If you’re looking for a van to convert and travel round in, cart stock or passengers, then you may be in for a treat if you’re looking for a van that isn’t a minivan. You may have to look at an older model from the 1990’s, but you could find yourself a real gem. I look at what you can find for under $10,000 on the used van market with less than 100,000 miles on the odometer.
Most searches on used car websites lump vans in with minivans and most of what you see first are the minivans. But sites like autolist.com which has a ‘Passenger/Cargo Vans’ category, iseecars.com that has a ‘Used Vans’ category which is accessed at the bottom of the search page under ‘Popular Searches’, and cargurus.com which has a specific ‘Van’ category helps to weed out the glut of minivans. You could also search for specific models if you know what you’re after. So what’s around?
2001 GMC Safari SLE
First up is a good-looking one-owner 4-speed automatic GMC in bronze with no rust or accident damage. It has dark-tinted windows, near-new tread on the sporty tires, and only 77,500 miles on the odometer. There are three rows of seats but you could easily take out the two back rows to convert into a camper if that’s your aim. All this and service history for just $6,995!
2000 Ford E-150 and Econoline 150
For the same budget of $6,995 you could pick up a Ford that’s one year older, but with 20,000 miles less traveled at only 56,200 miles on the clock. This one I found has a white exterior, ladder racks and a huge rear cabin area ripe for converting to a camper van. It also has no rust or damage and is a one-owner model with service history. There are plenty of ‘E’ series models on the market (including the 250 and 350) so you know there’s plenty to choose from and also that there must be plenty of parts around if needed.
1997 Chevrolet Astro LT
Next up is a rust and damage free Chevy AWD (All-wheel drive) with a custom high-top ideal for moving furniture or turning into campers, near new tires, cruise control, key-less locking, old school CD player, and power windows. There’s plenty of life left in it with just 81,000 miles and a 4.3 liter 6 cylinder engine for the bargain price of $8,888. There were recalls on this model, so if you’re in the market for this model, always check that the recalls have been done.
2019 RAM ProMaster 1500
That’s right! 2019. Normally I would scroll straight past ‘what seems too good to be true’ adverts except curiosity got the better of me. So first off it was a rental van. Okay. While it has only traveled 45,100 miles, it does void the rest of the 3-year warranty which limits the miles traveled to 36,000, and for a van just over two years old, that is a lot of mileage. There are no interior photos, so that may be something to request. However, having said that, the fact still remains it is the lowest mileage van and the newest of any you will find. Another huge plus is that with a major car rental company, all their stock has been put through a thorough inspection process to satisfy they meet quality standards, and all vehicles come with a free Auto Check vehicle history report, and in this case it has a clean record of no past damage or brand title – in other words ‘Certified Pre-Owned’. There’s even a ‘7-day 250 mile Buy Back Guarantee’ if you’re not happy. They also have all the records of servicing. What’s even more amazing is the price – I hope you’re sitting down. $4,563. You also get the most up-to-date features such as Wireless phone connectivity, reverse parking camera and remote key-less entry as well as more airbags.
From reading through what you get for a near new ex-rental van, if I was in the market I would be very interested in doing more research into car rental companies as they usually have a cut-off period (usually the new-car warranty) and mileage when they move vehicles on in order to top up their new models. This in itself could be a great avenue to pursue in your quest for a relatively new, reliable van with far less miles than an older van (usually around 20 years older). A newer model also means more available parts if anything should happen down the line. However, as usual you would need to have a proper test drive and inspection of your own (or even a video inspection with the company if out-of-state) and ask plenty of questions.
Another option is a car auction or specific ex-fleet auction. A lot of them do inspection reports and go for cheaper prices. Check out https://rearviewreview.com/essential-tips-for-buying-at-auction/ for more detailed information. Have fun hunting for your next van.