Iconic shot of 4x4 170" wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter van parked in mountains

11 Amazing 4×4 Sprinter Van Conversions

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Considering a 4×4 Sprinter van conversion for van life?

With increased ground clearance, 4wd, & iconic looks, 4×4 Sprinters are a fantastic option.

But how do they stack up against other popular off-road capable vans like the AWD Transit, Ford Econoline, & GMC Savana?

In this post, we’ll find out.

11 Amazing Off-Road Sprinter Van Builds

With 4wd and ton of aftermarket parts, 4×4 Sprinters are a great platform for building an overland van… but which van the best?

Here are 11 of the coolest overland Sprinters ever:

#11: Super Clean 4 Wheel Drive Rossmönster Sprinter Van Conversion

  • Highlights: This 170″ 4×4 Sprinter campervan is an off-road enthusiast’s dream. It’s equipped with a 2″ lift kit from van compass, Baja Designs LP9 fog lights, a Warn winch, an RRE Global pop top, gear storage from Owl Vans, and a luxurious indoor shower, measuring 24″ x 30″.
  • Van: 170″ 4×4 Sprinter
  • Owner: @rossmonster

 

#10: Massive 170″ Extended Wheelbase 4×4 Sprinter Van Conversion

  • Highlights: This impressively built 4×4 170″ extended wheelbase Sprinter nicknamed “Megalodon” is designed for adventure and luxury. It features a heavy-duty front bumper from CA Tuned Off-Road, a roof rack for carrying additional gear, Baja Designs lighting, a retractable awning, full-size fridge, shower, and built-in dog kennel and retractable dog bowls.
  • Van: 170″ Extended Wheelbase 4×4 Sprinter
  • Owner: @advanture.co

 

#9: 4×4 Sprinter with Two-Person Dinette & Gear Storage

  • Highlights: This professionally built 4×4 Sprinter has a custom 2 person dinette, fixed bed with bumpouts, Aluminess modular roof rack, and tons of gear storage.
  • Van: 4×4 Mercedes Sprinter 144”
  • Owner: @rossmonster_vans

 

#8: Sleek 4 Wheel-Drive Sprinter with Wood Paneling and LED Lighting

  • Highlights: This short wheelbase sprinter has a small kitchen underneath a window and booth seating with a slide-out table. There’s recessed LED lighting in the wood paneled ceiling and underneath the minimalist cabinetry.
  • Van: 2020 4×4 Mercedes Sprinter 144”
  • Owner: @sprintervanlife

 

#7: Blue Gray Sprinter with Tiled Shower and Swivel Arm Desk

  • Highlights: This professional build from AciVan Conversions has a small kitchen with just a sink and plug-in induction van stove. There’s a large booth for dining, or a workspace, plus a large tiled shower.
  • Van: 2021 Mercedes Sprinter 170”
  • Owner: @the.activ

 

#6: Wildworx 4×4 Sprinter Camper Van Conversion

  • Highlights: This off-road Sprinter van by Wildworx Customs (nicknamed “the Overlander”) is designed for true adventure. It’s 4×4 chassis, off-road tires and suspension, and suite of off-grid camper van features make it perfect for long distance expeditions.
  • Van: Mercedes Sprinter 4×4 Dually
  • Owner: @Wildworx

 

#5: Mid-Roof 4wd Sprinter Conversion with Aftermarket Suspension

  • Highlights: This lifted Sprinter 4×4 mid-roof features a heavy duty front bumper from CA Tuned Offroad as well as aftermarket brakes, a roof rack, Baja Designs lighting, and a convertible bed.
  • Van: 2018 Mercedes Sprinter 3500
  • Owner: @more.van.ever

 

#4: 170″ Wheelbase Sprinter 4×4 With Roof Rack & Storage

  • Highlights: This lifted Sprinter 4×4 170″ campervan boasts a Van Compass 6.3 suspension kit, a roof rack, tire carrier, cargo ladder, and cargo box by Dutch Van Parts, and Black Rhino 17×8 wheels wrapped with 265/70R17 AT KO2’s.
  • Van: 2021 4×4 170″ Sprinter
  • Owner: @the4x4spaceship

