Mercedes vs other brands


Well-known member
@ptheland - those numbers seem to be on the extreme end of things. Some comments:

I've been thinking of going to a Transit if I decide to sell my Sprinter some day, but then I read this yesterday, and start thinking I'd never buy a Ford hearing this complete BS:
Ho Ho!
The Ford Getrag transmission saga! DISASTER in one word
That is well worth a long read at least.
Thanks for posting that because it demonstrates just how things can go wrong in the auto industry and it all boils down to cost and price pointing.
Having spent a career at manufacturing level I can equate!

It makes MB's Blurrtech experience a just a hicough or hiccup by comparison.:bounce:
At least with MB they seem to have got it right after about 9 years, must have been a ponderous task .:laughing:

Sadly that Ford Getrag set up was a "no hoper ", I even bought one (Fiesta) plus two take out transmission to see if I could rectify what is a simple version of the big truck easy shift manual transmission.
I fixed the marginal seal problem (or shall I say improved) but grace laid a hand!
Someone drove into the beast at Colorado Mills Mall & it went to the crusher.

Some might say it all those Fiestas should have gone there from day #1:lol:

High on the gripe list is BMW Mini.
Go there and read consumer reports on that luverly auto rendition and the Sprinter will be a gem in comparison.
Keep on trucking
Last edited:


2013 144" low top Passgr
@ptheland - those numbers seem to be on the extreme end of things. Some comments:
Fair enough. But let me comment as well.

- oil changes are expensive ($140 in parts if you don't find them on sale), but only every 20k miles (I do mine at 10k)
Oil changes vary by model year. Mine (2013) calls for 10k oil changes. And there is a lot more to periodic maintenance than oil changes. Engine air filter. Cabin air filter (I have 2 of those, with the rear A/C having its own). Fuel filter. That's just for starters.

- brakes last a very long time, so they are actually cheap considering you can go 80k plus miles out of them
Brake longevity is a function of how the van is driven. A long-distance expeditor is going to get a lot more miles out of brakes than a plumber making several house calls a day in the city. My Sprinter is for personal use, but a lot closer to the latter than the former.

- roof leak issue really stinks.
Agreed. It has apparently taken Mercedes more than a decade to figure this one out. That's absolutely crazy.

- DEF tank and fuel pump are not terribly common replacement items, but that is a good example of how a expensive these vans can be due to being a Mercedes.
I hear a lot of complaints here about DEF tank problems here, generally requiring replacement. I suspect that may be more common than you think. I'll agree that the fuel pump is probably an outlier. But there are always going to be outliers. You just don't know what outlier is going to crop up for you. And whatever it is, it's probably going to cost a grand or two. Nothing much is cheap on these vans.

I've been thinking of going to a Transit if I decide to sell my Sprinter some day, but then I read this yesterday, and start thinking I'd never buy a Ford hearing this complete BS:
I've thought about a Transit as well. I see two particular benefits that most people would see: better network of both dealer and independent shops, and generally slightly cheaper parts - mainly due to volume (lots of drive train parts shared with pickuup trucks). I'm fortunate to be close to a couple of Sprinter dealers. So most service isn't tough to obtain (except for the cost). But that doesn't help much when you're contemplating a road trip to visit family 400 - 1500 miles away.

Another benefit for my particular situation is that I like to keep cars for a long time. My Sprinter replaced a 15+ year old minivan. And the other car I still have is now 20 years old. That's much more doable with a Ford than a Mercedes. (Even more doable with a Honda, which is that 20 year old car. But Honda doesn't sell full size vans in the US.)

I will likely switch to a Transit some time down the road. I just don't yet know when that time is. For now, the Sprinter is working for me. The devil I know is preferable to the devil I don't know.


Wherever you go, there you are.
And whatever it is, it's probably going to cost a grand or two. Nothing much is cheap on these vans.
Nothing is cheap on anything anymore unless you do it yourself. I have a 2000 Toyota 4Runner 4WD, and it needs new shocks (front and rear). Since it has 235K miles on it, I thought replacing the coil springs at the same time as the shocks would make sense. Oh, and throw in new top mounts for the front shocks, and an alignment. I was expecting about $1,000. Much to my surprise the quote comes back $1,755. $125/hour for labor, ok. Parts markups on the quote are 50% to 100% over what I can buy the same parts for retail. This adds up. I'm not surprised that a speciality part (MB DEF tank with heater, for example) costs what it does all things considered.


Well-known member

”I have been driving Toyota for a while now, so reliability is a huge luxury to me.”

......if Toyota made a Sprinter i wish
My last Toyota was a new 2011 tundra and that thing was the worst new vehicle I’ve owned as far as build quality and time spent in shop during the warranty period.

Toyota quality isn’t what it once was.
I’ve owned new and used Toyota since 1988.
Last edited:


2012 Sprinter 3500 Ext
I just recently reviewed my Y-O-Y Total Maintenance Cost for the 11.5 years of ownership since new. It is $1730 cad/ $1305 usd. Other than changing light-bulbs, all labour done by shops.
I've had my Sprinter since October 2012. Total expenditure for maintenance was $19,584 or about $2,797 USD/year for seven years and just over 120,000 miles. Those numbers include two sets of tires, new shocks and one DEF Tank Heater replacement. All work done at Mercedes or Freightliner dealers.


