Small white Ford Transit Connect campervan conversion

9 Amazing Small Van Conversions

Key takeaways

Considering a small van conversion for Van Life?

With their wide availability, great gas mileage, & ease of driving, they’re a great option for van life.

But what about the small interiors & off-roading capabilities? And what kind of conversion can you build with a small van?

In this post, we’ll find out.

9 Amazing Small Campervan Conversions

Small vans provide a good platform for designing a layout… but which is the best?

Here are 9 of the coolest small van conversions ever:

#9: Small Transit Connect Conversion with L-Shaped Bench, Freezer, and Microwave

  • Highlights: This professional Transit Connect build has it all with an L-shaped slide-out bed across from the kitchen. The kitchen has a sink, microwave, and lots of storage. And underneath the front booth, Small Vans Big World has installed both a fridge and freezer.
  • Van: 2020 Ford Transit Connect
  • Owner: @smallvansbigworld

 

#8: Bare Bones Ram ProMaster City Build

  • Highlights: This simple but professional build from Camp N Car has just a bed platform with some storage underneath and a pull-down desk. This build probably just sleeps one, but there’s plenty of room for a bike, skis, or a snowboard.
  • Van: Ram ProMaster City
  • Owner: @campncar (more photos on campncar.com)

 

#7: ProMaster City Camper with Slide-Down Bed, Rear and Front Awnings


 

#6: Small Converted Modernist-Design NV200 with Slide-Out Table

  • Highlights: This simple but functional NV200 build has a foldable van bed setup that converts into a bench seat for the adjacent shelf area. The rear has a pull-out table for outdoor cooking. In front is a small wooden shelf and a curtain that separates the driver’s cab from the rear.
  • Van: Nissan NV200
  • Owner: @3355_sungogo

 

#5: Ford Transit Connect Van with Outdoor Kitchen, Roof Box Storage, and an Awning

  • Highlights: This small van build from Monroe Built has a fully outdoor kitchen with a slideout for the stove, and a really unique slide-out sink set up. The interior is simple with a bed and some storage on the side. The DIY campervan roof rack has lots of roof box storage and an awning.
  • Van: 2018 Ford Transit Connect
  • Owner: @monroebuilt

 

#4: NV200 Conversion with Large Kitchenette that Sleeps One

  • Highlights: This NV200 build sleeps one in a cozy bed with drawer storage underneath. It also has a large kitchen area with a full-sized sink, plus a swing-around table and work desk. 
  • Van: Nissan NV200
  • Owner: @louvanlife

 

#3: Converted Metris Campervan with Electric Convertible Bed and Outdoor Shower

  • Highlights: This beautiful Metris conversion has a bed that turns into a couch at the push of a button. There’s a large countertop area with a sink and stove for cooking inside. At the rear of the vehicle is an installed outdoor shower that hooks onto the trunk door.
  • Van: 2016 Mercedes Metris
  • Owner: @innovativespaces (more photos at innovsb.com)

 

#2: Renault Trafic Van with Convertible Bench and Front Kitchenette

  • Highlights: This beautiful all-wood Trafic build has a convertible bench seat that slides out to a bed at night. The side wall of the van is built out with plenty of cabinets and drawers for storage. In the front of the van is a small kitchen with a sink and room for a camping stove.
  • Van: Renault Trafic L1H1
  • Owner: @kktee

 

#1: Small Campervan ProMaster City with Full Slide Out Kitchen and Roof Nest

  • Highlights: This small ProMaster from Craft AutoWorks is pretty serious. It has a full slide-out kitchen with a sink and burner, and a fridge under the bed platform. The interior bed is heated via DC power, and the Roof Nest on op ups the sleeping capacity to four.
  • Van: 2021 Ram ProMaster City
  • Owner: @craftautoworks (more photos at craftautoworks.com)

 

9 Reasons Why Vanlifers Like Small Van Conversions

Small vans conversions are great – but are they the best option for vanlife?

