Commercial vehicles for all types of work

Commercial vehicles are divided into light and heavy. However, when we delve into the universe of these work vehicles, we’re surprised by the myriad types of commercial vehicles to be found.

What is a Light Commercial Vehicle?

What is a Light Commercial Vehicle?

Cars are classified as light vehicles (vehicles with a gross weight equal to or less than 3500 kg and with a capacity of no more than nine seats, including the driver's) and heavy vehicles (vehicles with a gross weight in excess of 3500 kg or with a capacity of more than nine seats, including that of the driver).

Light or heavy cars are defined below, according to their use, as passenger cars (vehicles intended for the transport of people) and as goods vehicles (vehicles intended for the transport of cargo).

These basic characteristics define the approval criteria required for the commercialisation of the vehicle. Approval means that you receive certification that you comply with the administrative provisions and technical and safety requirements applicable to the respective vehicle category.

Type Approval 

Depending on the respective term of validity, vehicle type approvals may be national (when they are valid only for national territory) and European (when they are valid throughout the European Union). For the purposes of type approval, the European vehicle classification applies the letter “M” to vehicles for passenger transport and the letter “N” for motor vehicles designed and constructed for the transport of goods with at least four wheels.

Within this “N” category, that of goods transport vehicles, we can find different types of commercial vehicles:

An LCV, the abbreviation of Light Commercial Vehicle (or in Portuguese, Veículo Comercial Ligeiro, VCL) or Van, is simply an N1 category vehicle, designed exclusively or mainly for the transport of goods.

Taking a broader approach, this category includes all vehicles for transporting goods or passengers on a commercial basis. The LCV concept was created as a kind of compact version of a truck and it is usually optimised to be resistant, have low running costs and powerful engines, although also designed be efficient in terms of fuel consumption, keeping in mind above all usage in city operations or between large cities.

Various bodyworks

The segmentation of LCV models is very heterogeneous in terms of models. However, they can be divided into 4 segments or types of vehicles:

Passenger car derivatives

Smaller commercial vehicles are often called “2-seaters”. They are light commercial vehicles deriving from passenger vehicles. They have a bulkhead (with a tilting net or plate) separating the cargo area from the passenger area and are goods vehicles designed for the city.


The bodywork is normally formed by a single body. Built from scratch for the transport of goods, they are characterised by the physical separation between the passenger compartment and the cargo compartment.

Given the ample interior space available, the makes offer passenger versions, in which case they can have from 5 to 9 seats, including the driver and depending on their size. For the same reason, they are vehicles naturally capable of being transformed into vehicles for specific purposes, such as vehicles for school transport, vehicles for transporting people with reduced mobility or technical assistance vehicles, just to mention a few examples.

Given the different dimensions that vans can have, this segment is subdivided into three sub-segments.

Single, Double and Platform Chassis Cab

They are vehicles produced without a cargo box, to allow them to be adapted precisely to the needs of the customer's business, being subject to a multitude of adaptations and transformations. These vehicles are called chassis cabs. They can have 2 or 3 seats in the case of a vehicle with a single cab or 6 or 7 seats in the case of a double cab. In the case of the platform chassis, it has a lower ground clearance, allowing easier access to whatever conversion solution is chosen.

Light trucks

Light trucks have a cab set forward, positioned over the vehicle's engine. They are more robust vehicles and they can have very short wheelbases, resulting in a very compact vehicle with high load capacity.


Pick-ups were initially intended as work vehicles optimised for off-road use, characterised both by the physical separation between the passenger compartment and the open cargo box, and by the fact that they could have all-wheel drive and a double cab.

A world of combinations

The way in which it is possible to combine engines, bodyworks, heights, lengths, type of doors (sliding or conventional opening), drive (front, rear and all-wheel drive), load capacity and specific transport accessories means that the number of possible combinations is high.

This multiplicity of versions is combined with the possibility of adapting the vehicle to the specific needs of each organisation through transformation solutions, designed to suit the customer.

Whether to carry frozen goods or bread, load pallets of magazines, transport construction materials or have utilities vehicles ready to intervene in different scenarios, the versatility of commercial vehicles to carry out any type of work or activity is thus what makes them unique and essential for the carrying out of the vast majority of economic activities.

LeasePlan is ready to help you find the commercial vehicle and adaptation that best suits your needs. With Vantage by LeasePlan, purchasing, configuring and managing your commercial vehicles is easy.

Discover the Vantage by LeasePlan solution

The three van sub-segments:

Small vans They are currently the most common type of commercial vehicle. They are characterised by their compact size and they can come in 2 or 3 different lengths, an interior volume of between 3 and 4 m3 and a load capacity of up to 800 kg. Medium vans Medium in size, they generally have a total height of less than 2 metres, 2 or 3 different lengths and an interior volume of between 4 and 6 m3. Some makes offer the possibility of a high roof, which makes these vehicles very appealing, as it allows for an interesting compromise between interior volume and payload, which is around 1200 kg. Large Vans Of all the commercial vehicles, this is the segment which affords the greatest variety of configuration possibilities, with various lengths (L) and total heights (H). The interior volume varies between 8 m3 and 20 m3 and the load capacity is approximately 1500 kg. Depending on the combination of length (L) and height (H), the vans are dubbed: L1H1 version, L2H1 version, L3H1 version, L4H3 version, for example. However, there is no standard for this classification, as the same terminology (for example L2H2) can represent different volumes from make to make.
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