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What Ford Transit Model Is Best for a Camper Van?

Like the rest of the world, the auto industry is facing unforeseen challenges in the face of the worldwide pandemic. Massive unemployment rates are forcing buyers to completely rethink their care choices. However, new opportunities have opened up as “regular” purchases have become less common.

Manufacturers are working on brand new interiors for the post-COVID-19 world as more consumers look to feel at home in their cars. But one sector of car enthusiasts are going above and beyond when it comes to feeling comfortable — they’re converting trucks and vans into liveable homes. The Mercedes Sprinter Van is one of the most popular choices, but the Ford Transit is looking to overtake it.

How the Ford Transit became the affordable camper van option

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The Wayward Home recently published a piece on the Ford Transit, comparing it favorably against the much more expensive Mercedes Sprinter.

Some takeaways from the write-up: the Transit comes in low, medium, and high roof sizes. For a camper van conversion, it’s best to select a high-top or at least a medium-top.

Another point in the article was that the Transit saves a good deal of money over the Mercedes option. It starts at $8,000 below the Mercedes van before any customization, which gives you a significant amount more to invest in your conversion.

Not only is the Ford Transit less expensive to purchase, but it’s also significantly cheaper to repair. Even though Ford isn’t shy about outsourcing its factories and assembly plants, the vehicles still carry the repair costs you’d expect for American cars, and not what you’d pay for expensive foreign luxury vehicles.

Which Ford Transit is best?

Ford Transit vans on display at an auto show
Ford Transit models on display | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Ford offers four different Transit models: Ford Transit Cargo Van, Ford Transit Crew Van, Ford Transit Passenger Van XL, and Ford Transit Passenger Van XLT. A

s the Passenger Van XLT normally seats 15, it would seem to be the ideal starting place for a camper conversion. But it’s the most expensive of the four at over $42,000. The extra space goes a long way toward making the vehicle comfortable, but the unique structure of the smaller trims keeps them in the conversation.

For example, the Ford Transit Cargo Van was designed to seat two (and a bunch of cargo). If you’re looking to strip out the inside and replace it with a miniature living space, you don’t have to go through the process of restructuring where the seats used to be. Each trim level has successfully been converted to a camper van in the past, and the selection should be based on your particular needs and budget.

Entering 2020, the Ford Transit line received a redesign across the board. Most notably for adventuring types, it now boasts AWD — not the most common feature among vans.

If you’re adventuring far from home, it’s reassuring to know that you’re less likely to get stuck in the mud. The AWD option adds some ruggedness to an already robust 

The bottom line on the Ford Transit

RELATED: Is the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter the Most Reliable Van?

There’s not a specific Transit that’s “best” for camper conversion. The Cargo Van is inexpensive and already has a lot of space, the Crew Van and Passenger Van XL are great compromises on price and size, and the Passenger Van XLT is the top of the line.

If your budget is unlimited, you can go far above and beyond the Ford Transit options, but for most consumers the Transits represent an affordable entry into the world of camper van life.