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I saw a Ducato camper in New Zealand in 2008. It was love at first sight--I simply think it is a beautiful vehicle. As soon as I learned it had crossed the water as a Promaster, I bought one.

Transit didn't exist yet.

Nissan was so butt-ugly and space-inefficient with its long nose that it was never a consideration.

I saw the rust on my son's Sprinter and his repair bills, Sprinter is too narrow, Sprinter costs too much.

Two things Sprinter and Transit have that I wish Promaster had: taller windows and rear interior trim.
 

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I had owned 2 Sprinters and did not want any more diesel and associated problems. Ford Transet was eliminated as there was not an appropriate roof height for DIY camper conversion with ceiling and floor insulation. Super high Ford roof with high floor was simply excessively high for cross wind handling. Nissan is a pickup truck with a high body. Their pickups never sold well and they came out with the enclosed body to better utilize the factory in Texas. I perceive poor quality. It is simply not a true van as to much length is used for the front end.

I was sold on the Promaster after a test drive. I felt the handling was superior due to the front wheel drive. I also perceived excellent fuel economy for a gasser; I average 17 MPG (weight is 7,000 pounds) and maintenance is lower than a diesel.
 

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Looks first, interior space second , options third . And the only dealership on our island for service is a CDJR.
 

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I test drove a 136" WB Promaster gasser and thought it was the perfect urban assault vehicle... but I got greedy and wanted more interior space for extended use as an RV, though we are still considering retailing my diesel off and nabbing a new 136" high roof since steering the 159" through tight city spaces & parking lots is like piloting a huge lawn-dart with brakes. We're getting better at choosing where we can go over time...

The Ford interior plastics smell combined with their inline 5 cylinder diesel vibrations provoked my inner ear into gifting me with nauseous motion sickness before the salesman had left the dealership parking lot, sure it was a 35°F cold motor and the Van interior had been heated up all afternoon by sitting in the sunshine, but my ride-along as a passenger left me quite content to never step foot in a Transit again. Towards the end of the demonstration, the salesman familiar with the vans handling, was 'rat racing' it through a beat up concrete cloverleaf and the rear right wheel picked up during wheel hop across frost heave and/or low highway shoulder joint and left it feeling like a tricycle in a tight turn. The Transit when empty is squirrelly.

Chevy - didn't drive one, doubt they'd discount it enough to entice me to accept one, their entry level diesel passenger van is a 3500 with a $47K base price, $52K with a few options.

Freightliner (Sprinter) - the refined handling and ergonomics nearly sold me; I was shopping during the pre-order window for the 4WD models, I still sort of regret not getting the cheapest possible 4WD Van no matter the cost/hassle. I believe if they'd have been offering 4WD with their 4-cylinder I'd be posting on a different forum now.

I just returned from a 985 mile round trip to KC and back, averaged 76mph (meaning 80+mph often) for six hours into head/crosswinds on the way down and still got 21.3 MPG. Keeping the speed at or below 70MPH plus making stops along the way on the return leg gave me 23.2MPG. After burning many handfuls of $20 bills in a Ford F150's 13-17MPG it is a treat to know 26MPG is doable by going a little slower in a clean & waxed van : )
 

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I wanted the drivability and the ability to stay in 6th gear on the interstate that the 4cyl. diesel with the automatically shifted manual transmission offered. My F150 w/5.4 L gas got 12 mpg, shifted on every tiny incline, even carrying a lightweight popup camper. It has been better than I imagined it would be returning a lifetime fuel mileage of 26+-, pulling like a freight engine and never needing a dealer for the emissions issues like other brands have had. Oh and all the above too!
 

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At the time, the Transit had only been out one month so I ruled that out. At the max length, the Ford is around $10k more expensive, and that's with A Plan. A year later I bought a second PM for similar reasons - used PM is cheaper than a used Transit.

I drive 100% highway, so minor differences in mileage add up to big money in short order. The best I could figure, the Ford with the base engine was getting 17s. The Nissan was far worse with either the V6 or V8. The Sprinter is money pit in any other configuration than "bought it used with a blown engine and crammed a small block Chevy in it". The gas PM is proven to get 20s at the speeds I'm willing to drive. Easy math.

The FWD in winter was also a big deal for me.

