In this series, we’re taking a look at the popular sizes of vans offered by the hire companies who supply the results for our price comparison system.

Today I’ll explain what dropside and tipper vans are, and what they’re normally used for. But before I get started, here are links to the other types of van we’ve already covered in this series:

Dropside & Tipper vans

The defining feature of these vans is that they have an open load area that’s enclosed by folding sides which lock into place for transport and can be folded down for easy loading and unloading.

Tipper models look the same but have lifting gear which raises the load bed at the front, meaning that its contents are tipped off the back of the van.

Nissan NV400 tipper

A Nissan NV400 tipper van conversion.

The size of the load area can vary widely on tippers and dropsides, but a typical example might be 3m long by 2m wide. Dropsides are likely to be slightly larger than tippers, typically.

Tippers vs. dropside: You can use a tippers like a dropside. The only disadvantage to this is that the available payload (weight limit) will often be lower than it would be on a dropside, because of the extra weight of the tipper gear.

Load capacity: These vans are often used for transporting building materials, which tend to be pretty heavy. With a typical payload of 1,000-1,200kg, it’s easy to go overweight if you’re loading packs of bricks and bags of cement, for example.

Remember — items in the load area are exposed to the elements and may need securing to ensure they don’t move or fall out while being transported.

Crew cab or single cab: These vans are available with a single cab (driver + 2 passengers) or a crew cab (driver + 5 passengers). Crew cab models sometimes have a smaller load area, so if you hiring a tipper or a dropside, make sure you know what you’re getting.