Which Van: Mercedes Sprinter or Volkswagen Crafter?

The transport of goods is crucial to the survival of a company. Hence, it is really important for one to pick the correct vehicle for the job. So, cue the vans, a practical class of vehicles built with a very simple concept in mind. Simple, down to earth, box shaped for maximising load without compromising too much on the performance, drive and reliability.

Vans are not the prettiest vehicles on the road, probably the least aerodynamic shape and style but it serves its purpose well. Speaking with efficient cargo handling in mind, it’s second to none.

With all that said they don’t come cheap either, well anything that’s commercial use comes at a premium cost. If your business is finding it difficult to splash out the cash on a van and you don’t want to be tied in long term finance you can always opt for short term van hire whenever you need it.  This option may prove to be slightly costlier in the long run when you average the daily rate but the advantages are you can scale it to your business needs and creating a good relationship with your local van rental company you could get preferential rates if you are a regular hirer.

Without rambling on, if you run a business, and wanted a proper van, you might be looking at a Sprinter right now. Very sensibly, you’d be browsing the Internet, also looking for competitors of the Sprinter. Which will end up with you looking at the Volkswagen Crafter, and scratching your head.

Sprinter Vs Crafter

This used to be because the Sprinter and the Crafter was actually pretty much the same car. The Crafter used to be built in the same plant along with the Sprinters, and in the end, it became the cheaper alternative to the Sprinter. Now though, it’s a very different story, with the Crafter being a Volkswagen design. So now, they’re not siblings, but competitors of the same class.

The biggest difference you will find between those two vans are the engine options. The Crafter prettymuch waves the white flag on this front. Their new 2.0-litre engines are said to be noisier and overall less refined. For Mercedes though, their engines, even the basic ones, are said to have impressive initial torque and good to drive with. 

In terms of driving experience though, both vans are remarkable. Thanks to new technologies, they aren’t the kind of scary experience you attribute with vans. In fact, both of them are said to be enjoyable to drive, handling and comfort wise. However, I once again give the edge to the Sprinter in driving experience. The Crafter has a tricky to drive manual, (there’s an 8-speed auto option available), and its new electromechanical steering, while easy, isn’t as precise.

Getting inside and specs

Both vans’ interiors are well-received too. They have a rugged, practical design ethos around them, with a distinct, German air of quality apparent in their commuter cars. Worth noting that the Crafter is a completely new van though, so you may find some additional options in the Crafter that the Sprinter doesn’t have. Such as VW’s ergo-Active driver’s seat which gives it a more forgiving ride for the driver. Both of them have their weird quirks and nitpicks though, and it is up to you whether if you can overlook them.

When it comes to body styles and practicality, the Sprinter remains unrivalled. It has more body styles than you can ever imagine, and chances are, you’ll find one that suit your needs. Despite that, the Crafter still offers solid cargo capacity, it’s a van after all. But in the end, someone can spec the Sprinter to have more space than the Crafter can muster up.

Being modern, German is at the forefront for safety. Both manufacturers can spend ages explaining to the consumers about their available safety features. Crosswind assists, lane keeping assist, ESP, etc, etc. We can go on, but Volkswagen and Mercedes are incredible when it comes to safety.

Costs and reliability

Both of those vans cost similar, and can be specified to cost an astronomical amount. They even have similar service intervals. You might be shocked at how easy the Sprinter is to run though, despite the Mercedes badge it bears proudly. In fact, it can be running more economically than Volkswagen’s offerings.

Reliability can’t really be rated, as the Crafter has a completely new engine. But Volkswagen actually builds surprisingly solid commercial vehicles that have their own cult following. Just look at the legendary Transit. Some Sprinters reportedly have astronomical mileage too, and their engines are tested thoroughly by the German firm. For both, the only potential trouble would be the electronics, and only time will tell for that.

When you decide on the right van for your business, before you transfer half your savings or business cash flow you should also consider your van finance options where you can either opt for a contract hire or lease.


To sum up everything the weight pushes down on in favour of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. My public demand the Sprinter is a more popular van, whereas the Crafter for some drivers can even get overshadowed by its siblings, the Transporter and Transit. Take this with a grain of salt though, you shouldn’t judge your business vehicles purely from other opinions. Ample research is always wise and you may find the crafter suits your business finances and impression better.

Auto Express have dedicated articles to both the Crafter and Sprinter that you can check out to better know those vans.

Despite all that, I don’t think you can go wrong with both vans. What do you think, readers? Which van, Sprinter, or Crafter?


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