top medium van for campervan conversion vw transporter

So, you want to build a campervan!

But you don’t want something too big? Where do you even start?

Well, one of the first questions you may ask yourself is;

Whats the best medium van for a campervan conversion?

 

Well, thankfully, we have done all the legwork for you.

Below, you will find a list of the top ten medium-sized vans you can buy new right now that can be then be turned into a functional camper van.

But, before we get to the list, here are a few frequently asked questions when it comes to finding the best medium-sized van for a campervan conversion.

 

Why buy a medium-sized van for a campervan conversion?

It might sound a little obvious, but medium vans are considerably smaller than the humongous ones you see zipping about up and down the roads every day. Think Mercedes Benz Sprinter/VW Crafter LWB, or the Iveco Daily XLWB.

This means these smaller vehicles drive more like a car than a big clunky commercial vehicle.

This makes them far more approachable, they’re a lot easier to drive around busy streets, and a lot easier to park.

Also, with some countries (especially the UK), many of the car-parks have height limiting barriers. By choosing a medium-sized van, you have a better chance of fitting in.

Does a medium-sized van have enough room for my campervan conversion?

Well, this is a tricky one to answer, but the short answer – yes!

Obviously, you can’t go to silly when it comes to designing your campervan interior. Unfortunately, you will have to leave the hot tub out of this build.

Medium-sized vans tend to have an internal load between 6,000 to 10,000 litres, but this obviously depends on the actual wheelbase and the height of the roof.

This then means there should be more than enough space to fit everything you may possibly need, while on your epic campervan adventures.

Take a quick look on Instagram, and you will see many medium-sized panel vans with a kitchen, a bed that will sleep two adults as well as all the storage space to house all your kit.

What are the top 10 medium-sized vans for a campervan conversion?

1Volkswagen Transporter

top medium van for campervan conversion vw transporter

Making its way to the top spot in our list, is the mighty successful, Volkswagen Transporter.

For the last 65 years, this iconic vehicle has been moving people and goods all over the planet. Yes, it has changed a little bit, and it’s now in its sixth generation, but there’s a reason why these vans are as popular today, as they were all those years ago – drivers simply love them.

The Vee’dub has gained a solid reputation for excellent reliability and of course, that formidable Volkswagen build quality. We all remember those tv adverts of the VW door being closed right?

The latest van has a selection of Euro6 compliant engines that offer excellent economy, impressive performance, and superior refinement.

The VW also comes with the option of the DSG automatic transmission. Its ultra-smooth shifting makes it the ideal companion to vans superior driving position, excellent entertainment systems and super comfortable seats for those extra-long adventures.

Ok, so it might be a little expensive if we compare to some of the other vans in this list. Still, due to the way that these vans are built, they keep their value really well, so it is highly unlikely owners will lose money when it comes time to sell up.

Summary

The VW Transporter is an outstanding choice when it comes to selecting your van to a campervan conversion.

With car-like driving and outstanding build quality, you can’t go wrong with the faithful VeeDub.

Buy one, you won’t be disappointed!

This is our winning campervan choice!

2Ford Transit Custom

top medium van for campervan conversion Ford Transit Custom

Just missing the top spot, is the mighty Ford Transit Custom – otherwise known as the backbone of Britain.

This van has been the go-to vehicle for the majority of tradespeople & big logistic companies for near on the last 50 years.

The Transit has become synonymous as being a dependable workhorse vehicle. They’re also known to be pretty reliable. And despite all the fancy onboard extras, the sporty exterior styling, and the exceptional range of engines, the Ford Transit is surprisingly affordable.

And all new models meet the stringent Euro6 emissions standard, making the Tranny’ cheaper to own in the long run.

But above all else, the Transit has been around long enough that it has firmly matured into a van that provides everything customers wants.

Big glove box? Large door bins? On-board plug sockets? Car-like driving? Check!

Summary

Its stylish, reliable and quick – the Ford Transit Custom offers the practicality of a medium-sized van with the performance of a 2.2 litre TDCi diesel engine.

This is our speedy campervan choice!

3Vauxhall Vivaro

top medium van for campervan conversion Vauxhall Vivaro

Sitting on a brand new chassis, the latest Vivaro has been notably improved over its predecessor.

The new Vivaro comes with four different trim levels. These range from the basic ‘Edition’, all the way to the more premium ‘Elite’.

The van also comes with some ingenious safety features. Like lane keep assist, automatic emergency braking, and side blind-spot alert.

There is also the optional IntelliGrip system, which gives the van extra traction when the surface becomes a little challenging. This could come in handy on your next overland adventure.

The van also comes with a choice of 6 energy-efficient diesel engines.

And finally, with its high driving position and responsive handling, the Vivaro is an all-round fun van to drive.

Summary

With an endless selection of body configurations, as well as being built in Britain, the Vauxhall Vivaro is a solid choice for a campervan conversion.

This is our practical campervan choice!

4Toyota Proace

top medium van for campervan conversion Toyota Proace

Some of you may off noticed that the Toyota Proace shares much of its exterior and interior with the Citroen Dispatch/Peugeot Expert.

But we decided to choose the Toyota over the other two simply because of Toyota’s excellent reputation for reliability.

The Proace van comes in a choice of three different lengths and has a choice of two advanced diesel engines.

This then combines cost-saving fuel efficiency with excellent driveability.

