If you’re a newbie and want to buy a cargo van, you may balk at the prices of some, especially if they’re in a used-car lot. And it seems pretty hard to strike a deal for a good cargo van that fits your budget.
Cargo vans may not be so cheap as they have:
- Unbeatable cargo protection features
- Have modern safety features
- Driver-assistance technology costs extra.
- Vehicle prices are rising
- Powerful engines
- Customization options
- Better fuel economy
- Can hold impressive value
- Ideal for business branding
- Reputable brands cost more
But let’s be blunt – the prices merely reflect the high demand plus the value for money they offer, as we’ll soon explore in detail. So breathe, dear friend.
I’ll help you figure out why they’re still worth buying, and you’ll discover some of the cheapest and most reliable cargo van options. Let’s get started.
Top 10 Reasons for High Cargo Van Prices
Below is a comprehensive breakdown of why you’re likely to pay more for a cargo van as opposed to something like a standard passenger van:
1. Reputable brands cost more
This is a no-brainer: step into any showroom or used-car lot, and you’ll realize certain cargo van brands go for higher prices.
If you’ve settled your heart on renowned brands like the Ford Transit cargo van or the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, the $35k plus you pay fits the brand, status, and exclusivity you’ll enjoy.
2. They have unbeatable cargo protection features
Cargo van prices also reflect value for the unrivaled shipment protection features they boast.
Unlike pick-up trucks, for instance, cargo vans are designed to safeguard your shipment against extreme weather and physical damage. What’s more, they keep everything neatly private.
Your cargo van will likely come with a protective plastic-like sheeting for the floors and walls. Other cargo protection features include cargo barriers, shelves, racks, buckles, and straps which may even come complete with the van.
These features will save you the headache of having to deal with damages like breakage when ferrying delicate shipments.
Pro Tip: You’ll likely save thousands of bucks in the long run if your cargo van has adequate shipment protection features.
At the same time, have it equipped with only the necessary parts, which you could easily fetch from your local hardware store and install yourself if you’re looking to save money.
3. They offer modern safety features
While safety features like airbags and seat belts are essential, they may not be enough to safeguard you and your cargo, especially with modern high-speed vans.
That’s why auto manufacturers equip the latest cargo vans with innovative safety technology like the following:
- Anti-lock braking
- Anti-collision warning systems
- Shatter-proof glass
- Parking assist
- Stability control systems.
These features arguably cost thousands of dollars, and it’s easy to see how the cost passes down to the consumers.
4. Driver-assistance technology costs extra
Advanced driver assistance tech is another reason for sky-high cargo van prices.
Nevertheless, auto manufacturers like Ford are keen to equip their cargo vans with revolutionary technology like the Ford Co-Pilot 360.
The combination of adaptive cruise control, pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking, a lane-keeping system, and post-collision braking, among other features, gives you a hassle-free driving experience.
With the latest cargo vans boasting features like blindspot information systems, state-of-the-art cameras and sensors, you can expect prices to be on the upper spectrum.
Pro Tip: If you’ve been driving for years and have such things as changing lanes and parallel parking in your veins, this kind of technology can still be helpful but not a must.
5. Auto prices are generally increasing
CBS reports that there’s a global shortage of automobile parts, particularly semiconductor chips that go into vehicle electronics. This has forced auto manufacturers to produce fewer vehicles, especially since the pandemic started.
Since the consumer demand for vehicles is still high, manufacturers do not feel the urge to give any discounts.
Therefore, most vehicles could still cost a fortune, and cargo vans are not left out. The lower supply of vehicles is also pushing up prices in the used van market.
6. Powerful engines mean higher prices
It’s only reasonable that a cargo van with a monster hauling capacity has a powerful engine, which easily translates into higher initial costs.
If you’ll be ferrying heavy loads regularly around town, you need enough power to handle the weight.
Assuming you’re looking for a full-size van with a decent interior storage capacity and a good maximum payload capacity, you can’t go far too wrong with a van like the Nissan NV 2500HD SV cargo van.
A 5.6-liter DOHC V8 engine powers this behemoth, thereby beefing up its efficiency. The MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) for the NV2500 HD SV starts at $35,625.
This of course excludes things like tax, licensing, and upfitting options. Perhaps you’re seeing the value for money here – especially with such an admirable engine.
Pro Tip: In case you’re not transporting a lot of cargo, you could still opt for a cargo van with a smaller engine at a lower price.
7. They have unrivaled customization options
For van life geeks, the fact that you can easily transform a rectangular space on wheels into a fancy mobile home is quite a thrill, and cargo vans are the best go-to option.
