I'm relatively new to the art festival scene (starting 2nd season), but I'm looking to do this for a long time. Since my minivan is dying I will need to buy a new van for shows. I need more storage space so I want to get a cargo van. I tried googling reviews for a few models but didn't find much useful info. I want to know if a particular model is reliable (won't break down 200 mi from home) and is comfortable to drive 3 hrs at a clip.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!



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  • As far as a newbie cargo van owner of the future.....I think my needs might be less demanding if I am going to stick to shows in my area, say around two hours radius from my home base. So, I am thinking my cargo van needs may not be as huge as some of the others here, on this thread. Does anyone think the compact Nissan NV200 would be ok or the Ford Transit Connect. I am in this tossup, here. Comments?

    • It's not how far you drive, it's how much stuff you have to haul :-) Make sure whatever you get is big enough to get it all in and have a little room left over.

      • One thing a lot of people forget about is weight. The small vans have a smaller weight capacity so if an exhibitor has lots of heavy display pieces and heavy work, these vans may not be practical.

      • Good point. Well taken. Will have to make my inventory of what I am in fact will be taking around. Thanks.

  • Hello Everyone,

    This thread was EXTREMELY interesting. I am looking around for a newbie cargo van owner. It is a tossup for me, between a Ford Transit Connect or the Nissan NV200. Any comments on this comparison. The mpg seem to be efficient at this level.I am one person and petite. So, small stature and less manpower has to be considered. As for panels displays, I am sticking to the stackable Graphic Display Systems so I can get it all in without worrying about a 7 foot length. Great perspectives from everyone. Thanks so much.

  • When you go to shows talk to other artists.   I have an econoline 250 Ford and love it.   Did have some trouble when i first got it with fuel pump but ever since that got taken care of 16 years ago  i really like my van.  The only disadvantage is milage 17 to ga.   the other thing may want to ck into is the sprinter put out by chrysler.   Lot of artist are driving those around.   friend has one and he gets around 23 m. per ga.  but it is diesel and that is rather costly lately.   the other vehicle to ck is nissan has a van that looks like a sprinter.   I saw one last year in Boulder city nv and it looked real nice,  lots of room like sprinter not sure of price.    Another thought is rent a van for weekend.  I have a friend who does that when he does shows,  rents a van. for the weekend.   See which one you like and go from there.

  • I purchased a GMC Savana 3500 series with a 10' box body from Uhaul fleet sales. It was well maintained and had only 67k miles on it. Had it for 3 years now, only done regular oil changes and a set of tires (replaced them due to their age for safety) runs great! Price was good, they seem receptive to haggling a bit. Lots of sizes depending on your needs. I like the step on bumper and squared up interior shape vs the curved walls in a regular cargo van. Mpg is around 13 loaded up.
  • I'm going to just throw this out as some are looking into new vans also.

    Nissan now makes a full size van too. It's called the Nissan NV. It comes in two sizes. A 1500 series and a 2500 series that you gan get a raised roof for so it looks like a Sprinter. They start at around 24 grand.

    In 1990 I bought a Nissan pickup and used it for 10 years hauling around a 5x8 cargo trailer to shows all over the northeast. When I sold it in 1990, it had well over 300,000 miles on it and it still ran great, but the body was disappearing.

  • Seeing as you currently can fit your work into a minivan, have you considered the Ford Transit Connect? I'm seeing a LOT more of these guys every show I do. And the owners absolutely love them. Many exhibitors traded in their full sized vans for them.

    They're economical, will carry 1500 pounds and will fit into any garage. And they cost in the low 20s.

    But as far as a vehicle breaking down after 200 miles, that's very uncommon today. All vehicles built in the last 10 years are designed to go 150,000 miles before any major repairs providing you maintain them.  My 2003 Expedition is nearing 200,000 miles. So whether it's a Ford or GM, it's really just personal preference.

    • Thanks Chris, I'll look into them. 

      I just meant that I wanted something reliable that wouldn't break down while I was far from home (ie. in the middle of nowhere), which has happened to me with the current minivan that I have. I've had to replace the starter motor three times!

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