The van also comes with some brilliant safety features as standard. From daytime running lights and vehicle stability control, you know the Toyota Proace is a confident choice.

Summary

With the reputation of Japanese reliability, for us, the Toyota Proace is the type of van that gives you that confidence to take on the more remote adventures without the underlying worry of mechanical issues.

This is our reliable campervan choice!

5Nissan nv300

top medium van for campervan conversion Nissan NV300

The Nissan NV300 is a brilliant van with massive campervan potential.

The van comes in two lengths, and two different heights, meaning its more than practical for both city streets and motorways.

It is also equipped with many of the latest vehicle safety features. These include dynamic vehicle control, abs with electronic brakeforce distribution, and extended grip that optimises traction in severe driving conditions.

The NV300 comes in two different lengths and two different heights, meaning you should have plenty of room at your disposal when designing your campervan interior layout.

Summary

Being great to drive, well-equipped, and cost-effective, the Nissan NV300 really makes a great base vehicle for a campervan conversion.

This is our all-rounder campervan choice!

6Mercedes Vito

The Mercedes Vito might not be as popular as it a bigger sibling, the Sprinter. Still, the latest Vito model is a serious contender for a medium-sized van for a campervan conversion.

And as you can expect with Mercedes, the van comes with that added touch of luxury that you would typically find in their passenger cars.

Such as heated front seats, an advanced touchscreen entertainment system, and intelligent LED lighting are all available across the Vito range.

To power the Vito van, Mercedes offers a choice of two reliable diesel engines.

The smaller 1.6-litre four-cylinder actually comes from Renault and is only available on the front-wheel-drive model.

A more substantial 2.1-litre diesel engine powers the rear-wheel-drive model.

Summary

Yes, the van maybe a little more expensive than the other vehicles featured in this list.

But, if you can afford the extra costs, the Mercedes Vito is an excellent choice for a campervan conversion for somebody who wants a more refined driving experience.

This is our luxury campervan choice

7Renault Trafic

This Renault shares its build with the Nissan NV300, Vauxhall Vivaro and Fiat Talento. Still, the vehicle delivers plenty of unique features that make it a worthy contender in our list.

The Trafic comes with an excellent choice of roof height, as well as some eye-catching sporty models. It also comes in a choice of striking exterior paint hues that ensure the Trafic looks pretty slick on the road.

Sadly, there is only the choice of one diesel engine, although it is available in four different power output variants.

Summary

With impressively comfortable and car-like driving experience, good real-world fuel economy, and an excellent choice of body styles, the Renault Trafic is a solid choice for a campervan conversion.

This is our economical campervan choice

8Fiat Talento

Effectively a rebadged Renault Trafic, the Fiat Talento offers some impressive interior specs, slick exterior looks and a reliable Euro6 ECOjet diesel engine with the option of three power configurations. It is a comfortable and capable medium-sized panel van with affordable fuel costs and car-like handling.

The Talento might not be as accommodating as the Renault (and rivals) in terms of load-carrying capacity. However, the van comes with a choice of two wheelbase lengths, as well as the standard or high-roof configuration.

The van is also equipped with the latest safety features. Like LED daytime running lights, ABS with EBD, and Emergency Brake Assistance.

And for people who like to really get off the beaten track, the Fiat has the option of ESC with a Traction+ function. This is designed to improve traction on slippery surfaces.

Summary

Based on impressive Renault Trafic, the Talento is easy to drive and comes with a choice of reliable diesel engines. This makes it an excellent choice for a medium-sized van campervan conversion.

This is our difficult-terrain campervan choice!

9Peugeot Expert

The latest Peugeot Expert is a remarkable improvement over its predecessor.

The van features a super stylish exterior that boasts some of the latest interior technology, economical engines and some excellent practical touches.

It might be one of the smallest vans on our list, but what it lacks in internal space it makes it up in a large payload limit.

The van comes with a choice of two diesel engines; either a 1.6 or a 2.0 litre.

All the engines have excellent fuel economies and the handy option of automatic or manual transmissions.

Summary

The Expert really is an ‘expert’ choice when choosing a base vehicle for your next campervan project.

This is our stylish campervan choice!

10Citroen Dispatch

Built alongside the Peugeot Expert, the Citroen Dispatch matches its French counterpart on every level. The van features excellent levels of comfort and car-like handling.

Under the bonnet, the Dispatch comes with the choice of either the super economical 1.6 or the beefy 2.0-litre diesel engine.

The Dispatch provides outstanding fuel economy figures, useful hi-tech features, to give the driver a smooth and refined drive.

And like the Peugeot, the interior may be small. Still, with a bit of intelligent planning, the Dispatch should be able to accommodate everything you require in your next campervan project.

Summary

Just like the Expert, the Dispatch is a super dependable van for a campervan conversion. It is also relatively cheap, and parts are readily available.

This is our budget campervan choice!

 

Do you agree with this list?

Do you agree with the order of this list? Do you think the VW Transporter deservers the number one top spot?

Let us know in the comments below…

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Head Writer @ VanLife Adventure - Cardiff, Wales, UK - Arron Murray bought his first van in 2015. After converting it into a tiny home, he went on a 7,000-mile road trip through 12 European countries. In 2018, he gave up the van for bicycle and tent, where he cycled 4,000 miles across the United States of America. Right now, he is currently fitting out a Mitsubishi Delica 4x4 van - where once complete, intends on driving it to Vladivostok (next to North Korea) and then back home.
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