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Why Are Sprinter Vans So Expensive These Days?

Sprinter vans are known to be expensive, but they come with a ton of features to justify their price tag. 

If you’re shopping for a cargo van, you might be surprised by the sticker price. So are they actually worth it?

Today, we’re digging into the details of this multipurpose vehicle to answer all your questions. 

Let’s dive in!

What is a Sprinter Van?

Mercedes-Benz Sprinters are top-of-the-line cargo vans perfect for converting into liveable spaces. Several models provide varying heights and lengths, so you can find exactly what you want.

High ground clearance, all-wheel drive, and multiple engine variants make it an excellent off-road vehicle. And luxury features, such as 360-degree backup cameras and Active Break Assist, mean you’ll be safer on the open road. 

Is Mercedes the Only Company That Makes Sprinter Vans?

Besides Mercedes-Benz, Dodge and Freightliner have versions of Sprinters by the same name. And believe it or not, the story behind these multiple makers starts with chickens.

After World War II, the US saw a farming boom. The country began selling surplus poultry to European countries, decimating many overseas farming economies. Old-world countries enacted tariffs to discourage the intercontinental sale of chickens, so the US responded with its own fines. One of the goods affected was lightweight trucks, which had an extra 25% tacked on to their price tags.

To weasel their way out of the so-called Chicken Tax, German brand Mercedes partnered with American companies Dodge and Freightliner to reassemble their vans in the US, effectively avoiding those extra fees. 

Why Are Sprinter Vans So Expensive?

Regardless of the manufacturer, Sprinter vans are considered luxury vehicles. They require highly-skilled professionals to build them, and those pros aren’t cheap. That’s part of the reason the base price is so high. 

Another reason is that they aren’t mass-produced like many other cargo vans. Retailers know the quality and desirability of Sprinters allows them to push the limit on sticker prices.

Converting a Sprinter van into a home away from home is also costly.

Whether you choose a conversion kit or purchase the raw materials yourself, you’ll spend thousands of dollars on supplies alone. Hiring a professional to do it could run nearly $100,000. So a well-maintained Sprinter camper van might cost as much as $200,000.

The Benefits of Sprinter Vans

It’s not just the name that draws drivers to the Sprinter van. A slew of premium features makes them the ultimate cargo and camper van. 

Space is a significant selling point. For a daily driver, Sprinters can seat up to 15 passengers. Businesses like caterers, florists, and electricians love them for making deliveries and house calls. But the outdoor community may utilize this extra room better than anyone else. 

Folks looking to convert a cargo van into a camper will find plenty of room to stretch out, whether lying down or standing up. That’s right, options for longer wheelbases and taller roof heights make them ultra comfortable for full-timers. 

Regardless of the reason for purchasing a Sprinter, drivers will ride in style. These vans are known for luxury, superior comfort, and state-of-the-art safety features. They’re also highly dependable, especially if you stay current on routine maintenance. 

The Disadvantages of Sprinter Vans

But all these premium features come at a price—a high one. New Sprinter vans off the lot can run as much as $90,000. And that’s before any modifications to make it liveable. So buying a Sprinter to live out of may not be the best choice, especially for newer nomads still getting the lay of the land. 

As with most other Mercedes vehicles, Sprinter vans are expensive to maintain. While its engine may easily last upwards of 300,000 miles, replacing it’ll be pricey when it finally goes out. 

And used Sprinters are prone to rusting, which can range from inconvenient to unsalvageable. That’s a hard pill to swallow when you’ve shelled out a pretty penny for one of these vans.

How Many Miles Do They Get Per Gallon?

Compared to other cargo vans, Sprinters get pretty dang good gas mileage. On average, they manage 14 to 16 miles per gallon. In contrast, most large RVs only get between six and ten miles per gallon. 

Sprinters have three different engine options. There’s a four-cylinder gasoline engine, as well as diesel options in four- and six-cylinders. 

Finally, a new eSprinter on the American market comes with a battery-electric drive system and boasts a range of nearly 250 miles on a single charge.

We’ve heard rumors of Sprinters that get a whopping 32 miles per gallon but haven’t been able to verify those numbers. We can say that in Europe, there’s an option for a biodiesel engine that tends to be more efficient than other options. 

Are Sprinter Vans Worth It?

Folks love Sprinter vans for lots of reasons. Their safety is unparalleled, and luxury features provide a comfortable ride. And, of course, other cargo vans can’t beat their roomy interior.

Sure, they’re expensive, but whether you’re purchasing one for business purposes or converting it into a portable adventure machine, you can’t go wrong with this classic. Just be on the lookout for rust if you’re purchasing used, and you’ll likely be happy with your choice!

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