Specially selected vehicles

Independent advice

Competitive prices

Leasing Your First Van – Some Handy Tips

Leasing Your First Van

If you’ve never driven a van before, it may feel a little different to your usual carThere is a lot to keep in mind when you lease a van for the first timeDon’t worry, it’s not as complex as it looks. We’ve put together a handy guide for you which includes some of the more important points to consider. 


Your first sight of your new van will be when it is delivered. You’ll receive your keys and there’ll be some documents to sign. 

Before you sign, there’s a few things you should check. Make sure your van is the correct make and model, in the right colour and with all the agreed features. You should also look around the van for any signs of damage, scratches or scuff marks. These should be noted to the delivery driver if you find any. 

The van will likely not have much fuel in when delivered. Once you have signed for the vehicle and are comfortable in the driver’s seat, your first trip should be to refuel. 

Driver Position

The driver position of a van is usually higher than that of a car. This can make driving a van feel different to a car and it might take a little getting used to. The lack of a rearview mirror can also make drivers uncomfortable at first, but larger wing mirrors can compensate for this.  

When you first get into your new van, take some time to ensure you’re happy with your driver position. Adjust the seat and mirrors until you are comfortable, with a clear view and easy reach of the steering wheel and pedals. 

You’ll be spending a fair amount of time in that seat, so make sure it’s exactly how you want it. 


Modern vans are packed with features, many include climate control, sat nav, cruise control and much more. Spend some time getting to know the dashboard and where the controls are.  

Don’t get caught out trying to find the headlight controls while you’re driving, as you will have to take your eyes off the road while you search. You should be familiar with the dashboard layout before you set off on your first trip. 


Van manufacturers have put a lot of work into making driving a new van feel as close to driving a car as possible. 

With smaller vans, you might find that they are almost indistinguishable from driving a large car. There may be a little more weight if you are fully loaded, but in general they should feel familiar to you. 

Larger vans are a little different, with a high driving position and a longer wheelbase. You should take extra care parking, and swing a little wider when turning corners. Know the size and weight of your vehicle, as some car parks have maximum height limits, and country roads and bridges may only permit certain weights. 

Speed Limits

Some road speed limits are different for vans. Don’t get caught out – make sure you know your speed limits. 

We recommend you take your van for a drive out around your local area. Pay attention to the speed limits and get a feel for how the van handles at different speeds. 

Blind Spots

Without a rear-view mirror, you have to rely on your wing mirrors to get a picture of your surroundings. To compensate for this, modern vans come with a range of driving aids and sensors to alert you to any potential collisions. 

To minimise your blind spots and give you as much vision as possible, ensure your mirrors are set up correctly. Get someone to walk around the van while you’re at the wheel, so you can see where your blind spots are. 


With its larger size and weight, parking a van can take a little practice. 

Our best advice is to take it slowly. Take your time, and don’t be afraid to get out of the van and look at the space you have available. Modern vans come with a range of parking aids, including a rear camera and proximity sensors, so you’ll have plenty of assistance from the van itself. 

Loaded vs Unloaded

Vans are designed to drive under a full load, as this is when they are under the most physical stress. 

When loaded, the suspension becomes much stiffer, which means you’ll feel speed ramps and potholes a lot more keenly, and bumps are more likely to cause damage. Driving unloaded may feel may more springy 

Get used to the handling characteristics of your new van both loaded and unloaded, and you’ll soon be driving confidently under any load status.

Loading / Unloading

Your van handles far better if your payload is evenly distributed. When loading the vehicle, try to spread the weight across the van. If you’re stacking items, put the heavier ones at the bottom. 

Items should be tied down or secured so that they don’t slide or fall during transit. Loose cargo can cause the van to rock from side to side, and the items can also be damaged if free. 

Vans are designed around their payload, and that includes loading and unloading. Test how far the doors will open, and how much space you need around the van to load and unload your cargo safely. 


In general, van insurance is more expensive than car insurance. Often the insurance includes the van contents, such as tools or other equipment. 

Insurance is an area where you should not try and cut corners. Make sure the insurance plan is fully comprehensive and covers what you need it to. If you have to make a claim, you don’t want to find out that some expensive tools are not included in the policy. 

Try and buy your insurance early. Shop around with different lenders, and don’t leave it until the last minute. You can save hundreds of pounds on your insurance policy if you buy your van insurance at least 3 weeks before you take possession of your new van. 

Mobile Apps

Some vans, such as Ford van leases and Mercedes van leases, have built in software that allows you to connect your mobile phone to your van. This gives you the ability to check your van’s status when you are away, and adds functionality such as remote locking and unlocking. Check with your lease company to see if this is fitted on your van.

It might seem like a lot to take in, but the general rule is to take your time, learn about your van, and drive carefully. It will feel like home in no time. 

For more advice on driving your new van, please contact us. Our experts can not only help you choose which van to lease, we can also talk you through every aspect of driving and using your new van.