This is the second cargo van review in a series that focus on the 2015 Ram ProMaster, Ford Transit, MB Sprinter, Chevy Express and Nissan NV. It is part of the buying process of a new van, that will be converted into a nicely finished, one-person RV.
MB Sprinter Review
Ram ProMaster Review
Nissan NV Review
These reviews emphasis the elements of a van conversion, and are strictly my personal opinion and how that impacts on my conversion needs.
This week: Ford Transit
Still in investigative mode, there no test driving or negotiating, making it less stressful. Like my previous review of the 2015 Ram ProMaster, my goals for now are resolving some outstanding questions about availability, measurements at specific locations in the van and most importantly, the general feel and livability of the cargo van. Especially the few inches in interior standing height difference between the different brands is important, in addition to the correct overall length of the living space.
Unfortunately, my closest Ford dealer only had one short version (130” WB) ready for inspection, which limited my review, but which should resolve many of the questions I have.
The front view of the van is less dominated by the big plastic bumper as is the ProMaster, and would be further enhanced with an optional upgrade of the chrome grille and chrome headlamp trim. Both rear doors are more styled and look much better than the plain, rectangular doors of the ProMaster van.
I had a little difficulty closing the sliding door, but that seems something to be resolved with a little bit more force and attitude. The sliding door feels solid, with a similar nice rail as the ProMaster, yet no welding points visible as was with the Ram.
The roof is fairly flat, with a few lengthwise depressions, that don’t seem apt to collect rainwater, which may lead to rust problems as was the case with my old Dodge B-250. Easy installation for one or more exhaust fans that are needed for ventilation in the RV.
Like the Ram, the Ford Transit comes with tinted windows that look almost like clear windows and for my purposes, I will probably have to upgrade to the dark tinted option. I still have to verify, on one of my future visits, how they look and in what configuration they should be applied.
Getting behind the wheel, takes some effort, but like the Ram, the view is excellent and much improved over the Econoline. A deep dashboard and a side door, finished with a simple and sober, gray plastic panel that holds an integrated armrest. The view through the drivers side window is slightly better than with the Ram and the mirror is less obstructed.
The Ram ProMaster allows for easier moving between the two front seats or to the payload area; the dashboard sticks out a little bit in the Transit. The dashboard has two 12V outlets, yet no USB ports and a swivel chair is not available as an option.
The wheel housings (34“L x 7“W x 10“H) are much reduced in comparison to the ProMaster (35.5”L x 9.5”W x 17”H), yet the width between, still seems to be a little less.
The all-important standing height in this medium high roof model is barely sufficient for an average person and that is before flooring and a ceiling are applied. Probably sufficient for me, but inadequate for you tall guys, out there!
In my Dodge B-250, the car jack has always moved between available locations; the Ford Transit has solved that by creating a permanent storage under the passenger seat.
Only the 130” WB was available for inspection, thus leaving the 148” WB waiting to be evaluated, especially in regard to how its length impacts a van conversion, such as living space and underfloor storage. I also have to decide if the high roof is a better option, as the medium roof is barely high enough to stand straight.
Generally compared to the Ram ProMaster that I have inspected before, both vans are quite similar, as expected, yet the low floor of the Ram reduces underfloor storage and overall I found the Transit a better design with more attention to detail.
Some comparisons between Ford Transit & Ram ProMaster:
Bumper Size & Optional Chrome Grille
Rear Door Style
Sliding Door Welding Points
Side Door Plastic Panel
Side Door View
Wheel Housing Size
One thing that I was surprised you did not note is the inside wall to wall width of the vans — I think that the ProMaster is wider than either the Sprinter of Transit(?). Seems like this can be important, especially if sleeping crosswise is a possibility.
These cargo van reviews reflect largely my personal impressions during the actual walk-through. Actual payload widths between the different models are difficult to establish. At the floor level, one can measure from outside wall to outside wall or from inside wall to inside wall, which is often a total of 6-8 inches less. Then at the wheel well location it’s much less, while the height of the wheel well differs substantially between the models. Usable space at the top of the walls is relatively greater as the “thickness” of the walls is less than at the bottom.
What I recently noticed is that The MB Sprinter’s top walls curve more at the top, resulting in a 8 inch loss in width at the top, which is quite noticeable.
But I do have a very detailed 2015 Cargo Van Comparison, that contains all the measurements and options, so important for a conversion. And you can download a 55-page copy it here!