The market for cargo vans has completely changed during the last few years. Sprinter had a rough start with Chrysler as the beloved B-250 series came to an end. The transition to Freightliner didn’t do any good to the brand, but it finally found its groove at Mercedes Benz. The new 2014 model offers a greatly improved 2.1-L 4-cylinder diesel engine, that will strengthen its position among commercial vans.
A few years ago Nissan entered the commercial van market, that is dominated by American brands. Even as they only could expect small sale numbers, Nissan has succeeded to open up the market with a successful introduction of the quirky NV series.
The recovery from the economic crisis, the aging of the current lines of cargo vans and a growing demand for trucks and vans, has led to the introduction of the European style Ram ProMaster in September 2013, followed by the Ford Transit van in early 2014.
Only the Chevy Express remained largely unchanged. The lack of high roof models in combination with smaller cargo volumes, may be its downfall. At the same time, the new European models still have to prove themselves in a tough American market; Chevrolet may have the last laugh!
Ram ProMaster special features
This is the only Front Wheel Drive van in this comparison. The passenger floor is 6-7 inches higher than the cargo load floor, the diesel version has an awkward robotic manual transmission, and the small 1500 low roof model does not fit in a standard garage.
Ford Transit special features
The 2014 Transit has integrated the opening for filling the fuel tank with the driver’s side door. It has the highest floor-to-roof distance.
Nissan NV special features
The NV series MSRP start at the lower end when compared the the other main brands, and the interior height is one of its best features, but this van is short on cargo floor length.
MB Sprinter special features
The 2014 model has not changed much, except for a great new diesel engine that performs well with a greater fuel efficiency than the previous motor.
Chevy Express special features
The lack of innovation may hurt it in the short term, but their outstanding towing capacities still fill a need.
After you have chosen your model, always verify the specific ratings, size and capabilities of that cargo van with its manufacturer, as the above information is for research only.
Updated as of October 10, 2013