Efficiency, capacity and more: How to choose the best CV for your fleet

posted on 07/08/2023
  • Overview
  • What do you need to consider?
  • How can Alphabet help?

When considering what you need from a Commercial Vehicle (CV) for your fleet, there are several factors to take into account. From fuel efficiency to vehicle safety, running costs and carrying capacity, making the right choice is critically important.

Not one-size-fits-all

Commercial Vehicles are incredibly versatile, capable vehicles. However, they can’t do everything. That’s why it’s so important to consider all the factors your business needs in order to find the right vehicle for the right job and prevent yourself from ending up with a vehicle that’s either too costly to run, or unsuitable for your needs.

So, what key factors do you need to consider before making your choice? Let’s take a closer look.

How much space do you need?

What you’re using your vehicle for (now and in the future) is the most important factor, so it’s worth taking your time to thoroughly plan for the right fit. Too big and you’ll be paying unnecessary costs for the rest of the vehicle life cycle. Too small, and you’ll end up holding back your business operations or wasting time and money on multiple trips.

To figure out the right fit, you need to start with two big variables:

  • Payload: the total weight that a CV can carry. Carrying above this weight makes the vehicle dangerous to drive and leaves you open to fines or even prosecution.
  • Load volume: the space available for cargo. There’s not much point having a huge payload capacity if you can’t fit in your cargo!

Go for an option that covers your normal weight and volume requirements with a bit to spare, and don’t forget to account for the space and weight of any racking you might want to have installed to be able to carry the items safely and securely.

What body style is best?

Having worked out how much space you’ll need, now you need to work out how it can be transported and accessed.

Commercial Vehicles come in many varieties, from panel vans to flatbeds to drop-sides and more. Which is right will depend on what kind of cargo you’re transporting and where and how you plan to get it on and off the vehicle.

It may be tempting to default to a ‘general-purpose’ or car-derived van, however taking the time to really think about the environment in which it’ll be accessed (e.g. delivering to narrow public streets, or operating with a crew working at height) will ensure the best fit for your business. And don’t forget, specialist vehicles exist for certain forms of cargo, such as refrigerated vans for food. Check out our blog for more information.

What legislation do you need to consider?


As clean air zones appear in more UK cities and Vehicle Excise Duty (Road Tax) for certain CVs continues to rise, it’s worth considering where you’ll operate and how the current (and possible future) legislation may affect you.

For example, if your van is likely to spend a lot of its time in a clean air zone, opting for a hybrid or fully-electric vehicle may be your best option due to savings on fuel and any congestion or emission charges.


Different CVs carry different driving licence requirements. For example, a ‘standard’ driving licence only covers vehicles with a Maximum Authorised Mass up to 3.5 tonnes, so anything above that usually means your drivers need a category C1 licence and a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC).

Don’t forget to talk to your drivers

It’s always worth talking to your own drivers about their needs. Their experience and insight can be invaluable and they’re the ones who’ll be spending the most time in your vehicles. Getting it right for them is just as important as getting it right for the journeys and payload.

Get in touch

It’s great to have an idea about what sort of vehicle your fleet needs. But you don’t have to come up with all the answers alone. That’s what we’re here to help with.

From assessing your needs, to finding the right CVs (including conversions and custom specifications) for your needs, to providing flexible finance solutions and ongoing maintenance and in-life needs, our team is ready to help.

Get in touch with our expert Commercial Vehicle team on 01252 976 010 to find out how we can help you make the right choice every time.

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