As many maintenance problems as I've had with the PM, in the big picture I'm totally delighted. I'm at 229k on one and 210k on the other, and the list of things I haven't had to fix is far longer than the things I have. That said, if budget wasn't a concern, I would probably go with the Transit with the Ecopoop. I think the Ford is slightly better built, but not enough to justify the price. A van that does burnouts is a plus in my book! If doing ANY towing, I would go with the Transit or Nissan. If it was an RV I was after, I'd proabably go with a Chevy based cutaway, or buildout a Chevy box truck or something. If I was city driving only, it'd be the PM hands down. If I wanted a pimped out 70s style van, I'd put a naked lady mural and bubble window on the Ford. If I wanted a Yoder Toter (passenger mover) I'd go with the Ford as well. If I was looking for a mini-van substitute, I'd go with the short wheelbase PM.
 

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for me front wheel drive and I got 23 mpg in my gasser going from PA to OBX , full camper outfit. even in the PA mountains I get 20 MPG highway.
 

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Interior space, Diesel price vs Sprinter, Drivability and FWD all helped my decision
 

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All of the above for sure. My last van was a 08 E350. Great van for what it was, but the PM drives like a sports car by comparison. Smooth rev happy motor (Gasser) and the V6 gets 4 mpg better than the V8 in the big Ford did. I'm nearly done converting the interior to a sleeper van. Got 400 watts of solar on the roof charging a couple of deep cycle batteries. 500 watt pure sine inverter to make 110v for the apartment fridge. Nice KISS camper. Mine was a left over '14 hi top demo van with 500 miles on it when I got it a little over a year ago. Got a nice deal on it. Love it for road trips and its great running errands around town as well. Love the FWD and tight turning radius!
 

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They're on Facebook but not on photo bucket yet to put them up here.
 

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Lower loading floor - easier to get stuff in and out. And several grand less than a Sprinter. Transit wasn't out yet at the time that I placed my order but it wouldn't have changed my mind. The Nissan, aside from being thirsty, has a lousy "interior space to driveway space" ratio; if I wanted a pickup truck with a top box then that's what I would have bought.
 

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2016 136WB high top gas converted to Sportsmobile Class B motor home. Lower cost. Wider, boxier and more space-efficient interior than all the others allowed full motor home layout in 18 foot parking space and tight turning radius. Front wheel drive, lower height and perfect 50/50 weight distribution at 8000 pounds travel weight (2000 lbs each wheel) gives great handling--- drives like a minivan, but hey there's a whole "house" back there! 16 to 20 mpg (double my previous Ford V-10's). The others just didn't have the whole package.
 

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At the time, the Transit had only been out one month so I ruled that out. At the max length, the Ford is around $10k more expensive, and that's with A Plan. A year later I bought a second PM for similar reasons - used PM is cheaper than a used Transit.

I drive 100% highway, so minor differences in mileage add up to big money in short order. The best I could figure, the Ford with the base engine was getting 17s. The Nissan was far worse with either the V6 or V8. The Sprinter is money pit in any other configuration than "bought it used with a blown engine and crammed a small block Chevy in it". The gas PM is proven to get 20s at the speeds I'm willing to drive. Easy math.

The FWD in winter was also a big deal for me.

As many maintenance problems as I've had with the PM, in the big picture I'm totally delighted. I'm at 229k on one and 210k on the other, and the list of things I haven't had to fix is far longer than the things I have. That said, if budget wasn't a concern, I would probably go with the Transit with the Ecopoop. I think the Ford is slightly better built, but not enough to justify the price. A van that does burnouts is a plus in my book! If doing ANY towing, I would go with the Transit or Nissan. If it was an RV I was after, I'd proabably go with a Chevy based cutaway, or buildout a Chevy box truck or something. If I was city driving only, it'd be the PM hands down. If I wanted a pimped out 70s style van, I'd put a naked lady mural and bubble window on the Ford. If I wanted a Yoder Toter (passenger mover) I'd go with the Ford as well. If I was looking for a mini-van substitute, I'd go with the short wheelbase PM.
And which would you buy if you where 50% city 50% open freeway in a long box, high roof refrigerated van? Not sure if refer will be run from added compressor or added alternator, but one will be added.
prohbob
 

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RWD might be more friendly to reefer conversions, but I really don't know.
 

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Was it Price, Ride, Quality, Options available or other?
First, we have been renting Fiat Ducato RVs (all are diesel, full manual trans) in Europe for several years, so the Promaster was always on the table. But initially we leaned toward a Sprinter because it's longer (2 feet more RV) and the MSRP price difference with diesels was small. But when the VW diesel fallout hit, we started seriously considering gas for the first time. We got bids on a gas Promaster and a Sprinter two weeks ago. The Promaster won by a huge massive landslide. Of course, there are many other things to like about the Promaster, too. No regrets.
 
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