ProMaster vs Transit vs Sprinter: Which Van Should I Choose as My Camper?
Updated: Dec 9, 2022
Building your dream campervan begins with choosing the right base – the foundation upon which your home on wheels will be created. And in the campervan market, there are three models that stand head and shoulders above the rest:
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, the Ford Transit and the Ram ProMaster.
Settling on the best van can be tricky: it’s not just about the upfront cost, you also need to think about ongoing maintenance and running costs, the size and layout, and the sort of roads the van will be asked to handle.
To clear these muddy waters, let’s take a quick look at a few of the main considerations – even though we’re a proud Motor City team, we promise we’ll do our best to stay impartial!
Unsurprisingly, upfront cost is the major consideration for anyone interested in building their own campervan. Looking at nothing more than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), it’s a comfortable win for the Ram ProMaster. The Ford Transit is reasonably priced, while you pay a European premium for the German vehicle.
We’ve compared maintenance on two counts: cost and availability. In terms of cost, the Transit and ProMaster are once again difficult to split, with repairpal.com putting their annual repair costs at $866 and $859 respectively. While the service center will serve you perfectly brewed espresso while you wait, that doesn’t account for the fact that the Sprinter’s annual costs are more than double the other models, at $1778/year.
Which is the easiest to get serviced? The wealth of Ram and Ford dealers across the country make it a flip of the coin between the two local products (with Ford just in front.) Mercedes-Benz dealers are a little harder to come by, being rarely found outside of big cities.
The reason the ProMaster comes out on top in this category is less about the physical dimensions (although it is the widest) than it is about the beautifully square shape of the cargo hold, which makes it incredibly simple to fit out. The Transit and Sprinter are difficult to split.
How does it handle? If you’re talking about the Ford Transit, really well. AWD ensures
the rubber is always gripping to the road, whether smooth interstate or steep and bumpy dirt. The Sprinter offers similar AWD grip, although it feels less nimble than the Ford Transit – more obvious that you’re driving a cargo van, in our eyes at least. The reason the ProMaster finds itself at the bottom of the heap is because it’s a front wheel drive vehicle, which, when the rear is fully fitted out and the weight is more on the rear wheels, isn’t ideal. We wouldn’t go off-roading in the Ram (although it does use less gas.)
Which is the right van for you? That’s not for us to answer. But hopefully this little comparison has given you a better idea of the strengths and weaknesses of each.
And if you’d like more advice on not just the right van for you, but kitting it out as a camper too, get in contact with the friendly team at Drifter today!