Together, the Mercedes Sprinter and the Ford Transit van dominate the light commercial vehicle market. The Sprinter has been hugely popular since it first appeared in 1995, while the iconic Transit van has become ubiquitous, and will forever be the associated with the legendary ‘white van man’. But which is the better van for you? Here we compare the long wheel base version of the Transit with the latest model of the Sprinter.
The long wheel base Transit can carry a massive 1400 kg, whereas the Sprinter can only manage (a still impressive) 900 kg. So if you need to carry particularly heavy loads then the LWB Transit will be the best option. However, the Sprinter is more than capable of carrying most loads and is a favourite with many couriers.
The Mercedes Sprinter has a rear cabin measuring 2.6 metres and it can comfortably hold two standard pallets. The longest version of the Transit is a whopping 3.4 metres long, which means it can handle a whole extra pallet. If you regularly transport larger quantities then the Transit is the van. If you mostly deal with lighter, mixed loads, as many couriers do, the Sprinter may be the vehicle for you.
Because they are considerably shorter than the LWB Transit, Sprinters are more suited to urban driving. For example using the Mercedes vans around Birmingham city centre may be more sensible than trying to manipulate the longer Transit.
Both vans are relatively economical. On average, a Ford Transit running on diesel, will manage around 29 miles per gallon. The new Sprinter, released in 2014, can manage a much more impressive 43 miles per gallon, which makes it by far the most fuel efficient vehicle in its class. If you tend to pile up the mileage, investing in a Sprinter could save you lots of cash in the long run.
The Mercedes Sprinter is more expensive than the Transit, but also comes with a whole host of safety features and options that the Ford just can’t match. The Sprinter also holds its value much better than the Transit.
When shopping for a Mercedes sprinter vans or Transit, the bargains are often to be found where commercial vehicles are more concentrated. Used Mercedes vans for sale in Birmingham, for example, are likely to be significantly cheaper that their equivalent for sale in rural areas.
Appearance and comfort
The new range of Sprinters are undoubtedly much better looking than the boxy Ford Transit. The Mercedes is also much more comfortable in the cabin and is available with many more options.
In summary, if you don’t need to carry very heavy loads, and rarely have more than two pallets worth of goods on board, the more economical Sprinter is probably your best bet. If you regularly move larger, heavier loads, then you may want to go for the LWB Transit. However, the Ford is much longer and much less efficient. In addition, the Sprinter looks better, drives better and will hold more of its value than the Ford, so you will recoup more of your outlay should you come to sell the van on.