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Trying to figure out which van to use for my ONLY fleet vehicle I will have. If it breaks I'm screwed...I need to be able to stand up. A ford e350 isn't an option.

Similarly equipped: 3500 extended
Promaster with gas penstar because the diesel isn't out yet...$38,500
$42,500, when the diesel comes out.

MB Sprinter which is a foot and a half longer mind you and dually rear axle. $45,000

I'll be hauling 5000lbs all the time threw all kinds of terrain. I would love the promaster but I'm afraid it's too untested...I've read all the horror stories on the sprinter forums as well. Outrageous repair bills...this is the only vehicle I plan on having for at least five years. My ford has never let me down but it's just to small at this point. Any ideas?
 

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I run a 07 2500 sprinter, 205k on it, when I bought it it had 16k on it. Will not go back to a sprinter. To many things went wrong way before their time, very expensive to maintain and reliable dealer support is questionable. All this means is this was my experience, hopefully whatever your decision is you will come out on top....
 

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I have an 04 regular roof 144" sprinter. Bought it with 201k and have 252k now. I've fixed or replaced alternator, battery, starter, upgraded koni shocks, rear sway bar upgrade, 5 new glow plugs, glow plug module, and tires. I love it when it runs good but right now I'm having a weird electrical issue causing a no crank no start condition. 2nd dealer may have found the problem but unsure right now. It's been good for about two weeks. It does awesome on mpg which is 19 to 23 loaded with about a ton in the back. Plenty power all around. Never towed with it but I'm sure it would do great. Oh and it's very comfy to drive with plenty leg room. The bad, expensive repAirs, oil changes and maintenance and very hard to troubleshoot. Over engineered if you ask me. Let's not forget chitty paint that rust within a year. Hard to find mechanics who will repair them too.
When I'm ready to buy again which should be real soon I will not be buying a sprinter and never will. Go for the pm diesel or wait for the transit.
 

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As a current Sprinter, (2nd one), 3500 owner I tend to agree with the above assessments.
Both of ours have been RV's, and all our issues save for one small one have been Sprinter issues. If we had a Ford or Chevy in the same situations they would have been a piece of cake to get repaired. Not with a Sprinter, especially the 24' version in our luck.
Our closest Sprinter dealer is over 40 miles away, that's a Freightliner dealer. The MB dealer is about 50 miles away and our 24' won't fit in their service bays. Our closest Ford, Chevy & Chrysler dealers are less than 10 miles.
I personally feel that the Sprinter is definitely over complicated in the engineering, and it seems "delicate" to me when carrying a constant 3 or 4k pound load.
The Ducato in Europe is far and away the sales leader in the RV industry over there, so that should tell you something. And the ProMaster has been upgraded tremendously over the Ducato in it's frame and underbody. Only unknown over here as far as I'm concerned is the longevity of the V6 and 6spd transmission under a constant heavy load. The diesel that's coming, and it's transmission are well known and have been in use for years. The diesel engine is not new over here as it's been used in the medium duty FUSO trucks sold here for a few years.
Good luck in your choice, though it sounds like your best bet is to wait for the diesel or the Transit which in itself won't be out till late second quarter next year at the earliest
 

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I went to test drive 2014 Sprinter 2.1 liter , i must say it had lot of torque and it would be enough for my type of business , but a price i was quoted .. it was not worth it ( and it has rust problems ) so went to dodge dealership and they let me test drive 2014 promaster . i kept it for three days .Friday last week i bought 136 wb low roof. it was almost $15000 less than Sprinter .( maintenance and repairs are cheaper as well ) **** of a savings and super professional service i received .
 

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Here in Europe the Sprinter is considered the premium choice for a commercial vehicle, but often the owners are disappointed by the reliability of the van.
When Fiat was producing the previous Ducato, the Sprinter was widely more comfortable, but from 2006 the Ducato (and brothers) has been improved and now they are selling a lot of them, because the quality/price of the Ducato is better. Few days ago I was discussing with two friends that have drived many commercial vans for years: both agreed that the Sprinter is no more convenient at all. Both said that the Sprinter has more problems of rust and reliability.
But the worst thing is the tranction on snow...
The Fiat has more little problems (like noises from the dash and minor electric issues), but no problems that let you on the road...
The body has no problem of rust and when you need to repair it, the components cost half of the Mercedes...
I'have seen some with the paint peeling from the primer, but I know that Fiat fix it for free.
 

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I'm coming from a Sprinter

Had one for my job that I left last year. The car wasn't mine but that thing was junk

Now that I need to buy one for myself I def don't want the sprinter so I started looking at other options and came at the Promaster

Its true that its mostly untested but either way I rather take the risk with the Promaster because the Sprinter route doesn't look that bright either.
 

