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Sprinter vs. Transit vs. ProMaster: The Camper Van Shakedown

Sprinter vs. Transit vs. ProMaster Camper Vans

If you're considering converting a van for your next adventure, choosing the right vehicle is crucial. In this overview, we compare three popular options: the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ford Transit, and Ram ProMaster. Each of these vans has its own strengths and weaknesses, making them suitable for different types of van life enthusiasts.

Whether you prioritize all-wheel drive capability, interior space, or affordability, our detailed comparison will help you make an informed decision. Let's dive into the specifics of each van to see which one best suits your needs for your ultimate adventure on wheels.

Sprinter vs. Transit vs. ProMaster: The Shakedown

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a longstanding favorite in the adventure van market. Despite its higher MSRP, it stands out as the most refined option in its class.

Mercedes Sprinter Camper Van

For decades, enthusiasts have converted these cargo vans into mobile adventure machines, making them the most popular choice for van life. The Sprinter excels as both a daily driver and a weekend warrior, outpacing competitors like the Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster.

With options for diesel, gas, 2WD, and AWD, the Sprinter offers versatility, advanced safety technology, and numerous upgrades and accessories. It's also the longest van available, providing ample space for gear in your van conversion. Though these options are available, at Off Highway Van, we opt for the AWD, diesel Sprinter chassis in both the 144 and 170 high roof configurations.

Mercedes Sprinter Van Features

Best Features of Mercedes Sprinter Vans

  • AWD Availability The only van in this list with a factory AWD option, making it ideal for cold climates, overlanding, or those seeking extra assurance and traction offroad.

  • High Resale Value: Like other Mercedes vehicles, Sprinter vans maintain high resale values.

  • Greater Clearance: More clearance than the Transit or ProMaster, advantageous for off-roading or snow driving.

  • Driver and Front-Seat Comfort: More legroom, headroom, and ergonomic seating than the Transit and ProMaster.

  • Diesel Heater Compatibility: Diesel Sprinters can use Espar or Webasto heating systems without an auxiliary tank, as they connect directly to the fuel tank.

  • Aftermarket Support Largest selection of parts, accessories, and roof racks.

  • Customization Options Various upgrades in interior and exterior colors and materials.

  • Fuel Efficiency: Above-average MPG for fully built-out camper vans

Considering all of the features above, the Off Highway Van team has decided to build exclusively on the Mercedes Sprinter chassis for 2024+ camper van builds.

Ford Transit

The Ford Transit is gained popularity as a conversion van, especially in 2020 where models introduced an AWD option, capturing some of the market previously dominated by Sprinters.

Ford Transit Trail Camper Van

New Ford Transits offer features like power inverters for A/C hookups in the cargo area and the SYNC3 infotainment system, comparable to the Sprinter's MBUX system. Available in both diesel and gas, the Ecoboost motor offers a similar ride and fuel efficiency compared to the Sprinter.

Best Features of Ford Transit Vans

  • Wider Interior: Allows shorter people to sleep sideways without flares.

  • Extensive Service Network: Easier and cheaper to service due to Ford's widespread service centers.

Ford Transit Camper Van Features


  • Fewer Upgrade Options Less variety in interior and exterior upgrades compared to Sprinters, but still many aftermarket accessories available.

  • AWD Scarcity AWD only introduced in 2020, so it can still be difficult to source and harder to find

  • Lower Clearance Less suitable for rugged terrain compared to the Sprinter.

  • Fuel Efficiency Generally less fuel efficient than Sprinters

RAM ProMaster

The RAM ProMaster may have a smaller share of the conversion van market, but its "square-like" interior makes it easy to build out, often providing enough space to sleep sideways without flares.

RAM ProMaster Camper Van Features

Despite fewer aftermarket upgrades and lower clearance with no 4WD options, the ProMaster is easy to service and has accessible parts, with decent dealership coverage in most US cities.

While the ProMaster's aesthetic is polarizing, it remains an affordable option for conversions not intended for off-roading or heavy-duty use.

