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A short-wheelbase, medium-wheelbase or long-wheelbase van is one of the many vehicle categories you’ll find at Big Van World. Vans are a perfect choice for some businesses, as they offer more flexibility than other types of vehicles, such as standard sedans or motorbikes. They are also safer than their alternatives due to their sturdy build and strong suspensions.

How Do I Know What Wheelbase My Van Is?

The wheelbase of a vehicle is measured from the centre of the front wheels to the centre of the rear wheels. So when you look at a van or light commercial vehicle, you'll want to measure the distance between those two points on either side. Wheelbases generally range from 2,400mm (Short WB) to 5,700mm (Long WB). Short-wheelbase vans are ideal for city driving, as they are more manoeuvrable in tight spaces and have shorter turning circles than larger models. Medium and long-wheelbase vans offer more room inside for cargo capacity, making them better suited for longer trips or heavier loads.

Types of Wheelbases

Short wheelbase (SWB)

Short-wheelbase vans are perfect for transporting small items, such as tools, equipment or materials. While they do not provide the same carrying capacity as larger vans, they are cost-effective and efficient in delivering goods in urban areas or for short journeys. Short-wheelbase vans usually feature sliding doors on both sides of the vehicle, which makes loading more convenient.


One significant benefit of short-wheelbase vans is their manoeuvrability. Thanks to their shorter length, they are more agile on tight streets and easier to park than longer models. This makes them ideal for delivering goods in urban areas where space can be limited and navigation tricky. Another advantage of a shorter wheelbase is that they tend to weigh less than bigger models, meaning you’ll consume less fuel when driving them around town and save money on running costs in the long term.


One disadvantage is that, due to their size, short-wheelbase vans have limited cargo capacity. This can be especially problematic if you need to transport larger items or large amounts of cargo. Furthermore, they have a smaller engine size than other types of vans.

Medium wheelbase (MWB)

MWB vans are a great middle ground between SWB and LWB, combining the benefits of both small and large cargo vans.

A medium-wheelbase van typically measures around 3.7 metres in length and 2.7 metres in height—making them slightly larger than an SWB van but smaller than LWBs. They are often used by small businesses or those requiring that extra space without compromising manoeuvrability. An MWB van offers greater flexibility due to its ability to fit into tighter spaces compared to LWBs while allowing more room for storage than SWBs. This makes them ideal for urban areas where parking can sometimes be tight or challenging to navigate.


Medium-wheelbase vans are perfect for transporting goods and materials that don't require a lot of space. MWB vans have an interior length of between 3.4-3.7 metres, making them much more compact than their long wheelbase counterparts. This means they have a smaller turning circle, making them easier to manoeuvre in tight spaces like city streets and alleyways.

In addition to being more manoeuvrable, medium-wheelbase vans also deliver better fuel efficiency than other types of larger commercial vehicles.


One major con of using a medium-wheelbase van is the lack of interior cargo space compared to larger vans. While these vehicles still provide adequate space for most items, they often may not offer enough room if you need to transport large items or multiple passengers.

Long wheelbase (LWB)

A long wheelbase refers to vans with extended frames and body lengths than SWBs and MWBs. Generally speaking, most LWBs are over 4 metres in length and can sometimes measure up to 5 metres. This extra length provides drivers with greater payload capacity and increased internal storage space for tools and equipment needed for the job.


Long wheelbase-vans are great for businesses transporting large payloads and bulky items. Their larger interior allows them to easily accommodate shipping containers, furniture and large boxes. They also provide more room for passengers and gear, making them an ideal choice for businesses with multiple employees on the road.

The additional length of a long-wheelbase van provides enhanced stability when driving.


One con of using a long-wheelbase van is that it often costs more than its shorter counterparts due to its larger size. Additionally, parking can be difficult when you opt for a longer vehicle, as it may not fit into smaller spaces or require complicated manoeuvres to park properly. Furthermore, fuel consumption tends to be higher with long-wheelbase vans due to their increased weight and size, which requires more energy to move them.

How to Select Between SWB, MWB or LWB

Choosing the right van size for your business is a decision that requires careful consideration. With three main sizes available—short wheelbase, medium wheelbase and long wheelbase—there are various factors to consider when selecting the best option.

For instance, you can consider the amount of space you need. SWB vans are good for transporting smaller items and lighter loads. In contrast, MWB vans offer more cargo capacity than SWB models. An LWB van provides even more room for larger items and heavier loads, making them ideal for businesses that require a lot of storage and transport capacity.

Choose the Best Van for Your Business

When choosing the best van for your business, consider your specific needs and budget. Take into account the size of the vehicle, its expected use and any other features you may need. For a more affordable option, consider one of our used vans. Whether you’re looking for short, long or medium vans for sale, our inventory includes all types.

Big Van World’s selection is constantly changing and offers plenty of potential benefits for your business. Browse our used van selection now, or contact our team for more information.


Category: Blog