The Ford Transit Vs Mercedes Sprinter debate was one that I really didn’t want to get in to.  For the simple reason that they are both great options.  BUT there are differences so doing a little homework like you’re doing is a smart move.

When we were in the market for a van in 2015 we knew one thing for sure, we needed 4-wheel drive.  Where we live in Idaho there is far too much snow during winter that even 4×4’s get stuck in our driveway.

This need quickly narrowed things down for us.  Our two options were the 4×4 Sprinter or the Ford Transit with a 4×4 conversion.

The Sprinter in 2015 had just started importing their 4×4 model and likewise, the Ford Transit for 2015 started importing their 2wd model.

What About The Dodge Promaster?

While we didn’t particularly care for the look of the Dodge Promaster there were some things we really liked about it.

First of all, the interior is more spacious and has straighter walls than both the Transit and Sprinter.  This would certainly make for an easier build out.

We also liked that it was front-wheel drive.  That however was also its downfall for us because nobody was doing 4wd conversions for it.  Perhaps they are now but I haven’t heard of any.

But for someone that didn’t need 4wd and for occasional snowy roads, I think the Promaster would be a better choice than a rear-wheel drive option. 

Ford Transit Vs Mercedes Sprinter Price Comparison

I’ll be using current prices for 2019 for comparison but back in 2015 the price difference was even greater than it is today.  When Sprinter was the only show in town they could get away with anything.

ford transit vs mercedes sprinter

Ford Transit

Long and tall base model with diesel engine

  • $45,000

4×4 Conversion by Quad Van or Quigley

  • $12,000

For a total of:

  • $57,000
ford transit vs mercedes sprinter

Mercedes Sprinter

Long and tall base model with diesel engine

  • $50,000

4×4 option

  • $59,200

Prices are very similar especially with the 4×4 option thrown in the mix.  Now let’s discuss some pros and cons for the Ford Transit Vs Mercedes Sprinter.

Ford Transit

Pros

  • Ford service centers are everywhere and more affordable.  Parts are readily available.
  • 4×4 conversion is much more robust than the Sprinter AWD/4WD
  • Higher towing capacity at 6,900 lbs

Cons

  • It’s not a dam Mercedes.  The interior options and finish are not as nice.
  • Tire size options – can’t go as big as the Sprinter unless you go 4×4 which adds 2 inch lift
  • Payload capacity 4,640 lbs

Mercedes Sprinter

Pros 

  • Interior finish
  • Factory 4WD
  • Better tire size options
  • Payload capacity 4,879

Cons 

  • Costly and hard to find service centers.  Sourcing parts often more difficult.
  • 4WD system not as robust
  • Towing capacity 5,000 lbs

Ford Transit Interior Specs

Cargo 130″ Wheelbase

Medium Roof:

Interior Standing Space- 6′ 0″ tall

Cargo Volume- 315.2 cu. ft.

High Roof:

Interior Standing Space- 6′ 8″

Cargo Volume- 404.3 cu. ft.

Cargo 148″ WB

Medium Roof:

Interior Standing Space- 6′ 0″ tall

Cargo Volume- 357.1 cu. ft.

High Roof:

Interior Standing Space- 6′ 8″

Cargo Volume- 404.3 cu. ft.

Cargo 148″ WB (Extended Length LONG)

High Roof:

Interior Standing Space- 6′ 8″

Cargo Volume- 487.3 cu. ft.

Mercedes Sprinter Interior Specs

Cargo 144″ Wheelbase

Standard Roof:

Interior Standing Space- 5′ 5″ tall

Cargo Volume- 319.1 cu. ft.

High Roof:

Interior Standing Space- 6 ft. 4 in.

Cargo Volume- 373.7 cu. ft.

Cargo 170″ WB

High Roof:

Interior Standing Space- 6′ 4″

Cargo Volume- 486.5 cu. ft.

Cargo 170″ WB EXTENDED:

High Roof:

Interior Standing Space- 6′ 4″

Cargo Volume- 530 cu. ft

Detailed Specs including interior and exterior dimensions

Why We opted for the Ford Transit

The whole Ford Transit Vs Mercedes Sprinter debate will live on forever. Lucky for you they are both fine options.

For us it came down to service centers.  Where we lived the closest Mercedes service center was a couple hundred miles away.

We also knew that we liked to travel off the main drag and finding a Ford service center was always going to be an easier option.

While the more robust 4×4 is nice, in reality I’m not rock crawling this thing so one could argue it probably doesn’t matter.  It does however feel good knowing it’s there if you need it. 

The Quadvan 4×4 conversion we went with is a factory certified upgrade using mostly Ford parts so it remains easy to work on and does not affect the warranty.

Final thoughts

For those that are looking for something used and don’t need 4×4, you’ll have a lot more options from Sprinter since they’ve been around longer.  I would also take a good look at the Dodge Promaster as well.

As far as the price goes here are my thoughts.  If you’re taking the van to a full outfitter and throwing down 80K for a build than the price difference between Transit and Sprinter is negligible.  Get whatever you want.

For a DIY van build, $5,000 makes a big difference.  In fact, $5,000 will cover you for just about everything.  Diesel heater, Solar, Batteries, Water system, Ceiling fan, and a fridge.  Plus a bunch more!

You can build out a really nice campervan for $5,000.  

Well I hope this helps get you moving in the right direction and we’re looking forward to meeting you on the road.  As always let us know if you have any questions.

Don’t forget to save this to your favorite social media so you can find it later

Oh, and be sure to follow us!

If you\'re in the market for a new van find out why we chose the Ford Transit for our campervan build. While the Mercedes Sprinter is a great option, we found some compelling reasons to make the Ford Transit our foundation for a DIY van build.