Interior customization options for cargo vans include partitions, roof racks, non-stick mats, storage lockers, and shelves. You can also perform a little exterior DIY customization with different windows, roof racks, solar panels, and ladders on the sides.
Interestingly, these aren’t limited to mobile homes; you can still upfit a cargo van for business.
Van manufacturers and auto dealers know cargo vans are in demand because of these unbeatable options, and we’d like to think high prices merely reflect the demand.
8. People will pay more for better fuel economy
Most cargo vans in the market today earn quality stars for better fuel efficiency. Even the least fuel-efficient ones win hands down when compared to standard RVs and box trucks.
With the 2019 Nissan NV200 cargo van, for instance, you have an EPA rating of 25 MPG (miles per gallon), which is combined for both city and highway.
You also get a combined 25 MPG rating with the Chevrolet Express cargo van, something you’d struggle to get with most trucks.
It’s a question of getting value for money, and the impressive fuel economy of most cargo vans earns them the hearts of most drivers who are willing to pay more.
9. Cargo vans can retain impressive value
You may frown that a cargo van is ridiculously worth $10,000+ even with over 100,000 miles. But hey – there’s a lot that goes into the resale price, and perhaps the mileage alone shouldn’t freak you out.
Someone may sell you a modified food truck or a tool truck at such a price because they’re selling a business opportunity. They want to factor in the upfit benefits that maximize the vehicle’s potential.
At the same time, regular maintenance schedules help to retain the value of a cargo van, aside from the inherent features like better fuel economy and diverse utility.
Because of the good value cargo vans retain, they rack up high prices for both new acquisitions and resale.
10. They’re ideal for business branding
Cargo vans are highly versatile and are a favorite transport option for florists, HVAC specialists, plumbing contractors, doggie daycare providers, caterers, and bands, among other professionals.
But it’s not only due to the mobile nature of such businesses. Cargo vans have another edge over other vehicles since you can artfully use the side panels for advertising space.
All you need is a professional designer and a promotional company that prints and fits vehicle wraps, and you’re good to go. The mobility of your business together with a branded cargo van is a powerful combo that’s as good as a moving billboard, easily reaching new market frontiers.
With greater advertising capabilities, cargo van prices soar easily compared to other commercial vehicles.
Pro Tip: Choose a simple, creative design that represents your brand. You could do great with a magnified version of your company logo, or any recognizable design that covers most of the van.
A Cargo Van Is Still Worth Buying: Here’s Why
Irrespective of the business you’re in, you’ll easily fall in love with cargo vans because they have all to offer when it comes to space, maneuverability, reliability, fuel efficiency, comfort, ease of loading, and value retention.
According to Bobit Business Media, a California-based media powerhouse that publishes the widely-read Business Fleet blog, the demand for delivery and cargo vans together with various trucks will remain consistent through the years to come due to their convenience.
Most business owners prefer smaller cargo vans for moving in dense urban areas and sparse suburban spaces. This is partly because they can fit into tight spaces more easily, something you’d only dream of with a 26-foot box truck.
And when it comes to customization options, we can only imagine the kind of trouble you’d go through with something like a passenger van. Removing all those extra windows and seats to allow room for racks and shelves would take a toll on your morale, time, and wallet.
The Cheapest Reliable Cargo Van
Cargo van prices are usually around anything from $25,000 to $45,000. This depends on several factors, including the size and power of the van. And if you settle for a diesel model, expect to pay slightly more than you’d spend for gasoline models.
Here’s a highlight of the 3 most affordable and reliable cargo vans:
- Nissan NV200 Compact Cargo
- Ford Transit Connect cargo van
- Ram ProMaster City cargo van
The Nissan NV200 Compact Cargo can be a good choice if you won’t be hauling too much cargo. It offers you a decent cargo capacity (1480 pounds), outstanding gas mileage, and easy maneuverability all for a reasonable average market price of $26,500.
If you’re a small business owner and want to deliver quickly to your clients around and beyond the neighborhood, you could also stay ahead of the competition with a Ford Transit Connect van.
It offers you unmatched versatility, excellent fuel economy, a spacious cargo area in a small frame, standard driver-assist tech, and plenty of upfitting options. For around $26,000, we’d like to think you’re paying for unbeatable value.
You could also opt for the Ram ProMaster City cargo van, which goes for around $28,000. It offers exemplary cargo space, a user-friendly interior, workhorse performance, and easy driving capabilities together with good gas mileage (24 MPG combined).
While it’s true that you’d part with thousands of dollars when going for a cargo van, it’s not like these things cost ten times more than your house. Irrespective of your trade, a cargo van would still meet your business needs in unique ways, and you only ever get value for your money in the long run.