DRIVING a van is great.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of being seated up on a perch and watching other drivers move out of your way, then give it a go.
You also find you become part of the van brotherhood where your fellow “vanners” nod in approval as you go about your daily business.
It’s all rather lovely.
There’s also the bonus of being able to lug just about anything about with the huge load bay sat behind you.
Sofa? No problem. Table and chairs? Come right in.
And the beauty of the modern van is that inside the cab, it’s not even that sparse in the higher spec trims.
Manufacturers like Ford and Vauxhall are plugging in extra tech and gadgets as more and more drivers use vans for a mix of business and pleasure.
The Vauxhall Vivaro Sportive on our test is one of this new breed that rivals the Ford Transit Custom Sport.
Inside there’s a decent-sized touchscreen, a really handy mobile phone grip (a £35 option) and spots for your coffee cup.
You get rear parking sensors (although no camera), Bluetooth and cruise control. Boxes ticked.
The van on test is the H1 L2 – which means it’s the standard height but the long wheelbase version.
That translates to a near 3-metre load floor with a payload max of 1,250kg. For non-mathematicians that equals big enough.
Under the bonnet is a 1.6-litre diesel that’ll return 45mpg and it’s got enough grunt to comfortably pull away in second gear in traffic.
And while you know you’re driving a van because everyone is diving into the nearest gap to let you through on narrow streets, you can also see miles down the road.
And on that road, the van doesn’t feel too dissimilar to driving a big, hulking SUV.
Steering is responsive, the ride isn’t too bouncy and when you’re up to speed, cruising along the motorway is done with minimal fuss.
All this does come at a price, as the Vivaro Sportive isn’t the cheapest.
Our test vehicle – which had a few extra gadgets on it including a £660 sat nav system – weighs in at just over £32,000 when you add on VAT.
You can get a lower spec Vivaro for a shade over £20,000 but you lose plenty of the things that make this a great van.
By comparison, it’s big rival – the Transit – is a little pricier still but you get a few more treats as standard.
You might also like to consider a Mercedes Vito or Volkswagen Transporter – both carry a price premium, though.
And having spent time with the Vivaro – we can’t think of much more you can ask for in a van.
Oh, just one more thing – it’s made in Britain, too.