Sprinter or Transit?

So, do you come here for a pep talk or for objective data and informed opinions?
Seems to me that a longstanding member who has owned both brands is particularly valuable. Opposite of a troll, I would think.
I think it's been 5 yrs sense Dave traded his Sprinter for a Transit and he still is on this forum trashing Sprinters. I bet he's posted going into LHM with his Sprinter a hundred times. Try bashing Transits on there forum. There have been lots of complaints about Dave's negativity, Avanti, you and a few others defend him which makes you and Dave's pals no better. I sold my Sprinter motorhome a couple yrs ago with 239,000 miles, last I heard it was closing in on 300,000 with the original engine and transmission, I'm driving a different brand now, I have my likes and dislikes about the Sprinter, I still like to see them rolling down the highway, racking up the miles. One thing I won't do is come on this forum and talk trash about Sprinters. This forum is so poorly moderated I don't know why any Sprinter enthusiast would want to take part in it.
 

aviatordoc

Member
I'd rather be treated as a MB owner at an MB dealership than a ford owner at a ford dealership. Money is not the problem for me.
aside, I have had good service and a great van.
YMMV
 
I just tested a 2020 Transit AWD HR 148 Cargo tonight with modest options and unfortunately the basic 6 cylinder. I also then went to drive a Sprinter Crew 144 4X4 with not many options. I was struck by just how MUCH HIGHER the Sprinter is lifted. It's like a tower!

Build quality:
MB is a standard deviation better than the Transit. The amount of rustproofing wax/material under the vehicle now is mind-boggling. The sheet metal feels like a thicker gauge and fit and finish are just better.
Ford: Like all Ford products, high production oozes from this van. Underbody has so many little cracks and crevices that are open that will cause this sardine can to start to show rust after one Minnesota winter.

Engine:
MB: Diesel is a solid performer if maintained properly with not user error issues, i.e. window washer fluid in DEF tank. I think it gets a bad wrap but I don't know enough about them. I have seen enough average mechanics be able to change out the oil and fuel filter, so that seems manageable.
Ford: Econoboost.... not much I can add. It is an awesome engine, but I did not get a chance to try it yet. The V6 was unremarkable but yet sufficient. However, it did seem to have a little trouble settling in on the powerband upon initial acceleration.


Tanny or Tcase:
MB: I noticed no unusual sound and it seemed to run just fine
Ford: The engine just seemed to struggle to find its range. It's hard to explain, but it just didn't seem as smooth as I had hoped for. I really wanted to try the Ecoboost, but they didn't have it.

Ride:
MB is like riding in a high semi. You tower over all the other vehicles near and far. The ride was tight and deliberate and fun. It rode down the Freeway well and straight with no steering wheel movement.
Ford, felt more like a minivan and was easy to drive. You sit lower and therefore don't feel like you are in a truck

Seats:
MB: Nice quality but my short legs found the seats to be a little long. I was testing the cheapest vinyl seat available
Ford: Entry-level cloth seats were surprisingly comfortable

Dash:
MB: Nice and pleasing with solid materials. I was surprised at how easy it was to use the basic backup camera on the rear view mirror.
Ford: Lots of storage and a nice big screen to view surroundings.

Visibility:
MB: Great
Ford: Great

Price:
Ford 15-20% less expensive depending on the options. However, for all those folks looking to use for conversion, for 2021 Ford has the Adventure Prep Package with about $6K worth of goodies for $4K.

Off road:
MB: For all those Sprinter 4X4 haters, I would just ask you to watch this video of a guy who took a "stock" low roof Sprinter 4X4 up the Imogene Pass from Telluride to Ouray. I would not want to try this in a Sprinter due to off-road driving inexperience. However, I did do this in a Jeep Wrangler Sahara "stock", but would have prefered a Rubicon.
Ford: Hard to say.... until there are enough guys out there with lift AWD who have "first hand" experience.

Conclusion:
Go with your gut and what you are comfortable with. Don't let money be the motivator, buy whatever floats your boat. The Sprinter does command a solid resale if that motivates you. But given the prices of used Transits, they hold their value well also.

I am still deciding and until I figure this out, I am driving this.
 

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danski0224

Active member
I haven't seen any rusted out Transits on the road in my area yet...

Transit has clear coat paint.

Of course, the 2015 or so and up Sprinters seem to be holding up ok (rusting).

No desire on my part to buy a new one of either at this time.
 

