Starting a delivery business - panel vans you can buy in SA for less than R300 000

  • Demand for deliveries has risen in South Africa since the lockdown began in 2020.
  • You can use one of these vehicles to deliver goods for independent businesses.
  • Lock-up-and-go nature of Panel Vans make it safer to transport goods.
  • For motoring news, go to Wheels24

Demand for deliveries of goods and services in South Africa has risen sharply since lockdown began almost two years ago. According to Pick n Pay, one of SA's leading providers of groceries and household goods, demand for its courier services had risen by 65% by the end of 2021. More South Africans are shopping online these days, and as more businesses tap into delivery offerings, you might be in an excellent position to start a localised delivery business to cater to small retailers in your suburb or region.

If you have around R300 000 or less to invest, you could buy one of the Panel Vans on this list to safely and securely deliver food, flowers, gifts, medicines or pet goods. Bakkies are great for this too, but you can't safely lock your interests in the back of a bakkie unless you heavily invest in a tamper-proof canopy system, which itself could run in thousands of rands. A panel van can work well, as most of these vehicles are car-based and easy to drive and live with as they aren't cumbersome to manoeuvre or park.

With a new, safe, reliable panel van, you can reach out to local businesses with delivery offerings to enable them to reach more customers while you earn an income at the same time.

Think about that small mom and pop takeaway in your area that can't afford to outsource a fleet management company to run a delivery fleet for them. Or what about the local pet stores where you could deliver food, treats or medicines to customers on their behalf. Pharmacies are booming right now, and while the significant chains have delivery wings, smaller independent pharmacies could rely on you to safely transport things like vaccines or medicines for them from distributors, or you can even deliver life-saving medication to patients - it's up to you.

Of course, there might be rules and regulations around transporting particular items, so you'll have to do some research into the specific type of goods you'll transport and what requirements you'll need to meet to comply with health and/or safety standards.

Here are six new Panel Vans you can buy in South Africa to start a small transport business:

Hyundai Grandi10 Cargo
2022 Hyundai Grandi10 Cargo

1. Hyundai Atos 1.1 Motion Cargo Panel Van 

Priced at R183 500, the Hyundai Atos 1.1 Motion Cargo Panel Van is your most affordable option in the new car market when it comes to lock-up-and-go convenience for small regional deliveries. It's powered by a 1.1-litre four-cylinder naturally-aspirated petrol engine that generates 50kW of power and 99Nm of torque. According to Hyundai, this vehicle will consume 5.7-litres/100km of petrol in a combined cycle, which should theoretically get you around 614km per 35 litre tank of unleaded.

READ: REVIEW | Hyundai hits the right buttons with its versatile Grandi10 Cargo

Although it's an entry-level vehicle, it comes with a single airbag to protect the driver, and it has anti-lock brakes as standard. The five-speed manual gearbox is light and easy to operate, based on previous experience with the passenger-focused model, and it even has an air conditioner as standard to keep you and your cargo chilled in transit.

A decent mechanical warranty of seven years or 200 000km and one-year or 15 000km service plan will help you keep the cost per km in check, but more importantly, we reckon this is an ideal fuss-free model to consider if you've never been a delivery driver before because it's compact, easy to drive and relatively cheap to run.

Hyundai Atos Panel Van
Hyundai Atos Panel Van

2. Mahindra KUV100 Nxt 1.2 G80 K2+ #XPREZ Panel Van

Coming in at R193 999, the Mahindra KUV100 Nxt 1.2 G80 K2+ #XPREZ panel van (say that three times fast, we dare you) comes in under the magic R200 000 mark, so you'll pay less than R4 000 per month for it if you put down a decent deposit or add some residual value adjustment to it when financing. The vehicle is powered by Mahindra's proven 1.2-litre three-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine that is good for 61kW of power and 115Nm of torque. Claimed fuel consumption comes in at 5.9-litres/100km in a combined cycle, which could get you up to 593km from its 35L tank.

The KUV is ideal if you're going to climb a few pavements as it offers a respectable ride height of 170mm. The car also comes with dual airbags, one for driver and one for passenger, and it has central locking and air conditioning. We drove the passenger car version and found its five-speed manual gearbox light and easy to row, and thanks to its diminutive proportions, it's easy to manoeuver in tight spaces.

Mahindra sells the panel van with a standard five-year or 150 000km mechanical warranty, and you can even add a three-year or 50 000km service plan at the dealer when ordering one. The KUV might look like a bit of an oddball from a styling perspective, but you can't deny it's eye-catching, and if you brand it right or wrap it in a decent vinyl colour with a logo that pops, you might become a recognisable sight, and sought after for your services, in your suburb.

