Vans are some of the most popular vehicles for overlanding builds. Each model, from the Mitsubishi Delica to the Ford Transit, has its strong following. As does the Mercedes Sprinter, the bigger brother of the Metris van. And if you want to take one off-pavement, you may want to consider Storyteller Overland’s Mercedes Sprinter Beast Mode 4×4.
Storyteller Overland Mercedes Sprinter Mode 4×4
Although Alabama-based Storyteller Overland has been in the RV business for some time, it’s only recently expanded into #vanlife and overlanding, Motor Trend reports. Its first Mercedes Sprinter Mode 4×4 debuted in 2019, Motor1 reports.
Now the company’s unveiled its 2021 models. Storyteller Overland offers 3 levels of Mercedes Sprinter Mode 4×4, Automobile explains—Classic, Stealth, and Beast. Each is built on the 2500 4×4 model, Business Insider reports, with a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 rated at 188 hp and 325 lb-ft.
All Sprinter Mode 4x4s have some shared features. Firstly, they all feature 2 convertible beds: one’s a sofa, the other is a work surface/storage space. The vans also have a fold-away interior shower, a portable toilet, and a fold-down table. And the kitchen area comes with a sink, an induction cooktop, a refrigerator/freezer, and a microwave. Plus, for 2021, Storyteller Overland’s added more bug screens and window shades, BI reports.
Each Mode 4×4 comes with multiple 110V, 12V, and USB outlets, as well as front swivel seats and dimmable LED lights. The Sprinter van conversions also add a cabin A/C unit, an interior fan, and diesel-fired heating and hot-water systems. Roof-mounted solar panels supply the necessary power; 2 are standard, but up to 6 can be fitted. The energy is stored in a 12-kWh M-Power lithium-ion battery pack.
The Beast Mode 4×4, though, takes things a bit further. It adds a KC Lighting package, fender flares, and a rear door-mounted spare and accessory mount. Underneath, the overlanding Sprinter has upgraded suspension, which increases ground clearance, smooths the ride, and allows for larger tires. The Sprinter Beast Mode 4×4 also has an on-board ARB compressor, to remotely inflate and deflate the tires.
Pricing and availability
Unlike many other Sprinter van conversions, Storyteller Overland’s Mode 4x4s aren’t fully-custom builds. Each has the same floor plan and layout in order to streamline and simplify production.
The Mode 4x4s aren’t exactly cheap. The Classic starts at just under $150,000. Meanwhile, the Beast Mode is just under $190,000. However, all 3 are available from regular RV dealers. And each price includes the cost of the Mercedes Sprinter 2500, equipped with navigation, wireless charging, heated mirrors, a 360° camera, and numerous ADAS features.
Beast Mode vs. other Sprinter van conversions
Expedition Portal found plenty to like about the pre-updated Mercedes Sprinter Mode 4×4. And the 2021 models seem to resolve the storage issue the reviewer experienced. However, for those looking to go full #vanlife, there are a few other Sprinter van conversions available, Automobile reports.
One alternative, Van Clan reports, is Portland-based Outside Van. The company produces custom overlanding vans, many based on the Mercedes Sprinter. Outside Van can give your Sprinter extra lights, heating systems, adjustable air suspension, a kitchen, even a bike repair station. But these options don’t come cheap. As of this writing, the company lists one lightly-used 2018 Sprinter 4×4 build at $289,500.
But there are cheaper options, such as the ones from Sportsmobile. Including the price of the base Sprinter, it’s possible to get an overland-ready van for about $100,000. Although each van is customizable, Sportsmobile’s builds have a convertible bed, a refrigerator, a sink, and a microwave as standard. Other options include hot-water heaters, built-in toilets, roof-mounted solar panels, and even a pop-up tent area.
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