Here are 9 reasons why vanlifers like small van conversions:

  1. Easy to Drive: Compact vans like the Transit Connect and ProMaster City are designed for city travel so they’re much easier to drive compared to a larger van like a long-wheelbase Sprinter.
  2. Super Stealthy: Most small vans are used as utility vehicles, so no one will suspect you’re camping inside (unlike VW campervan conversions or similar builds).
  3. Good for DIY Conversions: The small interior space makes for a relatively easy build if it’s your first time converting a van yourself.
  4. Park Anywhere: With their low clearance and short exterior, you can park pretty much anywhere in these smaller vans.
  5. Larger Than a Minivan: Utility vehicles like the Transit Connect and ProMaster City are just about as compact as a minivan, but have a more spacious interior.
  6. Inexpensive New and Used: Small vans are much cheaper than their larger counterparts.
  7. Widely Available: Utility vehicles are very common these days and they aren’t hard to find on the used car market.
  8. Easy to Service: These cars are pretty easy to service yourself, and most mechanics will know how to deal with them.
  9. Good Gas Mileage: Their compact size means that these small vans get pretty good gas mileage for a van.

6 Reasons Why Vanlifers Dislike Small Van Conversions

As with every vehicle, there are downsides to small vans.

Here are 6 reasons why vanlifers dislike small van conversions:

  1. Not Great for Off-Roading: These small vans have really low clearance and are FWD, so they are not made for off-roading, and you could have some trouble getting to some campsites.
  2. Low Ceiling Height: The low ceiling height inside means you definitely won’t be able to stand up inside, and sitting inside can feel a bit cramped.
  3. Not Enough Room for Amenities: The interior of these vans just doesn’t have enough room for amenities that might be essential to you, like a shower or indoor kitchen.
  4. Loud Road Sounds: Since small vans like the ProMaster City and Transit Connect aren’t technically made for freeway driving, they can be pretty loud inside when driving at high speeds.
  5. More Comfortable for One Person: These small vans will much more comfortably fit a single person compared to a couple or a family.
  6. Not Made for Long Road Trips: Vans like the ProMaster City and Transit Connect are designed to be used as compact utility vehicles that are driven short distances at a time. You may run into mechanical issues when using these cars for long road trips

 

Cost, Dimensions, & Fuel Economy

Small Van Cost

How much do some small vans cost?

Model New Used Price
Ford Transit Connect $29,365 $17,995 Check Price
Ram ProMaster City $30,475 $27,950 Check Price
Nissan NV200 $23,500 $13,985 Check Price
Renault Trafic $51,952 $28,594 Check Price
Mercedes Metris $34,900 $27,954 Check Price
VW California $73,385 N/A Check Price

 

Small Van Dimensions

What are the dimensions of small vans?

Model Interior Height Interior Length (cargo) Interior Width Ext Length
Ford Transit Connect 49.5 inches 117.5 inches 48.7 inches 190 inches
Ram ProMaster City 51.8 inches 87.2 inches 60.4 inches 187.5 inches
Nissan NV200 53.5 inches 80.3 inches 59.1 inches 173.2 inches
Renault Trafic 54.6 inches 99.9 inches 65.4 inches 196.8 inches
Mercedes Metris 55 inches 105.4 inches 66.3 inches 202.4 inches
VW California 55.5 inches 101.3 inches 66.9 inches 193.1 inches

 

Small Van Fuel Economy

What kind of fuel economy can you expect from small vans?

Model City Highway Combined
Ford Transit Connect 24 MPG 27 MPG 25.5 MPG
Ram ProMaster City 21 MPG 28 MPG 24.5 MPG
Nissan NV200 24 MPG 26 MPG 25 MPG
Renault Trafic 24 MPG 34 MPG 29 MPG
Mercedes Metris 19 MPG 23 MPG 21 MPG
VW California 36.2 MPG 42.2 MPG 39.2 MPG

 

Conclusion: Is a Small Van Conversion Right for you?

There are a lot of reasons to like small vans: They’re easy to drive, inexpensive, & get good gas mileage – but they may not be for you.

Biggest factors:

  • Good Fuel Economy
  • Inexpensive
  • Small Interior
  • Not for Off-Roading

So should you get one?

Yes! Small campervan conversions are great because they provide nearly the same utility as larger vans for less money, are easier to build, and they get great gas mileage.

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