Prepare for the slowest drag race in history between a 2019 Mercedes Sprinter, a 2018 Volkswagen Crafter, and a 2018 Ford Transit.
To be fair to each of these august van makers, each of them makes more powerful engines for their respective vans than the ones tested in this drag race video from Carwow. But the point of the video is not to test the best of the best vans in the world. Instead, this test will pit the most average of commercial vans against one another in a series of tests to see which one will come out on top.
On the far left is the Mercedes Sprinter. Under the hood is a 2.0-L inline 4-cylinder turbodiesel with 163 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque. Zero to sixty is not measured because literally nobody cares to measure the acceleration time of a commercial van. Same with top speed. Power is routed to the rear wheels thanks to a 7-speed automatic transmission. A four-wheel-drive version is also available.
In the middle is the Volkswagen Crafter. It also has a 2.0-L inline 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine, but this one makes 174 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed manual feeds power to the rear wheels, but a 6-speed automatic is also available. Unladen weight also beats the Mercedes by about 200 lbs.
And on the right is the Ford Transit, which comes with a 2.2-L 4-cylinder turbodiesel with 170 hp. The one tested has a 6-speed manual, but a 6-speed automatic is again available. Unlike the rest, the Transit is an FWD van. There are so many different versions of the Transit it’s virtually impossible to nail down a specific curb weight, but expect it to be a little heftier than the Crafter.
By the numbers, the Crafter should be our winner thanks to its lightweight and more powerful engine.
And yet it lost horribly in every test by the brake test. In the quarter-mile drag race, the Crafter posted a time of 23.2 seconds, while the Transit managed a time of 22.6 seconds. The Sprinter lived up to its name with a time of 21.2 seconds, with the same finishing order in the rolling race as well.
Only in the brake test did the Crafter exceed expectations by stopping ahead of every other truck. Which, when you think about it, is probably something you want in a van over extreme acceleration.