Sprinter vs Promaster – Which is better for a van conversion

sprinter vs promaster

Throughout the van build you’ll be suffocated by indecision. There are just so many options and one of the first is which van should I get?

Here are some things we considered when weighing up whether to go for the ever so popular sprinter vs promaster. (Relay in Europe)

What is your budget
You should consider not only your budget for the van purchase but also the total budget from start to finish, including any upgrades or modifications. Knowing you’re all in budget may mean the difference between van model years, or even make the decision on the make of van you will purchase.
The Amount of Space You NEED
Notice we bolded NEED; this is because it is very easy to expand the area you think you might need to include things that are truly unnecessary. Figure out your absolute necessary and give yourself some room for a little added luxury.
Technical knowledge
In a perfect world, nothing would ever go wrong with your home on wheels. However, the reality is that at some point you are going to have to be under the hood. This is going to be especially important if you decide to buy used versus a newer model that may be under factory warranty. Knowing, or being willing to learn at least the basics can be a determining factor in your purchase.
Plans
If you already know that you will be moving into this van full time, then this should be easy. However, if you are still on the fence and may want to consider having a travel camper now, but maybe using it as a full-time home in the future, there may be some additional things to consider before buying. Knowing your plan at least in the short term is going to save you headaches later on.

Sprinter vs Promaster head to head

Mercedes Sprinter

Pros:

  • Larger headroom – 0.75 inches higher
  • 325 pounds of torque
  • Diesel engine – better fuel mileage
  • Made in the United States
  • Option to purchase completely raw
  • Established community of Sprinter owners
  • Rear wheel drive or 4×4 option

Cons:

  • Costs of parts and repairs are generally higher
  • Lower payload and towing capacity

Mercedes Sprinter Stats

Average Purchase Cost (National)

New 2019 models = $40,740

2014 Used Model in Excellent Condition = $29,552

Servicing/ Cost of Ownership

Calculating the average cost of ownership including taxes, maintenance, insurance, and depreciation, the average 5-year cost of ownership on a newly purchases Mercedes Sprinter is approximately $55,612.

Specs

Engine Options

161-hp, 2.1-liter I-4 (diesel) OR 188-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 (diesel)

Drivetrain

Rear-wheel drive; 7-speed automatic with overdrive and auto-shift manual transmission (2.1L Diesel) OR 5-speed automatic transmission with overdrive (3.0L Diesel)

Fuel Capacity

22.0 gallons

Exterior

Size: 233.54 x 92.3 x 114.2 inches; Wheelbase of 144 inches

Protection from Rust and Corrosion: 60 month/100,000miles standard

Optional Accessories and Aftermarket Additions

There are several optional accessories when purchasing a new Mercedes Sprinter, these include:

  • Comfort Overhead Control Panel
  • Navigation
  • Exterior Lighting Package
  • Parking Package with Back Up Camera
  • Comfort Package
  • Comfort Plus Package
  • Driver Convenience Package
  • High-Performance Air Conditioning
  • Parking Package W/360 Degree Camera
  • Passenger Accessibility Package
  • Premium Package
  • Premium Plus Package
  • Rear Comfort Package
  • Stabilization Level II
  • Painted Metallic Front & Rear Bumpers
  • Security Alarm with Interior Motion Sensor
  • Electrically Adjustable Driver Seat
  • Electrically Adjustable Front Passenger Seat
  • Wheels: 16″ X 6.5J Light-Alloy

Dodge Promaster

Pros:

  • Powerful engine
  • Increased payload and towing capacity
  • More maneuverability

Cons:

  • Smaller wheelbase
  • Smaller cargo space (potential living space of 259.0 ft3)

Now that you have seen the pros and cons, let’s get into some of the specifics about the Dodge Promaster,

Average Purchase Cost (National)

New 2019 models = $29,180

2014 Used Model in Excellent Condition = $20,708

Servicing/ Cost of Ownership

Calculating the average cost of ownership including taxes, maintenance, insurance, and depreciation, the average 5-year cost of ownership on a newly purchases Mercedes Sprinter is approximately $51,509.

Specs

Engine Options

280-hp, 3.6-liter V-6 (regular gas) OR 174-hp, 3.0-liter I-4 (diesel)

Drivetrain

Front wheel drive, 6-speed auto-shift manual transmission with overdrive (3.6L) or 6-speed automatic with overdrive and 6-speed auto-shift manual transmission (3.0L Diesel)

Fuel Capacity

24.0 gallons

Exterior

Size: 195.4 x 97.6 x 91.7 inches; Wheelbase of 118 inches

Protection from Rust and Corrosion: 60 month/100,000miles standard

Optional Accessories and Aftermarket Additions

There are several optional accessories when purchasing a new Dodge Promaster, these include:

  • Mopar Interior Cargo Rack Package
  • Mopar Spray-On Floor Liner
  • Mopar Remote Start System
  • Mopar Trailer Tow Group
  • Driver Swivel Seat
  • Passenger Swivel Seat

CategoryMercedes SprinterDodge Promaster
Drivetrain4x2 or 4x4Front Wheel Drive
Max Engine Size3.0L V6 Diesel3.6L V6
Max Torque Capacity325 lbs./ft260 lbs./ft
Fuel Tank22 gallons24 gallons
Cargo Size319.1 ft3259.0 ft3
Head Room66.5 inches65.4 inches
Maximum Towing Capacity5000 lbs.5100 lbs.
5-year Cost of Ownership**$55,612$51,509
Best for Low-Cost CamperX
Best for Off-Grid CamperX
Best for ModificationsX

Some great examples you can see on Instagram

Sprinter Van Conversion Example or search #sprintervanconversion

Promaster Van Conversion Example or search #promastervanconversion

Verdict

Obviously, you are going to make your final decision based on your own personal needs and desires. However, when looked at from a purely analytically standpoint the clear numbers-based winner is the Mercedes Sprinter. Not only does the Sprinter offer more cargo space, but they have been using diesel engines in the Sprinter longer than it has been an option for the Promaster. As an added bonus, you can easily order a completely bare Sprinter so you eliminate the trouble of removing what you will not need.

Wrap Up

We’ve shown you the specifics now it is your turn to make the ultimate decision on which van you want to make into your very own home away from home. You can choose to do all of the modifications yourself or commission the work done by one of many custom shops. Thankfully, the rise in popularity of these types of conversions makes the availability of DIY kits and custom shops more abundant. When you have made your conversion, make sure to give us a peek at your new home. We look forward to seeing what you come up with.

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