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Luton Van Weight | Empty Weight Vs Payload Vs GVW

The weight of a Luton van is made up of a combination of 3 different weight types. Empty weight (kerb weight) which will range from 2,288kg-2,500kg, payload (how much in kg you’re legally allowed to carry in the back) ranging from 1,000kg-1,212kg & GVW (gross vehicle weight) which will never exceed 3,500kg (3.5 tonnes).

All Luton box vans have a maximum GVW of 3,500kg and as empty weight varies from model to model, so too does the payload capacity of each vehicle.

  • Payload capacity can vary by as much as 212kg
  • Empty weight determines maximum payload capacity
  • Payload capacity + empty weight = the plated GVW (3,500kg)

Here is the specific weight of each of the most popular Luton vans in the UK.

Make/ModelBody TypeGVWKerb WeightPayload Capacity
Citroen RelayLuton Box Van3,500kg2,420kg1,080kg
Ford TransitLuton Box Van3,500kg2,484kg1,016kg
Iveco DailyLuton Box Van3,500kg2,380kg1,120kg
LDV V80Luton Box Van3,500kg2,375kg1,125kg
Mercedes SprinterLuton Box Van3,500kg2,500kg1.000kg
Nissan NV400Luton Box Van3,500kg2,288kg1.212kg
Renault MasterLuton Box Van3,500kg2,288kg1.212kg
Vauxhall MovanoLuton Box Van3,500kg2,288kg1.212kg
Volkswagen CrafterLuton Box Van3,500kg2,500kg1,000kg

These figures do assume the vehicle is as it was when it left the factory, is unmodified from the original manufacturer’s specifications and no aftermarket parts have been fitted.

If in doubt, you can visit a local weighbridge.

How To Calculate Luton Van Weight Limit

We already know that a Luton box van has a maximum GVW (MAM) of 3,500kg. Working out empty weight or max payload can be done by the following simple equations.

  • GVW (3,500kg) – Empty Weight = Payload Capacity
  • GVW (3,500kg) – Payload Capacity = Empty Weight

Payload + empty weight should never exceed GVW.

Why You Would Need To Know The Weight Of A Luton Van?

Knowing the weight of a Luton van enables you to decide which of the many available makes and models is best suited to you.

Normally, all an owner/driver wants to know is which vehicle offers the highest payload capacity. Vehicles that fall under the Luton category have a max GVW of 3,500kg unless stated otherwise on their VIN plate.

The unladen weight of a Luton van will determine payload capacity and how much (in kg) you’re legally able to carry in the back.

Payload is basically the difference in kg between kerb weight and gross vehicle weight, so of course the higher the payload available to the driver, the more he can utilise the extra capacity without exceeding legal weight limits.

Luton Van Weight Ratios Per Make & Model

As the dry weight of each Luton van can differ by around 212kg depending on make and model, so too will the payload capacity. As empty weight rises, payload capacity falls and vice versa.

See below for the weight specifications of each of the most popular box vans found in the UK today.

Citroen Relay Luton

The Citroen Relay is a Luton van with an empty weight of 2,420kg leaving a respectable, but not entirely impressive payload limit of 1,080kg.

It also sports a single rear wheel axle where you would normally find twin rear wheels on models such as the Ford Transit and in kerb weight terms, this roughly translates to an extra 60kg in payload capacity.

And just when you think it can’t get any better, it turns out you can also add a further 80kg to the payload of this van by opting for a lightweight body option.

From Citroen.

Payload can be raised by around 80kgs by choosing lightweight body panels with a lightweight body framework available as an option with all Ready to Run Lutons.

According to Citroen, there are 2 available models of this Luton van, the L3 & L4, each with different weight and volume specifications.

The L3 model is the lighter, shorter version best suited to local delivery or courier work. It boasts a payload of 1,147kg while the heavier, high volume L4 body with a payload weight of 979kg would be for more demanding tasks, despite that high volume body adding an extra 168kg to its unladen weight.

Citroen is really vague too about exactly how much payload comes with which option or even if that 80kg of extra payload with the ultralight body is on top of the model L3’s already impressive 1,147kg.

