March 30, 2021

VW Crafter vs. Mercedes Sprinter – What Are the Differences?

Crafter Sprinter VW Mercedes

Is the VW Crafter the same as a Sprinter?

Both Volkswagen and Mercedes are iconic marques offering incredible performance, reliability, quality and longevity. And that’s just as true whether you’re buying a car or a light commercial vehicle. Unsurprisingly, the two brands have been in fierce competition with each other for decades.

But one thing customers regularly ask us is whether the VW Crafter is the same as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. The vehicles, both undeniably impressive, are among the best-known names in the heavy van sector.

And, indeed, these two models were built alongside each other between 2006 and 2016 in Dusseldorf as identical creations built on the same platform, before the two German brands went their separate ways to compete directly with each other.

The ending of the deal between the two manufacturers caused VW to spend nearly €2bn designing a fresh Crafter, and it built a factory specifically so it could do just that. Meanwhile, the third-gen Sprinter was released during 2018.

Here, we look at the various similarities and differences between these vehicles:

  • Outside

While the VW takes simple, boxy approach to exterior design, its Merc counterpart goes for a sleek, curvy look. However, neither model has gone overboard when it comes to external styling.

  • On the inside

The Crafter is perhaps the more practical of these two vehicles, but the Sprinter may have a touch more stylish flair. The latter is also a little roomier. However, when it comes to views of the road and general driving comfort, there is not a huge amount to choose between them.

  • Spec, weight, dimensions etc.

While the Crafter offers three trim levels, with the Sprinter you get just the one. However, the Sprinter has generous proportions nonetheless, and is similar to its rival’s middle trim level in terms of equipment and so on.

Both models have three roof heights, and there are as many load lengths on the Crafter, with an extra one on the Sprinter. Maximum load volumes are 16.4 cubic metres on the Crafter, 15.5 on the Sprinter. The Crafter is notably the longer vehicle, with maximum load lengths up to 4,855m, in contrast with its competitor’s 4,300m.

Gross weights range from 3.0 to 5.0 tonnes for both vehicles, but the smaller, lighter Sprinter can take more weight. Payloads are up to 1,031kg on the 3.5-tonne Crafter, 1,387kg on its rival at the same tonnage.

As a final note on engines, the Sprinter is powered by 2.1-litre and 3.0-litre units, the Crafter by a slightly smaller 2.0-litre model. Both have automatic and manual and front and rear-wheel drives.

The verdict

In truth, the Sprinter and Crafter are both decent vans with a lot to offer, providing good driving and handling plus stellar on-road performance and sufficient options in terms of varying body styles to suit different needs.

The Crafter scores particularly well in terms of practicality of its cab, choice of specs and trims, as well as fuel economy. The Sprinter for its part offers a better payload, not to mention superb residual values.

How Vansdirect can help

As with anything else, a lot will depend on what you need your vehicle for but, ultimately, you should find there’s not that much to choose between these two excellent vans.

We’re happy to talk you through which model might best suit your particular needs. We also have some fantastic finance options, from leasing and contract hire to hire purchase, so offer great flexibility. Talk to us about which model would best suit your business and fleet needs, and which finance package would be most appropriate.