Active member
Promoster: best interior space usage - they're huge. Cheapest to buy and great dealer network. Downside: funky axle makes ground clearance a challenge. The trans is super slow to shift due to the auto-clutch design.
Former ProMaster owner here, so a few comments:

"Best interior space" - check.

"Cheapest to buy" - check

"Great dealer network" - not so much. Lotsa dealers, but not all are ProMaster friendly.

"Funky axle makes ground clearance a challenge" - The PM is front wheel drive with the usual independent front strut suspension and half shafts. The rear suspension is simple leaf springs with a steel box beam connecting the rear wheels. Yes, it's a little low - about the same clearance as under the diff on a Sprinter. I drive a lot of forest roads and dinged a bowling ball size rock once. Can't recommend rock crawling though.

"The trans is super slow to shift due to the auto-clutch design." - Only the diesel had the automated manual transmission and has not been imported since 2016. Only gas engine PMs now, which have the same V6 w/automatic transmission as found in Dodge/Chrysler minivans.
The diesel gets 24 - 28 mpg routinely, versus 17 - 20 for the gas motor.

I had a 2016 diesel for about 18 months. Bought with 28K miles sold with 47K miles. No problems at all. The transmission is an acquired taste, but I came to really like it.
Last edited:


I paid $750 for lifetime oil changes at my MB dealer (negotiated into my Sprinter deal) . It covers 2 oil changes a year. I figured I'd my money back in a few years...


Active member
Back in 2011 we were renting Ford Vans to get our band and equipment around the Southeast USA. It took 2 van, a passenger and an equipment van, both burning gas, tools and rental fees. We looked into purchasing a van and found it would be vastly cheaper, even though we would need a trailer for equipment. (Remember: Almost all rentals prohibit towing a trailer, hence 2 vans)
We test drove the Fords and the Chevys but were not really happy with either. Lots of road noise, a fight to keep driving straight in any wind, and really poor gas milage. We were driving past a Mercedes dealership and saw the Sprinters out front. They were closed (Sunday) so we looked expecting the price to be way out of our range. BIG surprise...they were only $8,000 more than the other vans, were bigger and had enough room (in the 170) for passengers and equipment. Win, Win! We ended up with a 2012 2500 170 12-Passenger van off the lot and got a decent deal. It worked perfectly for our needs and served us well for 8 years.
We felt it was time to upgrade before the van might start exhibiting any problems (we need total reliability) and found lots of new vans have been released since our last purchase. The Ford Transits, Nissans and the 2019 Sprinter. All were far better than the old Fords and Chevys we had tried before. Out of all of them, the Passenger Sprinter still provided the highest quality feel, tightness and least road noise. The bonus was the addition of the MBUX system and all the high-tech features like adaptive-cruise, lane assist, and many more. Add our experience with the 2012 with almost zero issues sold me. Unfortunately, Amazon ordered over 20,000 vans and getting one would prove to be a challenge. Especially a custom order. Last January, we put a deposit down on a 2019 2500 170 15-passenger Sprinter fully loaded with the exception of the 4x4. In June, we finally got a build date, in August. Right before it was built, we got word the red metallic color we wanted was not available so we changed to the Tenorite Grey Metallic. They also removed the electric sliding door and LED lighing due to technical issues. It was built the first week of August and finally delivered just before October.
The color is actually really nice and I don't know what I am missing with the LED lights. I really do miss the electric sliding door as it is very hard to close consistantly and get the electric step to retract.
The Driver's door was difficult to close so the dealer adjusted it and it works fine now. I had an issue with the MercedesPRO account on the MBUX system but it was a configuration error on their end that was fixed once they figured it out.
Other than that, we have really enjoyed the van. I removed a 3-seat row of seats in the back and moved the 4-row seat up a row. (now a 12 passenger). I added a shelf over the driver/co-driver, shelves down the driver's side of the van over the windows and added a partition behind the rear seats and covered the windows with a cage to keep the equipment in the back. Added L-Track to the walls in the back to strap in the equipment. A few little additions like adding mirrors to some of the head-rest backs so the girls can apply makeup during the trip and hooks on the passenger side of the partition for hanging clothes. They hang behind the rear seats in the 5" gap between the partition and the seats.
The Sprinter works perfectly for our needs. One consideration we had was our instruments need to stay in the climate controlled part of the van. Violins, Cellos and upright Bass don;t live long in a trailer so the 170 Sprinter eliminates the need for a trailer. We did add a hitch to the van, just in case we ever do need more equipment space.
My wife is always complaining about the horns in the vans. She thinks they should be louder and scarier, being a huge van and all. I removed the front grille and replaced the 'wimpy' horn with a 150db train horn. My wife loves it. Other cars stop in their tracks when we blow it at them for pulling out in front of us. Sounds like death is imminent.
We also negotiated the first 4 service intervals in the price. We have purchased 9 vehicles from this dealership group so they take care of us. We got the van for several thousand dollars off MSRP and we got the 2.9% financing special MB was offering.
The last thing I have planned for it at this time are floor mats for the Driver and co-driver. WeatherTech just released to mats for the cargo van, but said the Passenger van mats will be coming soon.
If you have any questions, I am happy to answer them. I didn't spend enough time test driving the other makes to really comment on them beyond my specific needs, but I pretty much know the 2019 Passenger van inside and out.

Top Bottom