We just hit seven nights in the Roadtrek E-Trek campervan over the Eclipse weekend. Those seven nights have given us a real good introduction to the operation of the Roadtrek E-Trek and the Mercedes Chassis. The Roadtrek E-Trek is defiantly a big departure from our other campervans, but we have had enough interest over the summer from people looking for a campervan with a full bathroom and inside cooking that we decided to take the plunge on this van and see how it performs.
We are going to do a two part post on the new campervan to give everyone a good perspective on the campervan.
Part 1: Sprinter vs. Transit
First, we wanted to share our thoughts on the Ford Transit vs the Mercedes Sprinter. The E-Trek is only available on the Mercedes Sprinter Chassis so we did not have the option to go with a Ford Transit Chassis. Having driven both for many miles it is amazing how similar the diesel engines feel on the road and how similar the fuel economy is on the two engines. The Mercedes Sprinter diesel has a little more turbo lag than the Ford Transit diesel, but the Mercedes Sprinter diesel is quieter than the Ford under normal loads. The turbo in the Sprinter diesel is a little louder under heavy load. Both provide ample power on the hills and allow you to stay with traffic without issue. The Ford Transit transmission is defiantly more responsive to downshifts and the manual mode on the Ford Transit transmission does perform better. Steering and handling on both is very similar and the ride on both is very comparable. The radio and navigation system show the greatest differences during the initial setup and connecting a phone. In the Ford Transit system we can connect a phone in under a minute, while in the Mercedes Sprinter we spent close to ten minutes getting everything setup. Once the phone is setup in the Mercedes Sprinter the blue-tooth audio does connect up faster than in the Ford Transit and more consistently autoplays the last item listened too on your device. Mercedes Sprinter also allows you to easily turn on the rear camera. This is an amazing feature when you have bikes on the back and this is defiantly a feature I would like to see in the Ford Transit.
The Mercedes Sprinter does have the Ford Transit beat on driving safety features. The Mercedes Sprinter has blindspot assist, collision assist, high beam assist, and lane keeping assist. The blindspot assist is extremely valuable with such a long van and this is a great feature we would like to see in the Ford Transit. The high beam assist is a great feature for late night driving on two lane roads and this would be another great feature to see on the Ford Transit. The Mercedes Sprinter does have slightly better low beams, but the high beams on both are very similar. We do have one Ford Transit with a lane keeping system and it does perform very similar to the Mercedes system, but the blindspot system is much more useful in a large van.
The backup system on the Ford Transit is much better than the Mercedes Sprinter. My biggest issue with the sprinter is that the camera does not have a wide enough field of view. With the Ford Transit you get a much bigger field of view behind the campervan. Both systems will defiantly prevent you form running over something, but we can backup much quicker with the Ford Transit system.
The dashboard on each van is very different. The Ford Transit has much better and larger cup holders than the Mercedes Sprinter, but the cubbies in the Mercedes Sprinter give you a lot more dash storage space. Both vans could use a better place to store the much larger smartphones on the market. The Mercedes Sprinter has made it easier to move into the back portion of the van, but this came at the expense of the smaller cup holders. We are still torn on which one we would prefer. The glove box on the Ford Transit is larger and can hold more items and does a better job of preventing items from getting stuck behind the glove box. Within the first week in the Mercedes Sprinter I had lost an item behind the glove box and this was causing the light to remain on in the glove box.
Moving under the hood the first big difference is the location of the DEF filler. The Ford Transit DEF cap is right next to the drivers door and makes me less worried if I spill any fluid. The Mercedes Sprinter DEF cap is under the hood and makes it more likely you may spill DEF someplace you don't want to spill DEF. The Mercedes Sprinter hood does automatically lock open which is nice compared to the manual bar you need to use in the Ford Transit to keep the hood open. The hood opening on the Mercedes Sprinter is defiantly larger so it is easier to access items. The Mercedes Sprinter also makes the air filter more accessible and with the larger hood opening it should be easier to access items.
My final thoughts between the two vans is the unlocking of the doors. In the Ford Transit all of the doors automatically unlock once you open the driver. The Mercedes Sprinter requires using the key fob or hitting the button under the radio. On a daily basis this is my biggest frustration with the Mercedes Sprinter.
Campervans available for rent in Boise, ID and Salt Lake City, UT.