Although not as popular today as they were a few decades ago, the van (or full-sized van) has remained a part of American automotive due to its high functionality and often well-designed use as a commercial vehicle. For carrying a lot of people comfortably, hauling tools and gear in an efficient and nondescript manner, and versatility as a vehicle for those with special needs, the van cannot be topped.
Most vans on the road today are based on pickup truck chassis and feature a focus on either people-moving and comfort or on utility and cargo capacity. Vans in the former category are generally consumer vehicles while vans in the latter are usually for commercial use.
Popular full-sized vans on the market include the Ford Econoline and Transit, the Nissan NV series, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, the Ram ProMaster, and the Chevrolet Express.
The Ford Econoline series is sold as both a commercial van for workmen and professionals and as a consumer van with interiors ranging from bench seating to plush chairs and even as a small recreational vehicle (RV). These workhorses are some of the longest-lived vans on the market. The Ford Transit is sold largely as a commercial van with various roof-height options, cargo bay configurations, and even as a small shuttle bus.
The Nissan NV series is relatively new to the American market, but has been sold in other markets globally with success. It is sold almost exclusively in the commercial market as a people-hauler, cargo carrier, or customized van. A few are configured for people-moving as large family vehicles.
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is one of the most-recognizable commercial vans on the market. Sold mostly to delivery and workmen, the van can be configured in a number of ways to accommodate the needs of its owner. Some consumer versions are sold as customized RVs made by aftermarket outfitters.
The Ram ProMaster, formerly under the Dodge nameplate, is a full-sized van sold primarily in the commercial market. It is best known for its low cargo loading area due to it being the only front-wheel-drive commercial van in the segment.
The Chevrolet Express is one of the more ubiquitous of the commercial vans due to the extremely versatile number of options available for its configuration. It has a solid reputation as a daily workhorse.