Ford Transit Luton

Now we’re really disappointed in Ford and have been for a while regarding this. You would think that with their decades of building and design experience – and with their being “top of the food chain” in the van world for so long – they might have figured out how to build a Luton van with a payload weight of more than a miserable 1,016kg.

That said, as a van hire and moving company we’ve only ever used Ford Transits to ferry things back and forth. Their kerb weight is little more than a minor trade-off when comparing it to their bulletproof reliability.

And the feeling of general all-round ruggedness too that’s always there to reassure us that we’ll get to wherever we’re going without any mechanical clangers on the way is also something you can’t put a price on.

Still, with all things considered, the weight specifications of a Transit Luton van is pretty dire for a company who’s been around for like, forever. The only reason we stick with them is simply that we know them so well, we could literally strip one and put it back together again with a socket set.

Iveco Daily Luton

What can we say about the iconic Iveco Daily? It’s a Luton van that does what it does very well.

As a Luton van with a payload weight of 1,120kg, it absolutely thumps the Ford Transit by a satisfying 104kg. And for those of you who might not appreciate what an extra 104kg is from the perspective of a removals man, that could be an extra 21 5kg boxes, a wardrobe & 2 sets of drawers or a 3 piece suite – if you can find the room to pack them.

Like the Transit, the Iveco Daily also sports a twin wheel rear axle. It is also the only light commercial with a truck-like solid steel chassis and side members up to 5 mm thick so it’s unclear how they’ve managed to build a Luton van with a kerb weight 104kg less than its Ford rival.

Regardless, they do offer a Luton variant with a gross vehicle weight of 4,900kg which kinda makes its little 3,500kg GVW brother look like a bit of a diet coke in the Luton world. Astounding.

Point of note: depending on when you passed your test, you may not be allowed to drive a Luton van with a GVW of more than 3,500kg with your normal car licence. Always best to check.

LDV Luton Van

LDV has been around for as long as I can remember, and I’m no spring chicken.

With an empty weight of 2,375kg, the LDV Luton van will carry a payload of 1,125kg effortlessly.

LDV has also really got its act together in recent years too. The V80 Luton is now powered by a 2.5L lump from the Italian VM Motori company. This is also the same engine that powers our famous London Black Cabs.

A payload of 1,125kg is an impressive volume of weight for any single chassis cab to be legally able to move and should be as good a reason as any to consider buying an LDV Luton van.

Those engines too can see 500k trouble free miles if well maintained and if you can get by the fact that the van is just so damn ugly, you’ll see it’s pretty much got everything else going for it – including the price.

They’re cheaper. Much, much cheaper.

Mercedes Sprinter Luton

I don’t know what it is about Mercedes vans but I have never, ever liked them. Ever.

Even for such a prestigious brand with all the bells and whistles, a miserable payload weight of 1,000kg is nothing much to boast about as it battles it out with the Volkswagen Crafter Luton for last place in the payload capacity category.

Still, the unladen weight of the Sprinter Luton is only a mere 16kg heavier than the Ford Transit so it’s not all bad you may think? Perhaps it’s a fairly standard weight throughout the range of the many Luton vans out there?

Enter the Renault Master Luton with a Mercedes, Crafter AND Transit smashing payload weight of 1,212kg and for serious transporters, that extra 212kg in payload capacity is everything…

At the end of the day, the Mercedes is a brilliant, strong and reliable van. I just don’t like them because they are too expensive for what they are and I can’t see how Mercedes can justify the extra cost for a van with the same weight limits as a cheaper, albeit just as reliable alternative.

Nissan NV400 Luton

The weight specifications for the next three Luton vans are identical, and not by coincidence either.

Why I hear you ask? Well, it’s pretty much because they are all the same van. In fact, the only thing the Luton models from Nissan, Renault and Vauxhall don’t share is their badge.

Boasting a whopping payload of 1,212kg, this is outrageous for a light commercial with a GVW of 3,500kg. It also tips the scales on the kerb weight of both Ford and Mercedes with a low chassis mass of just 2,288kg.

How they managed to engineer this vehicle to the point where its empty weight was approaching its payload capacity is unclear. One thing I do suspect though is that less mass = less structural steel which may or may not be a good thing.

