If you're in the business of delivery services, you need a car you can rely on. It needs to be reliable, practical, and economical to ensure your day runs as smoothly as possible. Here are the top 10 cars for owner drivers and couriers. (All prices exclude on-road costs.)
Volkswagen Caddy - $21,990-$45,490
It's one of the most fuel efficient packages for owner drivers. Based on the previous Golf platform, the Caddy is also one of the most enjoyable drives. It's available with a 1.2-litre turbo-petrol, a 1.6L turbo-diesel, and a 2.0L turbo-diesel, with economy averages ranging from 5.7L/100km to 6.9L/100km. In the back, there is 4.2-cubic-metres of cargo area and a payload of up to 850kg. It is the best-selling vehicle in its segment.
Toyota HiLux Workmate - $18,990-$29,740
The Workmate is one of the most popular work vehicles around. It's basic but ready to work, every day of the week. With an aluminium tray on the back (optional) the cargo area is robust enough to take on any load, from dirt and garden supplies, to boxes or even a full pallet. Interior nicknacks are kept to a minimum to allow you to get on with the job. However, there is Bluetooth connectivity, bottle holders and cup holders, and a USB/MP3 compatible stereo. It's available with either a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder developing 126kW and 343Nm, which offers a fuel consumption average of 8.1L/100km, or a 2.7-litre petrol four-cylinder producing 116kW and 240Nm, with a fuel consumption of 11L/100km. Air-conditioning is not standard.
Renault Kangoo - $19,990-$27,990
Introducing the most fuel-efficient small van on the market. This little French number consumes as low as 4.7L/100km thanks to its 1.5-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder. It's no real slouch either, as the unit produces 81kW and a strong 240Nm. In the important area, the back, the Kangoo Maxi is just like a regular van. It comes with dual sliding side doors, barn-style doors at the rear, and a deep and tall cargo area. The Kangoo design also incorporates a bonnet and extended front end so the drive is as close to a regular hatch as possible. ANCAP has awarded four stars for safety.
Hyundai iLoad - $30,990-$40,990
Hyundai's iLoad has been around now since 2008 in virtually the same form. It is in need of an update, yet, it's still a very competitive proposition for consumers. This is thanks to an excellent flat loading space in the back, that's also quite large for the segment. No matter what variant you go for, the iLoad comes with a good level of standard equipment inside. The turbo-diesel engine offers the highest torque figure out of any van currently on sale (441Nm), making it properly swift sprinting between deliveries. The high amount of torque is also great for hauling heavy loads.
Ford Transit Custom - $37,490-$39,490
Regarded as the best van on the market in terms of equipment, efficiency, practicality and overall packaging. It is one of the better drives out there as well. All of this is thanks to a recent model update and overhaul, distinguished by the new face which is more in line with Ford's global design language. The range spans just two variants; a regular wheelbase and a long wheelbase. Cargo capacity is huge. It presents a class benchmark 1390mm between the rear wheel arches, and a class-leading 2500kg braked towing capacity. Power comes from a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder developing 92kW and 350Nm. It's only available with a manual transmission.
Suzuki APV - $18,990
If it's outright space efficiency that you want, it's hard to step past the little Suzuki APV. This is the smallest new van you can get in Australia at the moment, measuring just 1655mm in width, and 4155mm in length. Despite its petite proportions, it is not the most fuel efficient offering in the segment. The 1.6-litre four-cylinder uses an average of 8.1L/100km on the combined cycle. Unfortunately, it's only available in one trim level and with a five-speed manual transmission. But, as we said, if you're after sheer space efficiency, the APV is perfect for inner-city deliveries. It offers a respectable payload of 785kg.
Holden Commodore Ute - $33,490-$51,190
Being based on a sedan has a range of benefits. The most rewarding is the fact that it feels like a car to drive thanks to an independent rear suspension setup. Inside, it showcases all of the modern conveniences of the regular VF Commodore, such as a MyLink touch-screen interface, big comfy seats, and a vastly improved cabin decor and material compilation compared with its predecessor. All models have a braked towing capacity of 1600kg. Whether or not you go for the V6 or the V8, you're getting one of the most powerful utes on the market - short of going to the HSV and FPV performance offerings.
Ford Falcon Ute - $27,590-$41,190
The Falcon ute is the longest-running Aussie-made ute nameplate around. The heritage begun way back in 1961 with the first-ever Falcon, the XK. Since then Ford Australia has produced ute versions of all Falcons except for the EA-ED series, where the XF was carried through. There are two body styles available these days, including tray and body cargo areas. These are only available in six-cylinder form. With the demise of Ford's performance division, FPV, there is no longer a V8 Falcon ute. (That may change with the introduction of the last ever Falcon and XR8 coming later in 2014.) Instead, Ford offers three 4.0-litre six-cylinder options, including petrol, LPG, and turbocharged. Ford can't quite match the sales of the Commodore ute rival. So far this year Ford has sold 1830 examples, versus Holden's 3569 effort.
Citroen Berlingo - $19,990-$24,990
Just two variants of the Berlingo are available, proving its dedication towards no-fuss carrying mobility. You can get a short or long wheelbase, and a 1.6-litre petrol or turbo-diesel. The diesel uses just 5.7L/100km while the petrol consumes 8.2L/100km. Citroen designed the Berlingo specifically to suits the needs of couriers, with the flat cargo area capable of taking a standard Australian pallet on board straight from a forklift. Barn doors at the back help make it possible.
Mitsubishi Triton GL - $20,990-$22,990
Like the Toyota HiLux Workmate, the two-wheel drive Triton GL is all about the basics. It comes with a 2.4-litre petrol or a 2.5-litre turbo-diesel, both with a manual transmission only. All models come with an industry-leading five-year/130,000km warranty, so you have that peace of mind that if anything does go wrong, you won't need to fork out for additional costs while doing your errands. ANCAP has awarded the Triton four stars, matching the benchmark in this specific single-cab segment. Bluetooth and USB/MP3 support is standard, as is air-conditioning.