Transportation stands as a central link in the United States’ economic manufacturing and service chain. From factory or warehouse, goods and the parts move along in ships, on trains, and in commercial vehicles. Because of the explosive growth in online product sales – approximately $156 billion during the final quarter of 2019, up 2.6% from the previous quarter – delivery vans and trucks have become increasingly vital navigating goods through the final mile, that is, to the consumer doorstep.

Commercial Vans

When companies look for delivery and home-repair vehicles, certain attributes are desirable. The following are three key things to look for when considering the purchase of new commercial vans or cargo trucks.

Style and Features That Fit Your Overall Needs

The foremost criteria to note center around your needs. You not only have to determine upfront all purposes the truck or van will serve, but also what compromises you might have to make; one size does not fit all, both strictly and figuratively speaking. Do need the van for both delivery and servicing? Will it be used strictly for carrying boxes and goods – where a cargo truck might supersede the need for a van – or will people also (or exclusively) make up the cargo? You should also consider a vehicle that offers the flexibility for potential changes or additions down-the-road, such as the installation of jump seats for trucks or removable benches. Will it serve double duty as a delivery vehicle and service station?

Drivetrain Options That Move Your Cargo

Consider, too, your engine choice. You may be able to get a diesel engine, better for pulling power and fuel economy, or any range of gasoline engines – with four, six, or eight cylinders – for easy maintenance. Seek out vans built with seven-speed (or more) transmissions; the more gears, the greater the fuel economy. Also, note the make of both the engine and transmission and research reliability trends for each. While you are at it, determine the maintenance costs of the vehicle over its lifetime.

Advanced Features That Improve the Driving Experience

Today’s car and truck platforms host advanced safety features, some of which you will need to either check off or cross through on your dealership options list. Vehicle-class add-on safety features that may also be standard on some trims include automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, blind-spot assist, and lane-departure signaling.

Focus on your drivers’ infotainment needs; can they make do with a basic dashboard, or will they and your company benefit from a touchscreen center-console system that provides elaborate functionality? Some useful and bonus features include WiFi, Bluetooth, and phone-pairing connectivity; GPS display; USB ports; and an improved sound system.

If you consider the high costs of owning and operating family cars, imagine those compounded over the lifetime of commercial vehicles. Spend time researching your trucks to avoid a bad choice driving your business into the ground instead of moving it forward.