Is this the case? I really don’t know but even if it is, the van is still more than capable of carrying up to 1,212kg in the rear.

Renault Master Luton

What can I say about the Renault that I haven’t already said about the Nissan? It is the same van after all with an empty weight of 2,288kg and a payload capacity of 1,212kg.

One noteworthy point: the Scattolini body designed to fit the chassis of these fantastic Luton vans are fitted at the Renault factory in France. One could assume that Renault themselves may have either commissioned the partnership or at least won the toss on who was fitting the bodies.

Renault, who owns almost half of Nissan anyway have always been top players in the van world and with the impressive weight specs of the new Master Luton, what more can you ask?

Vauxhall Movano Luton

So, where do Vauxhall fit into all of this madness? Again, with an empty weight of 2,288kg and a payload capacity of 1,212kg the Movano Luton van is just a rebadged Renault Master.

It does make the Movano sound like a lesser van to call it “rebadged” but the Renault is a bulletproof workhorse that will almost never let you down and so by default, neither too should the Vauxhall.

For some reason, while researching this topic, I noticed Parkers had the Vauxhall Luton based on the Vivaro model which threw me for a second but no, the Vauxhall Luton is definitely based on the heavier Movano.

Rebadged or not, the permissible weight of this Luton van would see us choose a Movano over a Volkswagen Crafter or a Mercedes Sprinter any day.

Volkswagen Crafter Luton

The poor VW Crafter, the Luton van that tried.

The Crafter is another single rear wheel axle van which by itself should’ve saved some overall kg from the kerb weight.

Unfortunately, it ties in last place with that Mercedes Sprinter we discussed earlier with an empty Luton weight of 2,500kg and a payload limit of only 1,000kg.

How these prestigious brands can’t keep up with their cheaper rivals isn’t really baffling though. Top quality vehicles are always heavier with thicker chassis steel and reinforced everything else. It doesn’t make them last any longer though. Steel, regardless of how thick will still rust.

Any added strength is in vain when it comes at the expense of payload, the very concept from which the vehicle has been designed.

A darn shame too because it is one sexy Luton.

Renault on the other hand has proven you can build a solid, reliable Luton van without compromising on quality or permissible load weight. So why VW & Mercedes persist in building vans that could sink the Titanic faster than an iceberg is, well, who knows?

In Conclusion

To conclude, if you’re looking to buy a new Luton van then consider what you’ll be using it for, lifting and shifting and any of the above examples will do the job well.

Here are your real options though.

  • You can either pay £35k + for a Mercedes Sprinter or VW Crafter Luton
  • You can pay £25k + for a Renault Master Luton with an extra 212kg payload capacity that will do the same job, only better.

Now the Renault is just as strong, reliable and green as any diesel van can ever possibly be, for a diesel. So why oh why, truly, oh why, would you ever consider spending an extra 10 grand on a van that does less and is more likely to get you a fine for accidental overloading?

The Master, the NV400 and the Movano Lutons all offer an extra 212kg payload that could literally save your bacon should you be ever be pulled over by VOSA for a sneaky peek.

And a 212kg payload isn’t an insignificant weight either for a Luton van. It’s the type of weight you would rather have and not need, than need and not have so yes, we would definitely recommend the Renault or one of its rebadged counterparts.

The available load volume + a £10k saving on the list price should be enough to convince even the most cynical of buyers.

My Disclaimer – Van Weight & Legal Requirements

I’ve simply given my humblest of opinions on the top 9 most popular Luton vans in the UK along with their weight specification.

All weights and specifications are as accurate as they are displayed on the respective manufacturer’s websites but do not take into account optional extras, custom bodies or other aftermarket modifications.

The only true method of knowing for absolute certainty the unladen weight of your Luton van and thus, your true payload capacity is to take it to a local weighbridge.

Luton Van Weight: I’m not even sure why you would need to know these geeky stats, but here they are. Enjoy 🙂

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Devonshire Dozer

    Thanks for a brilliant article. I’m approaching 70 at which point I’ll lose groups from my driving licence. I can’t see any real scientific reason for this, but that’s the way it is. With a house move coming up, I wondered what the consequences would be for van hire. Your piece answered every question.. It us very informative.

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