 

#3: 4wd 144″ Sprinter Campervan With Seating for 4

  • Highlights: This 4×4 144″ Sprinter campervan from Exclusive Outfitters has seating capacity for 4, an Espar diesel heater, a 600Ah lithium battery bank, 3000 Watt Pure Sine inverter, upgraded front and rear suspension, and plenty of storage for all of your belongings.
  • Van: 144″ 4×4 Sprinter
  • Owner: @exclusive_outfitters

 

#2: Japanese Teahouse Inspired Sprinter with Room for a Dog and Baby

  • Highlights: This unique Sprinter build took inspiration from Japanese teahouses with its floor to ceiling wooden slats. The back of the van has some booth seating and a small table that turn into a bed. In the front is room for a baby carrier and crib. Under the passenger seat the owners mounted a diesel heater to keep the van warm in cold weather.
  • Van: 2018 Mercedes Sprinter 144”
  • Owner: @theryovan

 

#1: 4×4 Sprinter Conversion with Roof Deck

  • Highlights: The interior of this 4×4 Sprinter has a large side-facing platform bed with surfboard storage underneath, plus a kitchen in the front. The back of the van holds a spare tire and a heavy-duty storage box. On top, the roof rack holds solar panels and a roof deck.
  • Van: 4×4 Mercedes Sprinter
  • Owner: @werollwithit

 

10 Reasons Why Vanlifers Like 4×4 Sprinter Conversions

Sprinter vans are reliable, spacious, and capable – but are they the best vehicle for vanlife?

Here are ten reasons why vanlifers like 4wd Sprinter vans:

  1. Cool Factor: There’s no denying it; 4×4 Sprinter vans are just plain cool. If you want your build to stand out, having a 4×4 Sprinter is a great way.
  2. Drivability: Despite their size, 4×4 Sprinter vans are surprisingly easy to drive. They offer excellent maneuverability and a relatively tight turning radius, making navigating through narrow city streets or winding mountain roads comfortable.
  3. Ground Clearance: One of the most significant advantages of a 4×4 Sprinter van is the added ground clearance. 4wd Sprinters are roughly 4″ higher in the front and 3″ taller in the rear.
  4. Peace of Mind: Knowing your van has 4wd and can handle moderate snow and simple off-road obstacles provides much peace of mind when exploring challenging terrain.
  5. Fuel Economy: Despite their ruggedness and off-road capabilities, 4×4 Sprinter conversions remain relatively fuel-efficient. Whether you opt for the gasoline or diesel version, these vans offer commendable fuel efficiency, allowing you to go further on each tank.
  6. Luxury: If you want a little luxury in your day-to-day van life, the Sprinter vans don’t disappoint. Mercedes boasts a refinement and interior quality that makes daily road life a little sweeter.
  7. Aftermarket Parts: With the popularity of Sprinter vans, the aftermarket industry has responded with a wide array of aftermarket parts and accessories. From shocks to roof racks and bumpers, you’ll find plenty of options to customize your van according to your needs and preferences.
  8. Long Cargo Length: The 4×4 Sprinter conversion offers ample cargo space, especially with the extended 170″ wheelbase option. With up to 189 inches of cargo length, you’ll have plenty of room to bring all your gear, equipment, and personal belongings for the ride.
  9. Long Lasting: Sprinter vans, particularly those equipped with diesel engines, have a well-deserved reputation for longevity. It’s common to see Sprinters from the 1990s still on the road.
  10. Build Community: One of the advantages of converting a Sprinter van is the numerous online resources & forums available.

7 Reasons Why Vanlifers Dislike Off-Road Capable Sprinters

As with every vehicle, there are downsides to 4×4 Sprinters.

