Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Four Wheel Boxes

Contributed by Michael Rad

Vans have been around since the 1960s and the very first van that was available in the U.S. was a Volkswagen. The word comes from caravan, being the last part of this word. The idea behind the van was that a car was simply not enough, a van being able to transport more people or more goods. So, the van is larger than a car but smaller than a van, and has the shape of a box on four wheels. In some areas, the vans are called LSV, designating light commercial vehicle. Pay attention that a van has diverse meanings in different parts of the globe. In Great Britain a van is a multi purpose vehicle, while in Japan it is a small bus that carries people only. These boxes on four wheels can be of diverse shapes and sizes, ranging from a mini van to a 5 meter long vehicle (this being the maximum length of a van).

As mentioned earlier, the Volkswagen was the very first van in the U.S. Today, the Volkswagen Eurovan camper is a popular van as well. The latest launched model is the generation T5 type 2 Transporter. This has an aerodynamic design and has many improvements compared to the first Transporter. Ford is another well known manufacturer of vans. The Ford Transit Connect was introduced in 2002 and is a panel van, and won the award of van of the year 2004. This model will be available in the U.S. in 2007 as well. However, the most popular van from Ford still remains the older Ford Transit. The Transit connect shares some of the Transit's features, but has some improvements and differences as well.

Fiat is also considered a good van manufacturer. The Eurovan from Fiat was a series launched that comprised many features. The Fiat Ulysses is such a Eurovan, being introduced in 2002. The second generation of Fiat Ulysses has a great design and a V6 sturdy engine and 5 speed manual or 4 speed automatic transmissions. The Fiat Ducato is also a successful model of vans. The third generation of Ducatos was launched in 2006 and is both for transporting good and people, being able to carry up to 4 tons (the Ducato Maxi).

If you are hunting for a van, there are plenty of other manufacturers to choose from. You can get a van from Chevrolet- a Sportsman, a Nomad or a Supercarry, or you could get a Citroen van, a Daihatsu or a Dodge. Other manufacturers of vans are Vauxhall, Honda, Toyota, Suzuki, Renault, Peugeot, Nissan, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi and last but not least Mercedes Benz.

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