holden-combo-vanTimes are tough for small business here in Australia and so there’s no margin for error when it comes to spending our hard-earned money. We have to be sure to get as much bang as we can for every buck we spend so if your small business needs a delivery van the making the right choice of van for your particular situation is critical.

Not only do you need a van that will carry the load you need to shift every day but you also need one that isn’t going to cost you more than you can afford … is cheap to run and cheap to maintain.

So today we’re going to compare the three cheapest small vans that are currently available here in Australia … the Holden Combo, the Volkswagen Caddy and the Renault Kangoo.

Holden Combo

The Holden Combo is 4,322mm long and 1,892mm wide. It has a cargo area of 2,390 litres with a maximum floor to ceiling height of 913mm and a tray length of 1.78m. The cargo area also includes a rubber cargo mat. The Combo and will carry a maximum payload of 735kg.

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Access to the cargo area is via a sliding kerb side door that opens to 62cm and twin vertical rear doors that will open out to 180 degrees. There are six anchorage points in the cargo area

The Combo is powered by a 1.4-litre petrol engine that will run on E10, 91octane ULP or 95 octane PULP. The engine delivers 66kW of power at 5,600rpm and 125Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. The engine is coupled to a five-speed manual gearbox and that combination has a fuel consumption of 6.34L/100km on a combined cycle.

A complimentary inspection is due at 3,000km or three months and the first service is due at 15,000km or 12 months.

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Standard features in the cabin include driver and passenger front and side airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners with force limiters, air conditioning, single disc audio system and clothe trim on the seats.

The Holden Combo also comes with an anti-lock braking system and electronic brakeforce distribution. It has a towing capacity of 1,000kg braked and 500kg unbraked.

Holden doesn’t display the recommended retail price on their website but from a quick look at dealer prices it seems that you can expect to pay somewhere between $21,000 and $22,000 for a Holden Combo.

The warranty period is three years or 100,000km … whichever comes first.

Volkswagen Caddy Van

vw-caddyThe Volkswagen Caddy is 4,406mm long and 1,794mm wide. It has a cargo area of 3.2 cubic metres with a maximum floor to ceiling height of 1,244mm and a tray length of 1.78m. A rubber mat for the cargo area is an optional extra. The maximum payload is 780kg for the manual.

Access to the cargo area is via a sliding kerb side door that opens to around 70cm and your choice of a rear tailgate or vertical doors. There are six anchorage points in the cargo area.

You get the choice of a petrol or diesel four-cylinder engine in the Volkswagen Caddy. The petrol version has a direct injection 1.2-litre engine that produces 63kW of power at 4,800rpm and 160Nm of torque at 1,500 rpm. That engine is coupled to a five-speed box and you can expect to get around 6.9L/100km on a combined cycle.

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The diesel version has a common rail direct injection 1.6-litre engine that produces 75kW of power at 4,400rpm and 250Nm of torque at 1,500rpm. That’s coupled to a fie-speed box and you can expect to see fuel consumption figures of around 5.7L/100km on a combined cycle.

Volkswagen don’t say a lot about service intervals so you’ll need to check with a dealer for that information.

Standard features in the cab include air conditioning, driver and passenger airbags, seat belt pre-tensioners, height adjustable front seats with under-seat storage, over-head storage and clothe trim on the seats.

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The Volkswagen Caddy also comes with Electronic Stability Program, ABS, MSR, EDI and Hill Holder.

The warranty period is three years and unlimited kilometers (12 years for corrosion) plus you get road side assistance for the warranty period

The recommended retail price for the Volkswagen Caddy is $21,990 for the petrol version and $26,650 for the diesel and of course you have to add dealer and government charges to those figures to get the on-road cost.

Renault Kangoo

renault-kangoo-vanThe Renault Kangoo is 4,213mm long and 1,829 wide. It has a cargo area of 3.0 cubic metres with a maximum floor to ceiling height of 1,251mm and a tray length of 1,476mm with a sill height ranging from 588mm to 609mm.

Access to the cargo area is via kerb side sliding door and rear doors that open out to 180 degrees and the cargo area comes with a liner as standard along with floor and side anchorage points. The maximum payload for the petrol model is 650kg and 800kg for the diesel model.

You get a choice of petrol or diesel engines in the Renault Kangoo. The 1.6-litre petrol engine produces 78kW of power at 5,750rpm and 148Nm of torque at 3,750rpm. A four-speed automatic transmission is standard with the petrol engine and with that combination you can expect to get around 8.3L/100km on a combined cycle.

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The 1.5-litre diesel engine produces 63kW of power at 3,750rpm and 200Nm of torque at 1,900rpm. A five speed manual transmission is standard with the diesel engine and with that combination you can expect to get around 5.2L/100lm on a combined cycle.

Renault claim that the diesel Kangoo provides the best fuel consumption and emission figures in the class.

Renault don’t say a lot about service intervals so you’ll need to check with a dealer for that information.

Standard features in the cab include height adjustable steering wheel, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, a single CD audio system, overhead parcel shelf and electric folding door mirrors.

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Safety features include ABS with EBD, front driver airbag, side impact bars in the doors and load-limiters and pre-tensioners for the seat belts.

The warranty period is 3 years or 150,000km and you get 24 hour road side assistance as well.

Unusually the recommended retail price for both the petrol and diesel version of the Renault Kangoo is the same at $24,490. Government and dealer deliver charges have to be added to that.

So which would you buy? The diesel Kangoo certainly looks good value for money if your looking at running costs and it’s certainly carries the biggest payload but in many cases it’s going to come down to something far more personal than price or payload.

If you’re going to spend a lot of time in the driver’s seat the choice of small van for your small business is going to come down to which seat you feel the most comfortable in and which offers your aching back the most support.