Cargo Vans vs Sprinter Vans

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Last Modified: June 19, 2024

Cargo Vans vs Sprinter Vans has been a truck parking lot debate for years.

Read on to find out the differences between cargo and sprinters, and what is the best fit for you.

Cargo Vans by Ford, GMC and Chrysler were originally the preferred unit to haul cargo in the 90’s.

Then Mercedes Benz introduced Sprinter Vans in 1995 in Europe and began exporting them to the U.S. in 2001.

Ford, GMC and Chrysler have since updated their original designs with Cargo Vans similar to Sprinters.


Cargo Vans vs Sprinter Vans in Size

Independent Contractors debate whether they may have more access to larger and taller loads with Sprinter Vans.


Ford, Dodge, Chrysler and GMC Cargo vans are approximately 121″ long x 52″ wide x 52″ high.

This allows for 2 standard freight pallets or a 48″ maximum height.

Extended wheelbase Cargo Vans have an extended length to 140″ for 3 standard freight pallets.

Most of these Cargo Vans have a payload capacity between 3,339 lbs and 4,334 lbs.

2024 GMC Savana Cargo Van
2024 GMC Savana Cargo Van







The hightop Ford Transit has a 148″ length  and  54″ width plus a generous height of 74″.

The payload capacity for the Ford Transit is between 3,148 lbs to 5,114 lbs depending on model.

2024 Ford Transit Hightop Van
2024 Ford Transit Hightop Van








Chrysler Ram Promasters are similar at 122″ length x 55″ width and 76″ high.

Depending on wheelbase and roof model, a Promaster 2500 payload capacity runs between 4,680 lbs and 5,160 lbs.

2024 Dodge Ram Promaster Hightop Van
2024 Dodge Ram Promaster Hightop Van







Sprinter High Top Vans have approximately 173″ cargo bed length with a standing height of 79″.

This allows for 3 standard freight pallets up to 79″ height.

The Mercedes Benz Sprinter offers a payload capacity up to 6,812 pounds.

2024 Mercedes Benz Sprinter Hightop Van
2024 Mercedes Benz Sprinter Hightop Van


Cargo Vans vs Sprinter Vans in Cost

Independent Contractors also debate whether access to more freight compensates for the higher cost of a Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van.


The average cost of a standard Cargo Van today is $40,000.

GMC (Chevy) still builds this standard smaller type of Cargo Van.


Ford and Chrysler (Dodge) have updated their Cargo Vans to better compete with Mercedes Benz Sprinters.

New Ford and Chrysler (Dodge) Cargo Vans typically cost between $45,000 – $52,000.


The average cost of a Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van is higher at $58,000 – $62,000.


Cargo Vans vs Sprinter Vans in Maintenance and Repairs


Ford, Chevy and Chrysler Vans include a choice of gasoline or diesel engine and transmission.

They can be repaired at virtually any standard repair shop in the U.S.

A rebuilt transmission for this type of Cargo Van averages around $2,500.


Sprinter Vans include Mercedes diesel engines and transmissions.

There tend to be fewer repair facilities in the U.S. to service Mercedes equipment.

Repair and replacement of the drivetran is considerably more expensive.

A rebuilt transmission for a Sprinter averages around $4,500.


Cargo Vans vs Sprinter Vans in Job Opportunites

Today Sprinters are the preferred vehicles for the Expedited Freight industry.

Though some Expediters operate with Ford Transits and Chrysler ProMasters with success.

Expedited Freight is the fast delivery of valuable cargo across state lines.


Ford Transits and Chrysler ProMasters tend to be the preferred vehicles for Last Mile Delivery.

Cargo Van Insurance Requirements and Sprinter Van Insurance Requirements

Cargo Vans & Sprinters are only regulated by FMCSA if they are hauling freight for hire across state lines.

They are then required to obtain their own DOT authority and maintain a minimum of $300,000 CSL Commercial Auto Liability Insurance.

If they are not hauling freight across state lines and are operating Intrastate, their state will determine whether they are a commercial vehicle.

Read more here on What is a Commercial Vehicle.


Understand What is a Commercial Vehicle
Understand What is a Commercial Vehicle

How much is insurance for Cargo Vans vs Sprinters

Cargo van base insurance costs vary  WIDELY from state to state.

…and like your personal auto insurance you drive your own premium higher or lower with:


  1. Credit
  2. Age and Driving Record
  3. Radius of operations, Unlimited for Expediting or Last Mile Delivery
  4. Type of Cargo
  5. Stated Value of your Cargo Van or Sprinter*


*Your Total Commercial insurance premium for a Sprinter Van or Cargo is similar for you within the same valued units.


In other words, if either the Cargo Van or Sprinter is worth $50,000…then your own insurance premium will be similar.

Both types of commercial vans are underwritten as under 10,001 GVW units by the Insurance Algorithms.


We are experts at getting the best insurance rates for cargo vans.

Call us for tips and questions 330-864-1511.


More Commercial Van Insurance Common Questions


Owning, Renting or Leasing a Cargo Van or Sprinter

Sometimes an Independent Contractor thinks about renting or leasing their Cargo Van or Sprinter instead of owning one.

The challenge is that any type of trucking, whether expediting or last mile delivery, miles will add up on your unit.

If your lease contract limits you to the typical 12,000 mile per year then the miles penalty in your agreement will come into play.


Is Leasing your Equipment the same thing as Leasing ON in Trucking for Hire?

No.  A lease is your contract you have between you and whoever is selling you your Cargo Van or Sprinter.

Leasing ON, means that you have signed an agreement with a Motor Carrier to use your equipment (Cargo Van/Sprinter) to haul freight under their DOT authority.


Click here if you want to learn how to become an Owner Operator with No Experience.

For the Best Commercial Truck Insurance just give us a call at CIS.

We’d love to help you get on the road to success as an Expediter or Last Mile Delivery Pro!





  • 2002 Founder and CEO of Commercial Insurance Solutions, Inc., Shelly Benisch specializes in providing Commercial Truck Insurance for owner operators and small motor carriers. Both CIS and TRS certified, She also writes a free educational trucking insurance advice blog dedicated to the little guy.

  • Executive Director of Commercial Insurance Solutions, Inc., Christina Cummings leads her team in providing the best Truck Insurance with the best rates for Owner Operators and small Motor Carriers. Christina is TRS certified as a Transportation Risk Specialist. She is your "go to" person at CIS with questions, tips and networking opportunities in our trucking and expediting community.

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