Sprinter SS

Member
Have you seen the Long and Tall Transits wheelbase? Weird...it has what looks like 7' of rear overhang.
 

synergy_58

2009 Navion and 2015 Crew
Have you seen the Long and Tall Transits wheelbase? Weird...it has what looks like 7' of rear overhang.
Not in red…Red fades really bad and MB continues to ignore me about it. Just another reason I too am considering FORD…considering mind you.
 

synergy_58

2009 Navion and 2015 Crew
Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. It is great that you are very happy with your Sprinter and believe it is the best van choice. It is also fine that I believe the Transit is the best van choice. Both of us are happy so all is well. :)
I caught that on your build site. Looks cool!
 

synergy_58

2009 Navion and 2015 Crew
I'll be glad to add my perspective, for what its worth. Just a bit of background, I currently own a 2005 T1N with 137K miles. I'm the second owner and bought it with 21K on it in 2007. It's a passenger that I use as a weekend warrior for trips with a bed in the back and simple floor plan. I've driven vans since 2000 when it was really uncool. I work for an outdoor education program and we use Ford 15-passenger vans to pull trailers and haul students to various locations from New England to the Florida Keys. Over the last 20 years, I've probably logged close to 300-350K miles between work and personal vans. I owned a Dodge Ram conversion van before my current Sprinter. All of this to say, I'm certainly no expert, but can provide some feedback for those considering a Transit or Sprinter. Lastly, I'm 5'11" at about 155 pounds with no physical ailments. I'm not necessarily reliant on comfort items, but I do pay close attention to details that affect functionality such as ergonomics.

Over the years, I've learned to wrench on my Sprinter (thanks to help from this forum and really generous local Sprinter mechanics) to allow me to be more self reliant. In the past 3 months I've had to replace the glow plugs and water pump (which has been a super bummer), but other than that, the van has been relatively reliable.

For my work, we used to have two Econoline E350s. One diesel and one gas. They would both pull trailers and haul students okay, but driving them was a chore. They ended up getting very expensive to maintain. We replaced the diesel with a 2016 Transit medium roof with EcoBoost. Then in 2018 we replaced the gaser with a low roof Transit with EcoBoost. Both replacements were very welcomed!

My take on the Transits we drive.
Pros- Awesome power. Pulls a full van and super heavy trailer no problem because of the EcoBoost! I'm surprised at how peppy the engine is. Very carlike. The seats are really comfortable. Passenger seats can recline slightly. Quiet to drive. Water bottle holders will hold a full size nalgene bottle. Several cup holders and bottle holders available. Easy to get in and out of being lower to the ground. Very comfortable to drive over long distances and has no problem cruising at 75-80mph. Good sound system overall. Good bang for the buck. Relatively inexpensive for what you get. Really nice to drive this van.

Cons- The 2016 has had several driveshaft recalls. Dealing with the Ford dealers even for warranty issues has been a real pain (at least the three different I've gone to). Lengthy wait times and several follow ups after repairs. Note the 2018 hasn't had any recalls yet and hasn't been in the shop other than oil changes. The sliding door on the medium roof is a pain to close. We've broken two handles (or I should say students have trying to slam it shut). Come to find out, there is such a tight seal in the vehicle, you must crack a door or window for the slider to close. This is a real pain with students constantly getting in and out. The door armrests are hard plastic which wears on you on long hauls. The seat armrest ratchet is a pain having to reset it each time you get in the van (compared to the 'set it and forget it' in my T1N). Very poor MPG (about 10-12 for fully loaded and pulling trailer) but this works okay for our program because by the time we need to refuel, people need bathroom breaks. The van clearance is really low. When loaded, we've bottomed out on fire roads several times. Lots of blind spots, especially in the low roof. The low roof with seats in it is really hard to see out of the back windows (compared to my T1N). The higher roof is better viewing, but still more blind spots than my T1N. Tire sizes are really hard to find replacement for exact sizes.

My Sprinter (T1N)-
Pros- While the network of mechanics is less than Ford (for long road trips) when I need work on the van, the dealerships are much more reliable and a better experience to work with, although labor is certainly more expensive. The driver and passenger seats are comfy to me. I did retro fit the door armrest with a pad to eliminate the hard plastic rest. I love the seat armrest that you can dial in the height and forget it. Great mpg although I normally get less than most people rave about (I get 19-21 depending on ambient temp and how fast I drive). Easy to move from driver seat to back. Great viewing (no real blind spots). It sits higher and has a commanding view of the road. The clearance over the ground is fantastic. I have no problems going on fireroads and I love that. Seems reliable and pretty easy to work on. I can crawl underneath due to height.

