James Ruppert: ‘vans with windows’ combine practicality and price

There is a colossal amount of snobbery when it comes to certain models, as you probably know. Apparently, you are an idiot if you choose an SUV or if you want one of those van-derived things from France. SUVs might be objectively daft, but subjectively they are slightly practical, if average to drive. But even more useful than an SUV is one of those car-cum-vans with windows, into which you can fit a fridge, should you ever need to.

That’s where I’m coming from today. A fridge isn’t that heavy but it is a tad bulky and easy to dent. What you need, then, is a long, flat, carpeted load bay. As I faffed about with my vehicles and a tape measure, an old dear turned up in a Citroën Berlingo with a giant ice box she had loaded into the back. They’re just brilliant and don’t cost a lot to run: that’s old people, although the same applies to Berlingos.

With £7995 to spend, you can get yourself a 2016 three-previous-owner Berlingo 1.6 BlueHDi Feel Multispace. It will have less than 25,000 miles on the clock and will deliver a strong 60mpg all day long. There are also some ultra-low-mileage 2019 ones at main dealers. These are worth a look because they are all petrols – for example, a 1.2 Pure Tech Flair with 500 miles for £16,995. Just over 40mpg, but you won’t be restricted in terms of where you can go. Spiritually, though, £1000 buys a tidy early-2000s 1.9d Forte model with four previous owners. That really caught my eye.

Obviously, other car-derived vans are available, but I did find myself looking at the Ford B-Max. This is actually more of a handily sized MPV than a scaled-down Transit Connect, but you can pick up a 2017 1.0-litre Ecoboost Zetec Navigator with less than 40,000 miles for just £8795.

Rather than get distracted by a 2019 BMW 218i Active Tourer M Sport automatic at £19,700, which is far too much to spend on a Bavarian van, what else is there? An imported 81,000-mile 2007 Mitsubishi Chariot 2.4 GDi automatic for £2000 could be interesting, and with Mitsubishi checking out of the UK soon-ish, it couldn’t be more exclusive.

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