Here are seven reasons why vanlifers dislike converting Sprinter vans:

  1. Expensive: The upfront cost of 4wd Sprinters can be a significant drawback. Compared to non-4wd models, prices are $10,000 to $20,000 higher.
  2. Independent Front Suspension: 4×4 Sprinters have independent front suspension, which is great for handling and daily driveability but not so much off-road durability. The Ford Econoline and GMC Savana feature solid axles, which hold up better.
  3. Maintenance Cost: As luxury vehicles, Mercedes Sprinters come with maintenance and repair costs that align with their high-end status. The parts and services needed for Sprinter vans can be more expensive than non-luxury vans, which can add up over time. 
  4. It’s too Nice: Sprinter vans just feel a little too nice to do any serious off-roading. Most builders who fantasize about doing serious off-roading will probably have a hard time putting stress on a $75,000 van.
  5. Vehicle Height: While the high roof of a Sprinter allows for ample headroom inside the van, it also poses challenges when going off-road. 
  6. Hard to Find Used: Due to the popularity of 4×4 sprinters, it’s nearly impossible to find one on the used market at an affordable price.
  7. Now AWD: If finding a 4×4 sprinter wasn’t tricky enough, Mercedes recently announced plans to switch to AWD. 

 

Cost, Dimensions, & Fuel Economy

Now that you know a little more about 4wd sprinter vans, let’s see how it stacks up against the AWD Transit, Ford Econoline, & GMC Savana.

4×4 Sprinter Cost

Model New Used Price
Mercedes Sprinter 144” N/A $65,000 Check Price
Mercedes Sprinter 170” N/A $75,000 Check Price
Mercedes Sprinter 170” Ext N/A $80,000 Check Price
Ford Transit AWD $60,000 $45,000 Check Price
GMC Savana $38,100 $26,700 Check Price
Ford Econoline N/A $15,750 Check Price

 

4×4 Sprinter Dimensions

Model Interior Height Interior Length (cargo) Interior Width Ext Length
Mercedes Sprinter 144” 79 inches 132.9 inches 70.4 inches 233.5 inches
Mercedes Sprinter 170” 79 inches 173 inches 70 inches 290 inches
Mercedes Sprinter 170” Ext 79 inches 189 inches 70 inches 274 inches
Ford Transit 130” 56.9 inches 126 inches 69 inches 219.9 inches
Ford Transit 148” 56.9 inches 143.7 inches 69 inches 235.5 inches
Ford Transit 148” Ext 81.5 inches 172.2 inches 69 inches 263.9 inches
Ford Econoline 53.9 inches 121.4 inches 73.6 inches 212 inches
GMC Savana 55.1 inches 126.8 inches 62 inches 224.1 inches

 

4×4 Sprinter Fuel Economy

Model City Highway Combined
Mercedes Sprinter – 2.1L L4 Gas 21 MPG 24 MPG 22 MPG
Mercedes Sprinter – 2.1L L4 Diesel 21 MPG 24 MPG 22 MPG
Mercedes Sprinter – 3.0L V6 Diesel 18 MPG 21 MPG 19.5 MPG
Ford Transit – 3.5L PFDi V6 14 MPG 18 MPG 16 MPG
Ford Transit – 3.5L EcoBoost® V6 18 MPG 24 MPG 21 MPG
Ford Transit – 2.0L GDI I-4 19 MPG 27 MPG 23 MPG
Ford Econoline 13 MPG 17 MPG 15 MPG
GMC Savana 11 MPG 16 MPG 13 MPG

 

Conclusion: Is a 4×4 Sprinter Conversion Right for You?

There are a lot of reasons to like the 4wd Sprinter: It’s cool looking, reliable, & easy to drive – but it may not be for you.

Biggest factors:

  • Vehicle Cost
  • Cool Factor
  • Durability
  • Maintenance Cost

So should you get one?

Maybe! If you plan to do any serious off-roading, a 4×4 Sprinter van conversion is probably not the best option because the vehicle is tall, narrow, and not built for true off-road performance. If, however, you stick mostly to highways but want the peace of mind of having 4wd, a 4×4 sprinter is a great option.

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