Cons- My T1N is loud and noisy to drive even with thinsulate and soundrproofing and a great sound system:) I can't really drive it over 70 without feeling like the engine will blow it revs so high, so it makes long trips even longer going 5-10mph slower. Limited cup/water bottle holders (I really wish it had better options). Its a rust bucket. Limp home mode scares the hell out of me. Its happened two times which doesn't seem like a lot in the time I've driven it, but when it happened, I was on an interstate driving 70. I was able to pinpoint the issue and resolve, but it has me gunshy now that I travel with my family as opposed to just traveling solo.

My overall take-
I know I've left off both pros and cons for both vehicles and it isn't probably super helpful to compare a T1N to a Transit, but there are some items that transfer over to the new sprinters (LHM) and ground clearance that I think are helpful. I did get a chance to drive a new VS30 Crew for about 5 days while my glow plugs were getting replaced. The first thing I said to myself was "wow, this drives much like a Transit". So the VS30 was smooth and quiet and comfy. Steering was great and ergonomics seems really well done (except for the seat armrest ratchet!) ugh! And now you have to special order the 270 degree rear door hinges, bummer.

For me I think about what I'd replace my T1N with a lot more now that it is 15 years old. My take is that the Transit is a great bang for the buck. If I was going to keep the van for about 5-7 years, I'd probably get the Transit. Although the fit and finish isn't quite as nice to me as the Sprinter, I think the value it provides is really good. But I keep my personal vehicles a long time and while I'd love to replace my T1N with a new Sprinter in a couple of years, they are just really expensive now. It isn't in the cards for me financially, but it is a solid vehicle and if I could afford either, I'd probably go with a Sprinter since I tend to keep vehicles for the long haul.

I hope this helps.
Best,
Tommy

Lot’s to consider, lots. I’ve combed the county side to side, top to bottom and find no 2021’s (awd, long, tall crew) to check out. Dealer’s say the only way to get a 2021 is to order one and the wait time is 8-12 weeks. Hm.
 

T town

Member
I don’t think 2021s are in production yet. Usually Ford builds tons of cargo vans at the end of the year, this year being 2020, for Amazon, etc...
 

synergy_58

2009 Navion and 2015 Crew
I don’t think 2021s are in production yet. Usually Ford builds tons of cargo vans at the end of the year, this year being 2020, for Amazon, etc...
NO, they’re out there, in very few #’s. I’ve discussed this with a few dealers, but most are WHITE, and I am trying to stay away from a white one.
 

synergy_58

2009 Navion and 2015 Crew
I'd rather be treated as a MB owner at an MB dealership than a ford owner at a ford dealership. Money is not the problem for me.
aside, I have had good service and a great van.
YMMV
Ha, not pointing a fingure at you, so… BUT...I’ve sat many a times in MB dealerships, sucking on those cheap ass crackers and sugar waters, listening to all the Horse shite, and riding in many loaners. Why have I riden in so many MB loaners???

And don't get me wrong, because I enjoy my Navion!

The issue always comes…is it covered under my *u*king 175,000 mile warranty?!

“Oh, so sorry sir, it would seam that this isn't covered under your warranty”. HA!

My 2015 is right now sitting at a dealership in VA, and the same thing happened once *u*king again!

The air bags were replaced, and I wanted a B pillar service. The glove box handle fell apart, and the wiper blade clips broke. Ok, so I keep replacement wiper blades, clips and hoses in a drawer in the van…because they constantly BREAK! But, the service manager tried to clip me for paying, now hold on to your “money is no object", because they want me to pay $181.00…plus tax and service fee’s, for replacing the GD clips, and
this does not include wiper baldes or new hoses!!!!!

They wanted me to pay $385.00 +++ to fix the glove box latch too. And, as for the glove box…after I told my son to show them my warranty paper work, the service manager finally say’s “oh, ok. this will be covered under warranty.” It’s all Gob Shite! The van sat there, is still sitting there!, after six 6 days! My son and family need that van for my handicap grandson. Give me a freekin break here. MB dealers, and especially service managers, are always gouging the customer for what ever they can, maybe to pay for those cheap ass crackers and sugar water.

So, I’m glad you have plenty of money, to keep MB a float. But, MB dealers are no better than other brand dealers, could be they’re worse, really…It’s all Gob Shite! Not to say that FORD is better, just that MB isn’t the cream of the crop over other brands; they’re just in it for YOUR money!
 
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HarryN

Well-known member
If Ford offered the Transit in a ~ 160 inch wheel base version I think it would look more proportionate for the extended model.

I like the interior length of the extended, but then I look at it and have to just close my eyes.
 

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