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Why Sprinter Camper Vans Are Still So Obnoxiously Expensive

Sprinter camper vans are some of the most popular van conversions and Class B RVs on the road today. With that popularity comes an exorbitant price. Sprinters easily cost close to $200,000 brand new, but why? In this article, we take a closer look at the increasingly popular Sprinter camper vans and aim to figure out why they’re so pricey.

What Is a Sprinter Camper Van?

A Sprinter is a camper van built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van chassis. Mercedes-Benz builds expensive luxury vehicles, and a camper sitting on one of their vans is no exception. Many RV manufacturers build on the Sprinter van chassis, and they all have a premium price tag. 

Sprinter Camper Van
While Sprinters may look similar to other camper vans, they’re anything but average. These campers are true luxury vehicles.

How Much Does a Sprinter Camper Van Cost? 

Sprinter camper vans cost anywhere from $150,000 to upwards of $200,000 brand new. Popular models like the Winnebago Revel start at more than $175,000, the Pleasure-Way Plateau starts at more than $163,000, and the Roadtrek SS Agile starts at more than $173,000.

There are conversion companies that build camper vans from Sprinter cargo vans. These vans usually cost upwards of $100,000 or more for a new custom build. If you already have the van, a professional camper conversion can cost anywhere from $30,000 to over $100,000. If you do the Sprinter camper van conversion yourself, you can still pay an additional $10,000-$35,000 on top of the cost of your van on building supplies and tools, depending on your features and amenities.

Why Are Sprinter Camper Vans So Expensive? 

There are many reasons that Sprinters come with a premium price tag. The first reason is the brand itself: Mercedes-Benz. Here are the other top reasons they’re so expensive.

Base Price of a Sprinter Van 

The base price of a new, empty Sprinter van hovers around $44,000 for the smallest and shortest models to upwards of $65,000 for a longer wheelbase and stronger engine.

Compared with the Ram Promaster at $41,000 to $45,000, or the other popular camper van model, the Ford Transit at $45,000 to $49,000, the cost to manufacture a Sprinter camper van is the highest of all van models.

$150k vs. $40k SPRINTER VAN (full tour)

If your heart is set on a Sprinter but the price is too high, you might be able to find a better deal on a used model. Check out How to Buy a Used RV From a Private Party for some pro advice.

Cost of Conversion

Converting a Sprinter is no easy or inexpensive task. Some are built within the body of the van itself, and some are built on a cutaway chassis that involves cutting off the majority of the van body. The high price reflects the cost of the conversion.

If you have a professional do it, it can cost anywhere from $30,000 for a standard build to upwards of $100,000 or more for extreme custom work and upgrades. DIY van conversion will cost less, but you’ll still have thousands of dollars in building supplies and systems, whether you use a camper van conversion kit or do a 100% custom job yourself.

Expensive Accessories

Sprinters don’t get mass-produced like other RVs. The manufacturers that make Sprinter camper vans tend to be luxury or those focused on off-road or overlanding vehicles. The accessories and detail inside a Sprinter van trend toward luxury and tech, both of which come at a price.

Skilled Laborers

To build such a high-quality RV in such a small amount of space requires very skilled laborers. It’s hard to streamline an intricate process like the manufacture of a Sprinter camper van. 

Man working on Sprinter van
Build quality plus luxury details and accessories set Sprinters apart from other camper vans.

Intricate Details

From electronics to high-quality furnishings and cabinetry, most Sprinters are luxury RVs with intricate details. Intricate details and a high-quality build add to the cost.

Supply and Demand

Finally, these vans are in very high demand, yet there’s not much supply. High demand and low supply equal higher prices. 

Sprinters are becoming more and more popular these days thanks to the van life boom. People seek camper vans for their versatility, ability to drive on any road and park in any spot, and great gas mileage. A camper van is as convenient as a daily driver and has all the amenities you need to live comfortably on the road. 

Sprinter camper vans are often thought of as the top-of-the-line camper van for all the good reasons listed above. Beyond these basics, these vans can also be built out and modified to do some incredible adventuring. Reliability, quality, and that quintessential “van life look” keep Sprinter vans in high demand.

Living The Van Life - Desert Overlanding

Sprinter Van Layouts

Many Mercedes Sprinter camper vans are custom conversions. Sprinter van layouts are going to vary drastically because of this. Some have bathrooms with a toilet and shower, but some do not. Most vans have fixed bed platforms in the rear for queen beds or smaller, but some have convertible beds to maximize the space. Kitchens are usually located on one of the side walls opposite the bathroom, if there is one. Cabinetry is predominantly under-counter, but some install small upper cupboards or storage pouches where the walls meet the ceiling.