Best Features of RAM ProMaster Vans

  • Square-Shaped Interior Easier to build and plan than interiors with curved walls making it a DIYers dream

  • Affordability More affordable than the Transit or Sprinter.

  • Wide Body Convenient for sideways sleeping layouts.

RAM ProMaster Camper Van Features


  • No 4WD or AWD Option The ProMaster only comes in 2WD, front-wheel drive, making it less suitable for rough terrain or steep slopes. Best for flatter elevations.

  • Lower Power Less powerful than other vans in this category, making it unsuitable for towing heavy loads.

Reliability, Warranty, and Service Centers

When purchasing a new Sprinter, Transit, or ProMaster, a factory warranty is included, providing coverage for repairs and helping you avoid costly maintenance issues.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Mercedes Sprinters come with a basic warranty covering three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. This warranty excludes routine maintenance and wear items. The Powertrain warranty extends to five years or 100,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Mercedes Sprinter Factory Warranty

Additionally, Sprinters have a Limited Outer-Body Warranty valid for five years or 100,000 miles. All panels are covered for three years regardless of mileage. There is further protection against corrosion and perforation for the outer, finish-painted metal panels, lasting five years or 100,000 miles.

For added peace of mind, Off Highway Van opts for the 5 year 100K warranty standard. We also offer a limited lifetime warranty on all Off Highway Van craftsmanship. However, servicing a Sprinter can be challenging if you don't live near a metropolitan area, as Mercedes has fewer service centers than Ford, and only specific dealerships can handle cargo vans. To avoid this drawback, Off Highway Van has partnered with local shops across the country to provide you a service center no matter where you adventure.

Ford Transit

Ford Transit vans come with a three-year or 36,000-mile warranty, whichever comes first. The Powertrain warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Ford Transit Trail Reliability

Servicing a Transit is generally straightforward, as Ford dealerships are widespread across the country, making it easy to find one that can handle warranty claims or essential maintenance work.

Ram ProMaster

Ram ProMaster vans have a warranty similar to the Ford Transit, covering three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first, and a Powertrain warranty of five years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first.

RAM ProMaster Reliability

Servicing a ProMaster is typically easier than a Sprinter. Dodge dealerships are also common in most towns across the US, facilitating easy access to warranty claims and basic maintenance services.

Other Considerations For Your Camper Van

Ground Clearance For Offroad

The Mercedes Sprinter clinches the top spot, largely due to its ability to accommodate larger tires. The Ford Transit follows in second place, while the RAM ProMaster ranks last.

Offroad Sprinter Camper Van

When it comes to ground clearance, the Mercedes Sprinter excels. The wheel arch design of the previous generation allowed ample room for larger tires to be installed with ease. Although the latest Sprinter model can still fit larger-than-stock tires, it requires the addition of a trim kit for the front tires. This task is relatively straightforward but, based on my own experience, more challenging than the sellers often suggest.

Ford Transit Van Offroad

The Ford Transit is restricted to its stock tire size, even with a lift kit, placing it second for ground clearance. The RAM ProMaster, on the other hand, comes in last due to its FWD architecture, which includes a stabilizer bar between the rear wheels for added stability when loaded. Unfortunately, this bar (and the added sensors) significantly reduces the van's ground clearance and as of 2021+ removes your ability to add a lift kit to your van. 

What About Resale?

Whether you love it or hate it, the Mercedes Sprinter stands out as the top choice for retaining value. The Ford Transit holds its value reasonably well, securing second place. In contrast, the RAM ProMaster has the highest depreciation among the vans, landing it in last place.

Mercedes Sprinter Resale Value

If you're considering van life but aren’t sure if the investment will pay off, the Sprinter is your best option. Its enduring popularity means you are unlikely to lose much money on the venture.

The Ford Transit has become more popular as people seek alternatives to the Sprinter, which helps maintain prices for converted Ford Transit vans. However, now that the price point is nearly identical to the Sprinter, they have once again lost market share. 

Ready To Build Your Offroad Adventure Van?

If you're ready to build your very own offroad camper van, talk to the experts at Off Highway Van! They can walk you through our process, build timelines, and more.


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