Until now, if you wanted to take a work crew of four or five people along on a job in a Chevrolet Express or GMC Savana van, you had two options. You could use a passenger van, remove all but the second row of seats, and have all equipment and supplies visible through the windows, or you could use a cargo van with all but two of your crew sitting on boxes, buckets, or tool cases in the rear.

Neither option is particularly appealing. The first, because of the visibility and resulting vulnerability of the contents, along with the safety issues caused by lack of abulkhead between the passenger and cargo areas. The second, because of the lack of seating behind the two front buckets in a cargo van, any passengers riding in the rear are subject to the same decidedly unsafe bouncing and tossing around that cargo undergoes. The problem has been tackled by a new development from upfitter Regency Vans and the specialty-vehicle design and engineering company Tecstar Automotive Group.

Crew Van is a Solution

The new development is called the “Crew Van,” and the idea is truly simple. A second-row bench seat allows three additional passengers to ride in comfort and belted in, and a bulkhead keeps supplies and tools from hitting rear-seat occupants from behind.

According to Tecstar Automotive Group Executive VP Dave Hansen, “These vehicles are popular because of their large cargo area and interior versatility. However,in the interest of maximizing cargo space for tools and equipment, seating for additional crew members has not been addressed. Regency has solved that challenge by adding three passenger rear seats for crew members without significantly reducing cargo space.”

Hansen noted that standard features on the Regency Crew Van (RCV) include seating for five, safety restraint system, extended headliner, rechargeable flashlight, vinyl door panels with storage, first aid kit, cup holders, door pulls, and rear interior dome light.

“Many components for the RCV are safety and certified parts used by Regency in other models. The adaptation of these key items facilitated the fast-to-market approach for this project,” he added.

In addition to added seating capacity, the crew van has a quieter cabin. Regency included an extended headliner with soundproofing insulation, as well as a protective wall behind the rear seat. An optional composite rack-and-bin package supplied by Leggett and Platt helps reduce rattles and other noise from tools and equipment in the cargo area. Options include diesel engine, side- and rear-window screens, security tint, single- and double-ladder racks, and a utility carrier with a tie-down kit. Electronic options include a back-up camera with 5.6-inch screen and back-up safety beeper.