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Sprinters have a lot of nice features. But when they break, you pay Mercedes prices for parts and Mercedes prices for labor. Lose a key? Can be $500 total. Clog a DPF? $3200 + labor.

I live in Austin which has two very good Sprinter dealers, the FL place, and Mercedes of Georgetown which has a dedicated Sprinter guy. However, in other areas of the US, I worry about getting caught in the catch 22 of M-B dealers not having a service bay big enough, and the FL people not having a bay/tools/expertise for the small vans.

If I were looking for a work van that has a low CPM, and that I would be sure would work or be easily serviced... I'd go with a PM 3500. Its GVWR is in the 8000s, so it will easily handle a 5000 pound workload day after day. If it has problems, there are plenty of Dodge dealers to choose from.

If I wanted a van that had the best features (traction control, lane wandering control, etc.), I'd go for the Sprinter. Sprinters are not bad, but in a number of cases, why buy a Cadillac when a Chevy will do the job?
 

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I went to test drive 2014 Sprinter 2.1 liter , i must say it had lot of torque and it would be enough for my type of business , but a price i was quoted .. it was not worth it ( and it has rust problems ) so went to dodge dealership and they let me test drive 2014 promaster . i kept it for three days .Friday last week i bought 136 wb low roof. it was almost $15000 less than Sprinter .( maintenance and repairs are cheaper as well ) **** of a savings and super professional service i received .
They let you take it for the weekend before you bought it? Dang, I asked to test drive for a few hours and they said a half hour is all they can do. Guess they lost a sale that day lol
 

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Trying to figure out which van to use for my ONLY fleet vehicle I will have. If it breaks I'm screwed...I need to be able to stand up. A ford e350 isn't an option.

Similarly equipped: 3500 extended
Promaster with gas penstar because the diesel isn't out yet...$38,500
$42,500, when the diesel comes out.

MB Sprinter which is a foot and a half longer mind you and dually rear axle. $45,000

I'll be hauling 5000lbs all the time threw all kinds of terrain. I would love the promaster but I'm afraid it's too untested...I've read all the horror stories on the sprinter forums as well. Outrageous repair bills...this is the only vehicle I plan on having for at least five years. My ford has never let me down but it's just to small at this point. Any ideas?


We have a 159" wb 2500 PM that has been in our fleet for a few weeks now. We have put over 1500 miles on the vehicle, and it has performed well over our expectations. With a 1 ton load we are getting dang near 18mpg. It seems to ride smoother with 2000lbs of cargo, however, you couldn't even tell it was in the cargo area by looking at the suspension. With 2000lbs there is no lack of power. Period! We don't mad dog around town, and usually drive with mpg in mind. However, I will say that the vehicle has been drive At 70mph regularly on the highway. It rides very well, and the handling is exceptional. As expected with a vehicle this large, high winds will keep you focused to keep the vehicle properly in your lane. Nothing too bad with the steering, as I would have expected worse, as the trees on the side of the highway were blowing around pretty bad to how much wind there was on o e particular day. I would agree with the others, the PM is very cheap to maintain, and the sprinter costs a fortune.
 

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Great info businessman. Glad your enjoying it. 17 to18 is very good with a ton. My sprinter gets 19 with a ton maybe less.
 

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I would agree with the others, the PM is very cheap to maintain, and the sprinter costs a fortune.
The cost to maintain the PM is an unknown. Projected maintenance costs may look good, but this is a new vehicle to the US with a drive train untested in a vehicle this large. I don't doubt that it will perform well, it is just too soon to tell.
For what it's worth the 2014 Sprinter also has a new drivetrain, it has been out in other Mercedes vehicles for a couple of years so perhaps it will prove to work well in the Sprinter, but it is also too soon to tell.
 

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This is a gremlin attacking all the new vans. The Transit is sporting an engine/drivetrain combo that is new. The Mercedes has a four-banger engine that is new. And the PM has a new drivetrain.

All three companies have "version 1.0" models out. So, regardless of make, one is paying their bets and taking their chances.

I do take a look at the track record of previous models. So far, the Ducato in Europe and Mexico has done the job well. It isn't a luxury vehicle, but it isn't going to fall apart under normal usage.

Maybe I might be deluded, but I have high hopes for both the PM and the Transit.
 

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This is a gremlin attacking all the new vans. The Transit is sporting an engine/drivetrain combo that is new. The Mercedes has a four-banger engine that is new. And the PM has a new drivetrain.

All three companies have "version 1.0" models out. So, regardless of make, one is paying their bets and taking their chances.

I do take a look at the track record of previous models. So far, the Ducato in Europe and Mexico has done the job well. It isn't a luxury vehicle, but it isn't going to fall apart under normal usage.

