Much has been written about the pros and cons of buying a UTE versus a van. There is a lot to consider, and we have looked into this topic.
The reason why we are bringing this topic to the forefront again is that there has been a lot of movement in the vehicle market space. And one aspect that now has an impact on the decision making process is – availability.
However, we don’t believe that availability should be a crucial decision-making factor, but it can sway the needle when the race is tight. With that said, we suggest that you consider the following aspects in your decision-making process:
• Safety & Security
• Productivity & Efficiency
But before we dive into the details, we want to mention one aspect that is usually not mentioned in any UTE vs Van comparison posts – and that is emotion.
Bear with us to the end and we will explain why emotions play an important role in your decision-making process and how you can channel them (to a large degree) into rationality.
So, let’s get started…
Safety & Security
Feeling safe and having security is a foundational human desire. Worry simply causes stress and we, at Auto Transform believe that your vehicle should never cause you undue stress. You want your passengers, your gear and your cargo to be safe and secure.
Van Safety & Security
Carrying your team and cargo safely to and from your job site is a concern that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
In vans, passengers often share the load space with the cargo carried directly behind them – and dependent on the fit-out of the van, equipment and cargo are more or less securely stored.
At Auto Transform we pay a lot of attention to storing cargo and equipment safety so that lose screwdrivers or other items don’t turn into sharp or heavy missiles that put rear seat passengers in serious danger during emergency maneuvers or accidents.
Extra steel mesh or composite barriers can be installed to protect passengers, but they don’t come cheap. Additional thought should also be given to rear window protection as the glass can be penetrated easily at high velocity.
When installing a barrier behind the rear passenger seats, you minimise the loading space since you cannot take further advantage of folding the rear seats to use them as extra loading space.
In addition, vans are not fitted with side airbags for rear passengers as a standard.
Some vans are larger than UTEs and are therefore harder to park and they have a larger blind spot that requires drivers to take extra care when parking a van.
When it comes to security, vans are usually considered the better option because gear and cargo can be safely locked up inside the vehicle and there is enough space to store and carry fragile, valuable or dangerous materials.
Passengers and cargo are protected inside the van and not exposed to weather and thieves.
UTE Safety & Security
Depending on the UTE style, safety and security vary greatly.
However, UTEs with a service body have similar security features to vans. With a high-quality fit-out, your load and equipment can be stored and transported as securely as in a van.
Because UTEs often double as personal vehicles for everyday use, they score higher at keeping passengers safe.
Depending on your wallet, they come with top specifications and technical upgrades that often give them a high crash safety rating. Double-side airbags for rear seat passengers are usually standard.
Another big advantage is that passengers and cargo are not sharing the loading space.
Especially if you are regularly carrying a team, you need to think about their comfort. You want them to travel safely and not feel like a piece of cargo.
Many vans don’t carry more than three passengers and rear-seat passengers often, rear seat passengers feel more like cargo rather than passengers.
The seats can be of a lighter quality and not as comfortable. Cup holders and storage pockets are not a standard feature.
Vans generally don’t come with as many technology upgrades as UTES and don’t have as many convenience features.
However, they have more headroom, and dependent on the UTE model, they can also offer more leg room.
If you are travelling at greater speed, you should also consider noise as a comfort feature. The large loading cavity of a van can act like an echo chamber and rattling from equipment and cargo as well as exposed rear wheel arches can reach high noise levels.
The noise level makes longer journeys very uncomfortable, makes it hard to communicate or listen to music.
UTEs offer more comforts to rear seat passengers. The passengers are separated from the load and don’t have to deal with the same high noise levels and they offer greater comfort through bottle holders and storage pockets.
However, the middle passenger can be a bit “squished in” and has to place their feet on the sides or the top of a large transmission tunnel.
As an upside – UTEs come with up-to-date technology and are equipped with better infotainment and connectivity functions.
Some smaller businesses want to use their vehicle privately too. Here are some points for you to consider:
UTE vs Van versatility
Commercial vans don’t double as well as multi-purpose vehicles that have the same flexibility as UTEs.
Depending on the type of UTE you can, for example, use your commercial UTE to go on a camping trip or family holiday.
However, if advertising is important to you – vans offer larger advertising space.
Another aspect to be considered are towing capabilities. Vans often have a front-wheel drive which is less optimal for towing. When towing heavy trailers, you could experience a see-saw effect by reducing the weight over the front axle which can potentially affect its traction, steering, and braking ability.
UTEs, on the other hand, have a greater towing capacity and can tow heavier trailers or machinery.
They are more adaptable to everyday use and with their 4-wheel drive and higher ground clearance are better suited for negotiating rougher terrain and going off-road.
However, depending on the type of UTE, storage space can be quite a bit more limited than in vans.
UTEs with a service body sit in the middle. They have more storage space than canopy versions but not quite as much as a van.
A great advantage of a service body is, that the fitout can be seen as a separate asset that, when built with quality, outlasts the vehicle because it can be transferred from one vehicle to the next.
This means that the cost of the fitout can be amortised over two or more vehicles or against a van which has only got one life cycle.
Productivity & Efficiency
Higher functionality increases efficiency and productivity. That means that you get jobs done quicker and with more ease. In the long run, that allows you to earn more money.
Van Productivity & Efficiency
Well-designed fitouts can serve as a workshop on wheels that keeps you protected from the elements. This is particularly important if you are working on outdoor sites and with more delicate parts and equipment.
The more adaptable and bigger loading space allows you to carry everything you need for a full day of work. That means – no travelling to base between jobs. This can be a huge time-saver especially since you get more mileage out of your van so that you don’t need to fill up between jobs.
Another advantage is that loading requires less high lifting. You don’t need to lift past waist height (if that) and can load bulkier items with more ease. With the wheelbase stretching out and the higher loading space, you have more space to carry more and bulkier items.
Depending on your fitout, tools and cargo can be harder to access because doors allow you a somewhat restricted access to the inside of your van.
UTE Productivity & Efficiency
UTEs are accessible from the outside from three sides. That allows instant access to your cargo and gear. There’s no need to climb inside the vehicle.
High-quality fitouts are easy to organise and you can have all your gear and materials organised in a logical and efficient manner. That reduces the time to search and find items on the job site. Add to that the increased accessibility…
Easy accessibility allows you to work comfortably and more efficiently out of your vehicle. No crawling around inside. And you can even add mobile work benches to your design so that you don’t need to look for a suitable working space at your job site.
All this can supercharge your on-site productivity and efficiency.
It’s true – vans can carry more volume than UTEs but depending on the fittings, you can load higher and bulkier items on UTE trays. However, you also need to lift them higher when loading and unloading.
UTEs are a real and often better alternative to a van. And if you are worried about security, then a service body is the perfect solution.
When it comes to selecting your next vehicle and fitout, we’d like to invite you to our site to take a look at the options you have and fall in love with the perfect solution for you.
After all, 95% of all our buying decisions are made emotionally and we believe that you should feel a pride for your vehicle and your fitout because you are confident that you have chosen the alternative that works best for you.
And as a last word – vans currently have a longer waiting time. You might be surprised about the versatility and suitability of a UTE. The options are almost endless.
We are looking forward to seeing you on site to show you what’s possible for you! – Download Your Copy Here