European Vans Remain the Best Vans

I had never heard of “Vans-a-2-z” until this week, but I’ve since become obsessed with the website. They’re based in England and Wales and they’re all about the incredible world of vans, a world that’s far, far more incredible in Europe than it is here in the U.S., no matter how many #vanlifers we’ve got. Earlier this month, Vansa2z announced their 2017 “Vans of the Year” awards, handing out hardware to a surprisingly varied and specific range of categories, like: “Microvan”; “Small Van” (but not micro, I guess); “Light Van” (don’t call it small, or micro); “Pickup” (not even a van at all); and a whole lot more.

Here are some of the coolest:

EcoVan of the Year: Nissan E-NV2000

As far as I can tell, this isn’t yet available in the US, and, ok, it’s probably not a practical adventuring vehicle since its range is only 70-80 miles, but still, as a surf van, or climbing van, or general outdoors-gear hauling van for local adventuring? Badass.

Diesel EcoVan of the Year (2016): Citroen Berlingo

Hilarious name, sweet little rig. First, it should be noted, you can buy this thing with a manual transmission. Second, with a little 1.6 liter diesel motor it gets over 65 miles per gallon! So can you buy this in the U.S.? Of course not. A practical, diesel, manual transmission van? In the States? Are you nuts? Ed. note: The 2017 Diesel EcoVan of the Year is the Fiat Fiorino, but it looks awful and Fiats are terrible, so I’ve left the 2016 winner here.

4×4 Panel Van of the Year: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Well, what did you expect? This is sort of a dream rig for anybody who has ever been outside, in a cool place, and thought: “I wish I could take my whole house with me to this very spot.” The choice for well-heeled people who quit their jobs to live your Instagram dreams, these you actually can buy in the U.S. For about a million dollars. I think.

Van of the Year: Volkswagen Crafter

How about that name? Makes me feel crafty just looking at it. I love it. I also love that Volkswagen is still cranking out great vans. Of course, don’t count on finding one of their new vans in the U.S., even though, ironically and maddeningly, they make a camp-ready version of their awesome Transporter van called the “California Edition,” but of course you can’t buy one within 8,000 miles of California.

Small Van of the Year: Ford Fiesta Van

I guess I can call my Honda Fit a van now.

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