The living area is either in the rear if there is a convertible bed or in the front to utilize the captain chairs in the driving cockpit. Tables are usually always unique and frequently utilize lagun table styles for flexibility and maneuverability.

While shopping for your Mercedes camper van, you’ll definitely want to check out the different layout options. Van conversion companies generally have a variety of standard layouts available, but you can usually customize it to the layout that suits you best.

How Much Weight Can You Carry In A Mercedes Sprinter?

The payload capacity and towing capacity of Sprinter camper vans depend on the model. Mercedes vans come in a variety of sizes and engines which end up affecting the dry weight of the vehicle as well as its power and capabilities.

Variables include the type of van (Cargo, Crew, or Passenger), roof height, wheelbase, gas or diesel, 4 or 6 cylinder engines, and whether or not you want 4×4.

In general, diesel engines and more cylinders are more powerful, but also weigh more to start with. You’ll also find that opting for the 4×4 decreases your payload capacity, as the extra 4×4 components take up some of that extra weight.

Mercedes Sprinter Van Payload Capacities

Brand-new Sprinter Cargo van payload capacities generally have the highest capacities, which makes sense because they are designed for hauling cargo. They have a low end of 3,920lbs in the Cargo Van 1500 and 3,726lbs in the Cargo 2500 6 cylinder diesel 4×4 version. Their max and up to 6,823lbs in the Cargo Van 4500 4 cylinder diesel model without 4×4.

Mercedes Sprinter Crew van payload capacities range from 2,976lbs in the Crew 2500 6-cylinder 4×4 diesel up to 6,382lbs in the standard roof, 144″ wheelbase Crew 4500 6-cylinder diesel.

The Sprinter Passenger vans handle payloads of 2,877lbs in their 144″ high-roof Passenger 2500 models with 6-cylinder diesel engines with 4×4 at the low end. The most you’ll get in this line is 3,494lbs in their short wheelbase 1500 and 2500 models that have the 4-cylinder gas engines. However, you get a lot more weight capacity if you remove all the seating (up to 15 in some).

Mercedes Sprinter Van Towing Capacity

Generally speaking, you can tow up to 5,000lb max with your new Mercedes Sprinter Cargo Van 1500 or 2500. Towing capacity jumps up to 7,500lbs in the new 3500 and 4500 models pretty much across the board.

However, be sure to look up the specific capabilities of your year and model Sprinter van as some options and features can change these capacities. Also, be sure to note the gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR) and gross combined weight ratings (GCWR) to understand the whole picture of your van and how much weight you can safely operate with your camper van.

Sprinter on dirt road
Whether off-roading or parked at an RV resort, you’ll be comfortable in a Sprinter

Where Can I Find a Sprinter Camper Van For Sale?

Used sprinter camper vans for sale can be found on all RV sales sites. Buying a used camper van is a great way to get a great deal, but you do lose the flexibility of designing or choosing your own layout. New vans may need to be ordered directly from the manufacturer or van build company. Some van conversion companies may also have some used Mercedes campers listed for sale if they had someone trade in an old van when they upgraded.

The Van Life Movement Isn’t Slowing Down Any Time Soon

The van life movement definitely isn’t slowing down any time soon. Just look at YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. Movies like “Nomadland” portray a different and darker side of the lifestyle, but the surge is still raging. With socially distanced traveling becoming the norm, we only expect its popularity to increase. 

Van life doesn’t have to break the bank! Need some inspiration? Check out the 5 Best Minivan Camper Conversions That Will Blow Your Mind [VIDEO TOURS]

Are Sprinter Camper Vans Worth the Money?

If you want a small luxury RV with everything you need to live on the road, a Sprinter camper van is absolutely worth it. Sprinter vans hold their value well, last forever, and have a great quality of workmanship.

When you buy a Sprinter van, you’re paying for much more than just the van itself. You’re paying for the high-tech features, the skilled labor, and a camper that’s in incredibly high demand.

Winter is coming, but that doesn’t mean your adventures have to end. Turn your camper van into a four-season rig with one of the 5 Best Diesel Heaters for Van Campers.

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Sunday 15th of May 2022

Interesting , but why nothing about the longer ~ 170 “ base 3500 ? Great versatility & capacity. Don’t know why these articles aren’t routinely more inclusive of the full range of Class B’s.