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Mahindra XPREZ
Mahindra KUV100 #XPREZ

3. Kia Picanto Runner 1.0 Panel Van 

Kia's Picanto has to be the class leader in this compact segment regarding the passenger side of things, and we can't help but recommend the workhorse version (priced at R213 995) based on our previous positive experiences with the vehicle. It's powered by the Korean company's tried-and-tested 1.0-litre three-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine that produces 49kW of power and 95Nm of torque. It's known to be frugal, too, with a claimed fuel consumption figure of just 5.0-litres/100km, so you could get around 700km from its 35L tank if you drive sensibly.

READ: A runabout for deliveries - Kia's little city-car just got smarter with new Picanto Runner

It comes with dual airbags, driver and passenger, and it offers anti-lock brakes for those moments when you have to climb on anchors while ensuring your cargo doesn't go bouncing around the interior. The Runner also offers decent air conditioning, and thanks to its lightweight design and construction, it doesn't feel underpowered. The five-speed manual gearbox is light and easy to use in this car, with small dimensions easing the burden on drivers when it comes to tight spaces.

The vehicle comes with a tremendous five-year or unlimited-kilometre mechanical warranty, and they've thrown in a standard two-year or 30 000km service plan. The Picanto might be the freshest model in Kia's line-up, but it's proven itself as a fuss-free mobility solution for start-up motorists, and it can work well for you as an entrepreneur in the delivery business.

Kia Picanto Runner

4 . Hyundai Grand i10 1.0 Motion Cargo Panel Van

Hyundai is the only company on this list with two potential offerings to start a transport business for less than R300 000 in South Africa. This Grand i10 1.0 Motion Cargo panel van comes in at R215 900, so it will cost you more than R4 000 per month on finance depending on the circumstances of your particular deal. The i10 Panel Van is powered by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine that generates 49kW of power and 94Nm of torque (why one less than the Picanto, we're not sure). It will sip a claimed 5.4-litres/100km in a combined cycle, which should be suitable for a range of 685km per 35L tank.

READ: Grandi10 Cargo and NP200 - The most notable rivals to Kia's new Picanto Runner in SA

Expect dual airbags, air conditioning, anti-lock brakes, remote central locking and a decent audio system that enables Bluetooth paring for voice calls. Like the rest of the cars here, a five-speed manual gearbox transmits propulsion force to the drive wheels from the engine. It's light and easy to drive and live with, based on experience with the i10 passenger car.

It's also compact and easy to load and unload. Hyundai offers the vehicle a standard seven-year or 200 000km mechanical warranty, and you also get a one-year or 15 000km service plan to keep costs in check for your first year of ownership. It's a decent model to consider if you prefer Hyundai or Kia products.

Hyundai i10 Panel Van
Hyundai i10 Panel Van

5. Toyota Avanza 1.3 S Panel Van

Toyota keeps telling us the Avanza is no more thanks to the arrival of the Rumion, but that doesn't seem to be the case as the Avanza 1.3 S Panel Van (priced at R273 400) is still listed for sale as a new model in South Africa. It's powered by the company's tried-and-tested 1.3-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine that's good for a powerful 71kW of power and 121Nm. It will use a claimed 6.1-litres/100km when it comes to unleaded consumption, which means you can get up to 738km per 45L tank of fuel. 

The Avanza is hugely popular in the taxi industry, and this Panel Van version can work well to transport goods. The vehicle comes with dual airbags (one for drive, one for passenger), and it even offers anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce assist. The Avanza also provides traction and stability control, rare in a workhorse that costs less than R300 000.

Toyota sells the Avanza Panel Van with a standard three-year or 100 000km mechanical warranty and a four-services or 60 000km service plan. Like we mentioned in our piece on passenger cars you can use to start a transport business, the Avanza follows the lineage of the venerable Venture and Condor, and it's arguably a "living" legend itself already.

Toyota Avanza Panel Van
Toyota Avanza Panel Van

6. Fiat Fiorino 1.4 Panel Van SX

The last car on our list is the stylish and impressive Fiat Fiorino 1.4 Panel Van SX priced at R276 900. It's powered by a 1.4-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine that generates 57kW of power and 115Nm of torque. Fiat claims a combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 6.9-litres/100km, which means you might regularly achieve up to 652km per 45L tank between fill-ups.

Unfortunately, we haven't had much experience with the Fiorino, but the vehicle is hugely popular and successful in Europe. The car comes with dual airbags, traction and stability control, and even hill start assist as standard to help you get away from those tricky driveways after a delivery. Unlike the other models on this list, the Fiorino offers sliding side doors at the rear, and its tailgate is a split side-hinged type that is ideally suited to deliveries and transport businesses.

Fiat, now part of Stellantis, sell the Fiorino in South Africa with a standard five-year or 100 000km mechanical warranty and a three-year or 60 000km service plan.

If the new vehicles on this list don't resonate with you or if you have budget constraints that don't allow you to shop for a new car in 2022, you can also check for a fantastic pre-owned alternative to start your delivery business from AutoTrader.

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Fiat Fiorino
Fiat Fiorino EVO Flex model shown
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