When you mention vans here in the Philippines, only a couple of nameplates really come to mind. Models like the Toyota Hiace, Nissan Urvan, and Hyundai Starex are nice and all, but the general consensus around these parts is that vans should equate to space and carrying capacity.
Outside our borders, vans are so much more than just that, though. They come in all sorts of form factors and flaunt about as many interior layouts and applications as any other segment out there. Markets outside ours also have more brands to turn to than the routine Japanese staples. Volkswagen’s move to bring in the Multivan is a fine example of this.
Looking at what’s available in other markets really makes us wish there was a larger stable of vans here in our country. With this in mind, we’ve compiled 10 vans we want to see officially brought into the Philippine market. If you have anything you would like to add to this list, do let us know in the comments.
Move over, Starex. Another Hyundai van is in the spotlight, and it looks promising. The Staria, which reportedly will be replacing the Starex name, is about as next-gen in appearance as you could ask for in a van with its futuristic lighting, large windows, and minimalist surfaces. It also has a 10.25-inch touchscreen and captain’s chairs inside. We definitely want to see this hit our market.
2) Nissan NV300
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The Nissan NV300 looks like a more apt competitor to the Toyota Hiace than the locally available NV350 Urvan. This one just looks so much more modern both inside and out. The front driver and passenger area are a massive step up when you compare it to what we’ve got in the NV350 here.
If you ask us, the latest iteration of the Kia Carnival might be the nameplate’s leap from a practical minivan to premium territory—especially if you somehow manage to get your hands on the limousine variant. Yes, we know that gray market units are already out and about locally. We won’t count them as officially available until a local launch courtesy of Kia Philippines happens, though.
The Mercedes-Benz V-Class is nice, but if you’re someone who’s held off on splurging on one due to its less than modest dimensions, the German carmaker now has a solution.
Enter the T-Class—a compact substitute for the brand’s long-running V-Class luxury van. It’s not due until 2022, but this doesn’t make its proposition any less appealing in our book. Mercedes-Benz also says an all-electric version of the T-Class is in the pipeline, which is always a plus.
If Toyota Motor Philippines ever decides it wants to add a minivan to its local lineup, we don’t think the company has to look that hard for a suitable model to consider. The Sienna is about as stylish as minivans come and has an interior that should cater to even the most nitpicky of buyers. If this does happen, the likes of the Kia Carnival and the Honda Odyssey better watch out.
What you’re looking at here is essentially a Ford Ranger Raptor in van form. Okay, maybe not, but with intelligent AWD, rugged design cues, and an aesthetic clearly inspired by the more extreme side of the American brand’s go-anywhere offerings, can you really blame us for making the comparison?
Our country’s current stable of light commercial vans is perfectly adequate. What’s currently available are practical, reliable, and more than capable of catering to the needs of smaller businesses. But stylish? Not exactly. A business logo or eye-catching decals would look much better on the side of offerings like the Proace City than on the standard fare available here.
Autonomous tech, clean powertrains, and styling to match the aesthetic of the rest of Volkswagen’s lineup? You can bet your bottom dollar we find the Volkswagen Caddy an appealing proposition. Sadly, it’s unlikely we’ll see this in the Philippines again. Though the brand is bringing in the Multivan, which is nice.
It’s been a while since the Delica was relevant in our market. But this doesn’t mean the nameplate is dead. In fact, Mitsubishi still offers it for the Japanese market, albeit in a more modern package that’s more similar to the Xpander than the versatile ’90s van we all grew up admiring.
10) Kei vans
Do these count as vans? Practicality-wise, not exactly. In terms of styling, though? We think yes. Thing is, their size shouldn’t really be an issue considering carmakers build these babies with practicality and space in mind. Their compact size would be a great fit for cramped local roads, too.
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