Large vans remain the backbone of the delivery and passenger-carrying business. Here’s a look at what’s currently available in Canada.
Commercial vehicles don’t get completely updated nearly as often as consumer vehicles do, but it’s a competitive market for the automakers who play in it, and they frequently tweak their products, or their offers, to fight for market share.
We’ve rounded up all of the full-size cargo and passenger vans available for 2021, as well as the only midsize on the market. All volume and payload capacities are for cargo vans.
The Transit comes as a cargo van, crew van, passenger van, cutaway, and chassis cab. For 2021, cargo vans with dual rear wheels have a new maximum of 11,000-lb GVWR. All vans up to 9,500 GVWR now have an electronic parking brake. A new optional centre console puts the shifter on the right side for more legroom, and the overhead shelf is now optional, for a choice of storage or more clearance. A new Parcel Delivery Package adds wide-opening rear doors, full interior lighting, and seats without armrests for better cargo access.
The Transit comes with a normally aspirated 3.5-litre V6 or turbocharged “EcoBoost” 3.5-liter V6, both teamed with a 10-speed automatic transmission. There are two wheelbase lengths, three roof heights, and rear- or all-wheel drive.
- 3.5-litre V6: 275 hp, 262 lb-ft of torque
- 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6: 310 hp, 400 lb-ft of torque
- Maximum capacity: 6,986 litres (Regular length/low roof) – 13,800 litres (Extended length/high roof)
- Maximum payload: 3,140 lbs – 4,550 lbs
General Motors: Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana
The Express and Savana are twins with different trim. They’re also the only conventional-configured vans still available, rather than tall European-style vehicles (Ford’s E-Series now comes only as a cutaway or stripped chassis). They haven’t been substantially updated in many years, but offer a reasonably-priced alternative to larger vans.
Both brands come in cargo, 12- or 15-passenger, and cutaway configuration. Cargo vans come as 2500 or 3500, both in regular or extended length. Passenger vans are 2500 with a regular wheelbase or 3500 in regular- or extended-wheelbase.
Cargo and passenger vans both come with a choice of four engines: 4.3-litre V6, 6.0-litre V8, that same V8 with CNG/LPG capability, and 2.8-litre four-cylinder Duramax turbodiesel. All use a six-speed automatic transmission. A number of option packages are available, adding such features as a remote starter, cruise control, heavy-duty tow package, and swing-out windows for passengers.
- 4.3-litre V6: 276 hp, 298 lb-ft of torque
- 6.0-litre V8: 341 hp, 373 lb-ft of torque
- 2.8-litre I4 diesel: 181 hp, 369 lb-ft of torque
- Maximum capacity range: 6,787 litres (Regular length) – 8,054 litres (Extended length)
- Maximum payload (Cargo): 1,367 lbs – 1,869 lbs
The Sprinter was the first European-style van offered in Canada and will add an all-electric version in the near future.
It comes as a cargo van with three lengths and two roof heights; as a crew van in two lengths with high-roof; and a 12- or 15-passenger van in two lengths with high-roof. It also comes as a cab chassis. A four-wheel-drive configuration is available for all three vans, except that the 4×4 passenger version comes in only one length.
Passenger vans come in 2500, while cargo and crew vans come in 2500, 3500, 3500XD (higher-payload), and 4500 configuration.
Depending on the configuration, engine choices are a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder with a nine-speed automatic, or a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine with a seven-speed automatic. Standard features include trailer hitch pre-wiring, auxiliary heater, above-windshield shelf, keyless entry, and Crosswind Assist, which uses the electronic stability program to help keep the vehicle straight when hit with gusts of wind on the highway.
- 2.0-litre I4: 188 hp, 258 lb-ft of torque
- 3.0-litre V6 diesel: 188 hp, 325 lb-ft of torque
- Maximum capacity range: 9,034 litres (Regular) – 15,083 litres (Extended)
- Maximum payload: 3,318 lbs – 4,488 lbs
While not in the same segment as others mentioned here, Metris is Canada’s only midsize commercial van, slotting between full-size and compact vans. It’s a popular choice as a smaller, more upscale shuttle, or for jobs where a full-size van won’t fit, such as in underground garages, but with more cargo capacity than a compact van.
It comes as a cargo van, in regular or long-wheelbase; and as a passenger van with regular wheelbase. Its seven-passenger seating can be optioned to eight. Power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine teamed with a seven-speed automatic transmission.
- 2.0-litre I4: 208 hp, 258 lb-ft of torque
- Maximum capacity: 5,179 litres (Regular) – 5,614 litres (Extended)
- Maximum payload: 2,271 lbs – 2,701 lbs
Nissan is getting out of the commercial market. Its full-size NV cargo and passenger vans end production in the summer of 2021 and will remain on sale until the supply runs out.
The NV is body-on-frame, based on the Titan pickup’s chassis. Cargo vans come in 1500, 2500, and 3500 configurations, with standard or high roof, while the passenger van seats 12 and is a 3500 with a standard roof. Depending on the model, engine choices are a 4.0-litre V6 with a five-speed automatic transmission or a 5.6-litre V8 with a seven-speed automatic.
- 4.0-litre V6: 261 hp, 281 lb-ft of torque
- 5.6-litre V8: 375 hp, 387 lb-ft of torque
- Maximum capacity: 6,626 litres (Regular roof) – 9,147 litres (High roof)
- Maximum payload: 2,620 lbs – 3,550 lbs
For 2021, the Ram ProMaster adds standard Crosswind Assist, which helps keep it straight in wind gusts. New available features include blind-spot monitoring, emergency front braking, and a segment-first digital rearview mirror.
The only front-wheel-drive van in the full-size segment, which gives it lower step-in, the ProMaster comes as the 1500 cargo van; 2500 or 3500 cargo or window van; and 3500 chassis cab or cutaway. Availability includes low or high roof and three wheelbase lengths, the longest also offered with an extended body.
All are powered by a 3.6-litre V6 engine teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission. Standard or available features include window rear doors, passenger swivel seat, side-wall panelling, media hub, and tire pressure monitoring display.
- 3.6-litre V6: 280 hp, 260 lb-ft of torque
- Maximum capacity: 7,334 litres (Short wheelbase/low roof) – 13,112 litres (Extended wheelbase/high roof)
- Maximum payload: 4,000 lbs – 4,680 lbs