Maybe I might be deluded, but I have high hopes for both the PM and the Transit.
I disagree a bit. The Transit gas engines & transmissions have been in use in the F150 since 2011, 2015 will be the 5th production year for these drivetrains in a non auto application.
The Mercedes 2.1 diesel has been in production since 2009 & the 7spd trans has been around since 2003. The PM drivetrain has been around a few years as well, just not in a vehicle as heavy as the PM. You may call them version 1.0 but many gremlins should be excised by now.
The point I was trying to make with "Businessman", saying the PM has lower maintenance costs than the Sprinter may not be true, we only have projected costs at this point for these vehicles.
I also have high hopes for these vans.
 

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I've had 2 NCV3 Sprinters, 2008 & 2013, believe me, the PM will be cheaper to maintain, no contest, at least the gas version.
The diesel might?? be a different story, although it won't be any more expensive
 

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I've had 2 NCV3 Sprinters, 2008 & 2013, believe me, the PM will be cheaper to maintain, no contest, at least the gas version.
The diesel might?? be a different story, although it won't be any more expensive
However the 2014 Sprinter base engine & transmission is different from the one in your vehicles, & has a different maintenance schedule. Is it possible Mercedes has heard the complaints of many owners & is trying to correct the reliability issues with the new drivetrain?
I have driven both, the PM twice, & there is no comparison in the quality of the driving experience, the Sprinter is far superior IMO. I am tall & the PM doesn't fit me, I didn't want to give up on it so I took a second test drive, the same impression came through. Someone on this forum described the PM driving position as "a circus bear on a bike", I couldn't agree more, there is no way I could drive for 2 hours in that penalty box. The Sprinter also had a better unloaded ride, it was just more refined in all ways. Having said all this, I have also read the horror stories from Sprinter owners & am reluctant to purchase a vehicle with as troubled a past, even with the new drivetrain until it has been proven reliable.
I am waiting for the Transit & may have to keep my Express until I can find a van that is significantly more fuel efficient, reliable, & fits my body.
 

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apart from the driving position how is the actual drive? handling, acceleration, steering?

of the sprinter vs the promaster?
 

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apart from the driving position how is the actual drive? handling, acceleration, steering?

of the sprinter vs the promaster?
In the 2 PM drives I found the brakes to be very touchy, had to be careful with application. The transmission shifts were OK, but the trans. was holding a lower gear than necessary, revving the engine more than needed. At 60 MPH the PM was at 2500 RPM & that felt too high for an empty vehicle. Acceleration seems fine, apart from trans shifting, the steering feel is quite different from my Express, almost too sensitive, but something to adjust to, not a concern for me.
Contrast that with the Sprinter, the 7 spd was smooth as silk. 2100 RPM at 60 if I remember correctly? The brakes felt fine, no need to be careful with the pedal application. I found the Sprinter to be much more car like in its driving style. No adjusting or learning the vehicles tendencies was necessary on my part. The 2014 Sprinter 2.1 7spd. is a very nice driving van.
If the PM fit me I would have spent much more time driving it to see if the transmission "learned" my driving style. I am sure I would have also adjusted to the brakes & steering, after 2 drives, I know I cannot adjust to the PM driving position.
 

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Diesel and gas engines are so different...uncomparable behaviour and working revs.
The driving position is so vertical, but it's very good also for long travels.
Two weeks ago I and a friend that usually drive a Sprinter have drived for more than 1400 km in a week end from the italian alps to the center of Italy. At the first he was a little unconfortable, because he was looking for a car driving position, but at the end of the travel he said that the Ducato was an easier van to drive, very comfortable and definitely a very good vehicle. He surprised me, because I thought the Sprinter far better...
 

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The cost to maintain the PM is an unknown. Projected maintenance costs may look good, but this is a new vehicle to the US with a drive train untested in a vehicle this large. I don't doubt that it will perform well, it is just too soon to tell.
For what it's worth the 2014 Sprinter also has a new drivetrain, it has been out in other Mercedes vehicles for a couple of years so perhaps it will prove to work well in the Sprinter, but it is also too soon to tell.
My vehicle maintenance cost avg $2500 a year for the last four years in the Sprinter. Regular scheduled maint plus breaks and glow coils and faulty electronics etc. My local Ram dealer gave me 2 years free scheduled maint and I purchased a 100,000 extended warranty. With all that my payment is $150 less a month than my sprinter and the PM is just as easy to handle on the mountain road that I drive every day. At 16.2 mpg it looks like Ill be paying a little extra for gas each month, about $90 compared to the 20 mpg in the diesel Sprinter but still a better value
 
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