Let's face it. If you're interested in buying a cargo van for your business, you're probably less interested in styling and infotainment and comfort as you are in power and cargo space and payload capacity. If your cargo van fails in utility, those other features won't really matter. In this comparison guide between the 2018 Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, we'll focus on what really matters and make a recommendation based on what's best for you and your needs.
Pricing: 2018 Ford Transit
We appreciate it when we save money, even to the tune of a few hundred dollars. Nickels and dimes add up in the long run, especially if you're a small business or one with your eye on the bottom line. The 2018 Ford Transit starts at $33,700 while the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter sells for $33,995 for the Worker model, its base model option, while the comparable Sprinter Cargo starts at nearly $5K more ($38,420).
Cargo Space: 2018 Ford Transit
Cargo room is more than important in cargo vans--it's the whole point. Both the Sprinter and the Transit offer three wheelbase sizes, which will dramatically affect the maximum cargo space available. The Sprinter has a range of maximum cargo space of between 319 and 530 cubic feet, while the Transit offers between 363 to 542 cubic feet. The Sprinter offers more room for passengers, but if you're just looking for how much stuff you can haul, the Transit just edges out the Sprinter.
Hauling and Towing: 2018 Ford Transit
Closely tied to cargo space is hauling and towing capacity. You don't just need the space; you need the oomph to get it moving. Depending on the version you choose (the Transit 150, 250, or 350), you can tow up to 12,000 pounds with the Transit. For payload options, the top comes with the Transit 350, unsurprisingly, with a max payload of 4500-7500, depending on the engine you choose.
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter offers only two engines, one of which is a 4x4, which gives it less adaptability. The Sprinter offers a 3501 max payload and 5000 lb. maximum towing. If you're opting for the Transit 150, that gives you a bit more payload and towing, depending on the engine, but can't compare to the Transit 250 and 350 options.
Driving: 2018 Ford Transit
If you feel comfortable driving a pickup truck, you'll be fine in the Ford Transit. That's because, except in height, the Transit has the same footprint as the Ford F-150. You'll want to watch low tree branches, but otherwise you're no wider or longer than a pickup. The other advantage to the Ford Transit is its power and engine options. There are three engine options to choose from, everything from 275-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 engine to a 310-horsepower 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6. If you want diesel, they've got that too.
Meanwhile, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter offers only one engine: a 3.0-liter turbodiesel 6-cylinder offering 188 horsepower and 325 pounds per foot of torque. That's about the same horsepower and a little less torque on the Sprinter than on the Transit. In addition, the Sprinter feels a little stiff to drive, especially after the cargo has been delivered.
With more engine options and more max cargo capacity, as well as with additional utility, the 2018 Ford Transit simply offers cargo van buyers more. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter comes close in many ways, and we suppose its luxury brand earns it some reputation points, but with a comparable cost of more than $5K more than the Transit 150, we'll take the Ford Transit, please.