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What Is A 3.5-Tonne Van? Exploring Sizes, Types, Capacity & Use

What is A 3.5-Tonne Van

If you found yourself in need of large vans, then you definitely stumbled upon many different definitions of various vehicles. One of them is a 3.5-tonne van. But what is a 3.5-tonne van exactly? This article will provide you with an answer to that. You’ll also learn the difference between gross vehicle weight and kerb weight, and what kind of driving licence you’ll need. And such useful information is precious when you want to hire these types of vehicles.

What Is A 3.5-Tonne Van?

A 3.5-tonne van is a vehicle whose gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is 3500kg. It’s important to make a distinction between the GVWR, gross vehicle weight (GVW) and kerb weight (or curb weight). GVWR is the maximum allowable total weight of the van when it’s loaded at maximum capacity. GVW is the total weight of the van. The kerb weight is the weight of the vehicle with no passengers or baggage, just its bare bones.

If you’ve wondered about a car licence and whether you’re qualified to drive this van, the good news is that anyone with a standard category B licence can get behind the steering wheel of this vehicle.

Vehicles like 3-5 tonne vans offer a noteworthy load volume capacity and combined with a tail lift, they make up an integral part of various industries. The construction industry, cleaning and aerial workers can also benefit significantly when vans join forces with cherry pickers. This equipment can be mounted on a van, transforming it into a mobile and efficient workspace.

Types Of Vans Under 3.5 Tonnes

A White Panel Van On The Road During Sunset

One of the easiest ways to classify different types of vans is by their size. You can enjoy the features of the following:

We can also categorise them by their purpose and body shape. Here you truly have a wide range of options, some of the most famous ones being: panel vans, passenger vans, dropside vans, tipper vans, box vans and Luton vans. The panel van is especially a good choice for carpenters, plumbers, and electricians because it has enough space for them to carry their tools and equipment while having a simple design. Tippers are good for aggregate materials and dropsides for oddly shaped objects.

When it comes to distinct brands, there are many standout 3.5-tonne vans, such as: 

  • Vauxhall Movano
  • Renault Master
  • Fiat Ducato
  • Peugeot Boxer
  • Ford Transit

Since we are talking about the different types of vans, we simply can’t overlook the iconic 3.5-tonne Luton van. You will recognise it by its overhanging storage space that separates it from a usual box van. Moving companies rely heavily on these vehicles for their incredible carrying capacity and durability. Because of this, they can easily transport large belongings and awkward items.

See here to learn about the exact capacity of a 3.5-ton van.

Dimensions And Payload Of 3.5t Vans

Dimensions and overall payload are something you should keep in mind if you want to drive vehicles in this category. To give you a lowdown of the average dimensions, we’ll mainly focus on the popular Luton vans.

This vehicle is no small van by any means. The exterior size of a Luton van comes in at roughly 6700 mm in length, 2250mm in width, and 3300 mm in height. Inside the van, you’ll find the following measurements: 4000mm in length, 2200mm in width, and 2200mm in height.

Before you consider going on multiple trips and using Luton vans as a means of transportation, you should be aware of the load space and just how much weight they can carry. The payload for a 3.5-tonne Luton van is about 1000 kg to 1200kg.

Now that we’re discussing precise dimensions and definitions, it’s worth mentioning one more thing. You may have come across the term ‘7.5-tonne van’, which, as the name suggests, has a GVWR of 7500 kg. Most often, those vehicles are classed as trucks but just called vans by some, even though there are some very rare vans that have a GVWR or 7.5 tonnes.

See here for an insight into the dimensions of small vans.

Which Type Of A 3.5-Tonne Van Should You Hire?

Luton van is definitely the type of 3.5-tonne van you should hire if you want maximum cargo space. Its impressive payload capacity and easy loading make it a great choice for many different purposes, whether it may be house moving, equipment transport or commercial services.

Moreover, because of its popularity, you can find a Luton van for hire quite easily in any part of the UK.

Panel vans are Luton’s most fierce competition and are more than worth considering. You will notice that these vehicles are quite simple in design, as they lack tail lift and heavy underside chassis. But don’t let the minimalistic approach fool you, the panel van boasts identical gross vehicle weight as its Luton van counterpart while having a more car-like design, which many people favour.

When it comes to panel vans, there aren’t better options for hire on the market than Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans and Ford Transit vans.

Of course, if you’re in need of a van tailored to specific needs, like a refrigerated van for example, you should focus your search on vehicles that offer high-tech features.

Don’t forget, if you’re on the hunt for a 3.5-tonne van hire for your travel or business adventures across the UK, you should consider whether you need a tail lift, a hydraulic mechanism for tipping and such, and choose a van with the equipment you need.

Frequently Asked Questions

A 3.5-tonne van means that a vehicle has a maximum gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 3.5 metric tonnes. This weight doesn’t only refer to the overall weight of an empty van, but it also includes the maximum payload. To drive this type of van, you need a B-category driving licence.

All vans are under 3.5 tonnes. Although a 3.5-tonne van has a GVWR of 3500, everything that exceeds this number is defined as a truck. Vans of all sizes are widely used for different commercial and personal purposes. One of the key factors that made them so popular is their overall versatility.

The biggest 3.5-tonne van is the Renault Master. This large van has the longest wheelbase spanning 4,383 mm. What’s also impressive about this extremely large van is its load volume. It can carry close to 1,990 kg, which is really something extraordinary. That’s more weight than the average Luton van, box van and panel van payload.

On average, a 3.5-tonne van can carry 1000 kg to 1200kg. Luton van and panel van are some of the best choices if you have a lot of heavy items to transport. They might look different aesthetically but are equally useful. Because they boast impressive carrying capacity, these 3.5-tonne vehicles are sure to handle your cargo with ease.


We hope this comprehensive guide has answered all of your questions and that the definition of what is a 3.5-tonne van is now clear to you. No matter if you want to try out a simple panel van, or enjoy the benefits of iconic Luton vans, grasping all the key information about 3.5-tonne vehicles will help you make smart decisions for your next van hire and get all of your needs met.

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