Mercedes Sprinter vs. Ford Transit: What’s the difference?

When deciding which camper van is right for you, you may be asking yourself: Mercedes Sprinter or Ford Transit?

Storyteller Overland builds three models on the Mercedes Sprinter (the Classic, Stealth and Beast MODEs) and one model on the Ford Transit (the MODE LT). While the interior cabin of each model is mostly the same, other things are different, like interior height and serviceability.

Questions you’ll need to ask yourself are…
Am I OK with using diesel to fill my gas tank and maintaining it with diesel engine fluid?
Will I need an extra two inches of headspace?
What Ford and Mercedes service options are available near me?
What’s my budget?

Keep reading for a full breakdown of the Sprinter vs. Transit vans made by Storyteller Overland.

Fuel requirements

The Ford Transit fills up with regular gasoline, while the Mercedes Sprinter only accepts diesel. There are pros and cons to both.

Regular gasoline is easier to come by than diesel. Not all gas stations offer diesel, and it's typically a higher price per gallon than regular.

Using diesel also means using diesel exhaust fluid. So every seven or eight times you fill up the gas tank of your Sprinter, you'll also need to pop the hood and add a couple gallons of DEF. 

However, the Sprinter models are typically more fuel efficient than the Ford Transit.

The Transit fuel capacity is 31 gallons, and the Sprinter fuel capacity is 24.5 gallons.

The Sprinters have a 3.0L Turbo Diesel V6 engine, while the Ford Transit has a 3.5L EcoBoost® V6 engine. Driving the Ford Transit feels more like driving an SUV.

Length, width and height

Storyteller’s Classic, Stealth and Beast MODE camper vans are all manufactured on the Mercedes Sprinter 144” wheelbase. The interior height on these models is 6’3”, and the DreamWeaver bed folds out to a length of 78” at its longest point.

The MODE LT on the Ford Transit comes in a little bit longer, wider and taller than the Sprinters. It’s manufactured on a 148” wheelbase. There’s an extra two inches of headspace – the interior height of the LT is 6’5”. It’s also two inches wider at the bed, with a total of 80” at its longest point.

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Serviceability

Ford is known for its accessibility, so driving a Ford Transit camper van typically means you'll have lower maintenance costs, you'll get parts quicker, and it will be easier to service your van. 

4Ă—4 vs. AWD

The Mercedes Sprinter camper vans currently come with four wheel drive, while all Ford Transit vans have all wheel drive. However, starting in 2023, Mercedes will begin manufacturing its Sprinters on an all wheel drive system.

From the Mercedes website: "The new Sprinter AWD system gives drivers enhanced steering feel, better maneuverability and safety add-ons, all while keeping the ground clearance, approach, departure and breakover angle the same as the previous 4x4 system."

Technology

If you hate parking large vehicles, then you’ll love how the Sprinter vans offer 360-degree surround view cameras. While the Ford Transit only offers a standard backup camera, there are aftermarket cameras you can add to the MODE LT if this piece of technology is important to you.

The MODE LT is the only Storyteller model that offers remote start. Both vehicles have keyless entry.

The Sprinter vans come with heated driver and passenger seats, and they come in leather. The seats on the LT are cloth.

Both van options have CarPlay, and the Sprinter vans also have wireless smartphone charging.

Price

The MODE LT is Storyteller Overland’s most affordable adventure van, coming in at $171,429 in 2023. So the Ford Transit offers a more affordable camper van.

But the Classic MODE on the Sprinter chassis isn’t much more expensive: $175,887 in 2023. You won’t notice much difference in price until you look at the other Storyteller models on the Sprinter: the Stealth MODE is currently $188,941, and the Beast MODE is $218,620.

Things they have in common

The interior of every Storyteller Overland adventure van has trademarked elements that you can’t get anywhere else. This includes the Dreamweaver™ bed/convertible work surface, the GrooveLounge™ 2-Seater convertible sofa bed, the Halo Interior Shower™ system (folds up into a cabinet!) and the FlexSpace™ concealed shower pan.

Each galley has a stainless steel sink with a folding faucet, exterior fold down table (perfect for cooking outside), a dual voltage refrigerator/freezer, a stainless steel microwave and a portable induction cooktop.

The vans are all also insulated with sheep’s wool, which not only offers a quieter drive but will also keep you warmer on cool nights.

See it in person

Ready to see a side-by-side comparison in person? The Storyteller team is traveling all across the country on our tour, and we promise to bring at least one van from each chassis to every Overland Expo and Adventure Van Expo. Come hang out with us!


You can also reach out to your nearest Storyteller Overland dealer to find a Storyteller Overland for sale. We're based in Birmingham, AL but have dealerships across the country.

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