Narrowing down and researching the many options and many models of the current batch of cargo vans, has brought me to a more realistic comparison of the 3 most popular choices according to my personal preferences: Medium Roof and Long(er) Wheelbase.
- Ram Promaster 136” WB – High Roof – MSRP $30515
- Ford Transit 148” WB – Medium Roof – MSRP $32240
- MB Sprinter 144” WB – Higher Roof – MSRP $38490
As a cheapskate, I look for low price and few options and then install affordable after-market products, that are chosen with my own requirements in mind. To get the biggest bang for my buck, I will sparingly add exterior options that will substantially enhance its appearance.
The three models are very similar in size and implementation. Only the price difference of the Sprinter stands out, but that’s primarily due to its diesel engine. One of the decisions that I have to make, is between a diesel engine, with integrated diesel RV heating, such as from Eberspacher or a regular gas engine in combination with a propane heater, such as Propex in addition to a underfloor-mounted propane tank. Despite the unresolved heating issue, I tend to avoid the diesel option (price, more expensive repairs and maintenance and fewer dealers).
The Transit 250 has the lowest interior height (barely sufficient for me to stand upright in) from the 3 models and taller people may be better off with either a high roof Transit or the Sprinter/ProMaster.
According to my cheap ways, I avoid options such as backup camera/reversing sensors/etc., as I can add those later myself. For the purpose of an RV conversion, I find it necessary, to include a heavier alternator (230-Amp) and cruise control. Not absolutely necessary, but for a bit of luxury, a metallic paint job, a chrome grille and perhaps some upgraded wheels may be added.
Some brands offer needed factory options, such as the ProMaster with its swivel seat; others don’t. After-market products should be used, where factory options lack. The use of a small hauling trailer, requires wiring and hitch installation; still undecided about having them installed as an option or to do that myself too.
Right now, I tend to go with the Ford, because only the Transit has an option for All-Around Driver and Passenger-Side with Flip-Open Glass windows in combination with the dark privacy glass.
Another issue that needs attention, is where Ford offers a choice of:
- 3.73/4.10 rear axle ratio.
The higher ratio (4.10) should be better suited for heavy trailer towing. *
- Limited slip axle.
Should give more traction at low speeds, p.e. on ice/mud or on a sandy road and should make driving the RV on forest roads more worry free. *
* my mechanical car knowledge is extremely limited – this info is based on my current research and may not be correct.
Purely based on my personal preferences, The Ford Transit 250 Medium Roof 148” WB with some or all of the above options is currently my favorite choice, but until my final decision, both the ProMaster and somewhat less the Sprinter are still in the running.