Sprinter vans have a lot to offer, and different sizes of sprinter vans have their pros and cons.
The primary difference between a Sprinter 144 and a 170 is the interior volume. A 170 can fit more inside the van itself. Other differences include ease of driving, parking, and possibly gas mileage, depending on the load being carried at the time.
The differences are more nuanced than you might expect! Keep reading below to learn more about choosing the right Sprinter van for your needs.
The Differences Between a Sprinter 144 Vs. Sprinter 170
A Sprinter 144 and 170 are more similar than you might expect, but they still have their differences. A potential buyer will want to seriously consider these pros and cons before committing to either model since owning a Sprinter Van usually involves some kind of individual modifications that can be difficult to redo.
The wheelbase is measured front wheel axle and the rear wheel axle. The sprinter vans have two standard options and an extended wheelbase for the 170.
- 144″ Wheelbase
- 170″ Wheelbase
- 170″ Extended Wheelbase
The Interior Volume
The most apparent difference between vans is in the interior volume. A Sprinter 170 is three feet longer than a Sprinter 144, leaving that much more space to be filled by shelving, boxes, equipment, or even a kitchenette and a bed.
A 144 is still more than adequate for many people, particularly when they’ve chosen the extra head height, but those extra feet can make a difference in some situations that are worth considering. Van Lifers, for example, often appreciate the ability to add a bathroom or a larger kitchen, and maintenance crews can fit a whole extra snowblower inside.
The Ease Of Parking
While a 170 can, surprisingly, fit in a normal parking space, it isn’t always an easy fit. It usually requires pulling the wheels up to the curb and hoping for the best. A 144 can consistently fit into normal-sized parking spaces without a struggle.
The Turn Radius
The turn radius on the 144 is one of the most obvious upsides of the shorter van. Less length means a 3-point turn can happen in smaller spaces without a major struggle.
Driving in Cities or on Small Roads
Tight city streets and winding mountain roads will be a struggle for either van, but they’ll be much harder to handle in the 170. That extra length cuts into the turn radius and puts you at risk of clipping other cars or buildings on tight curves. Add in the lack of visibility, and a drive through a canyon can be genuinely scary.
Driving in General
Driving will feel easier and more familiar in the 144 than in the 170.
While it is possible for anyone to feel comfortable driving the 170 with some practice, it will always feel profoundly different from a normal car. A 144, being three feet shorter and possibly a foot lower in height, is going to be a little more predictable on turns and driving down the road.
If driving is a serious concern for you and you are unfamiliar with big cars, give the 170 a test drive before committing. You can see if a local dealer or friend with a van would be up for a quick driving lesson. If you’re too scared to drive, it won’t do you any good to have a larger car.
Gas Mileage, But Not as Much as You’d Think
Gas mileage can vary between the Sprinter 144 and the Sprinter 170, but it varies less than you might think. The 2022 model listed on the Mercedes-Benz website shows no noticeable difference in gas mileage between the two or in the gas cost estimates for the first five years of ownership.
In older models, the 144 might get slightly better gas mileage if it’s less weighed down by modifications or cargo.
What is Different in the Sprinter 144?
The Sprinter 144 is the smaller model of the Sprinter Van, and that size difference is the reason for every pro or con it has. Every other retailer detail of the vans has the potential to be identical.
144″ Wheelbase Dimensions
The sprinter van’s wheelbase is 144 inches. The full-length measurement of the van from bumper to bumper is 19′ 6″. The overall cargo space for this van will be 11 feet.
Smaller Interior Volume
The obvious difference between the Sprinter 144 and the Sprinter 170 is that the 144 is shorter. The numbers in the title refer to the length of the vans.
This three-foot difference in the length of the van can be a dealbreaker for many people, particularly those who want to use the van for a living or working space. This smaller interior volume can make it tricky to function well inside.
However, this smaller size does come with some benefits. The Sprinter 144 is easier to drive through crowded city streets, to park without pulling up to the curb, and to take on narrow roads without worrying about tight turns.
Easier to Park
The Sprinter 144 can easily fit inside a normal parking spot. Neither the width nor the length should be an issue.
While people who live in more spacious suburban areas shouldn’t have too much of an issue with the larger Sprinter vans sitting in parking spaces, anyone who lives in a cramped location or has frequent street parking will appreciate the shorter length.
Since Sprinter vans are usually used, as their name implies, to travel quickly from one location to another, the possibility of parking easily is a major advantage for many people. Even a little bit of ease in finding a place to stay can be a game-changer in tight spaces and schedules.
Easier to Drive
Like parking in cramped spaces, driving in cramped spaces can be easier with the shorter Sprinter 144. It gives a little more maneuverability in backing out, making tight turns, driving on winding roads, and any other scenario that comes with driving larger vehicles.
Driving a Sprinter 144 will feel more comfortable and familiar than driving a Sprinter 170. The 144, being three feet shorter, feels less overwhelming. It isn’t as heavy, and the shorter roof option makes it feel less wobbly on freeway drives and faster turns.
If anyone has driven a large SUV or a truck, a 144 will feel manageable in comparison to larger Sprinter vans.
Has Two Height Options
The Sprinter 144 offers two height options. The roof can either be 6’7″, which is more than tall enough to accommodate anyone and make working or living out of the van manageable, or 5’7″, which is still very comfortable for most people seated in the van.
Height preference in the 144 is usually based on the purpose of the van. If it is intended to be a passenger van, 5’7″ should be more than comfortable. If the van is going to be used for item transportation, work, or living, 6’7″ could be more comfortable and functional. However, the added height can make it feel strange when learning to drive it.
What is Different in the Sprinter 170?
The Sprinter 170 is a taller, longer, and all-around more spacious version of the Sprinter van design. With this, there are inevitably going to be some differences.
170″ Wheelbase Dimensions
The sprinter van’s wheelbase is 170 inches. The full-length measurement of the van from bumper to bumper is 22′ 10″. The overall cargo space for this van will be 14′ 4″ feet.
170″ Extended Wheelbase Dimensions
The sprinter van’s extended wheelbase remains 170 inches; however, the chassis extends 1.5 feet longer. The full-length measurement of the van from bumper to bumper is 24′. The overall cargo space for this van will be 15′ 9″ feet.
Related Article: Sprinter 170 Extended Dimensions Explain
Larger Interior Volume
The three extra feet on the back of a Sprinter 170 make a significant difference in interior volume. It might not seem like much until you can see it in person, but those three extra feet can mean putting a full bed and workplace in your living space, putting an extra shelf in your work van, or packing a dozen extra boxes when you’re moving. Don’t underestimate it!
The larger interior volume of the Sprinter 170 is the biggest reason people choose this van over its smaller sibling. It has comfort without running into the functional and mobility issues faced by the extended model. Overall, most people who benefit from this space find that it’s worth sacrificing a little mobility in favor of comfort.
Can Be Tricky to Park
While the parking issue isn’t as exaggerated as you might think, there is a difference in the ease of finding adequate parking in the Sprinter 170. You’re likely going to find yourself parking in the back of the lot with the big pickup trucks instead of close to the front of a building.
The Sprinter 170 can technically fit into most parking spaces, but the space is going to be very tight. If you have someone parked on the inner edge of their spots on each side of you, you might not be able to get into your van from the front doors.
Difficult to Drive on Backroads and in Cramped Cities
Many people who own Sprinter vans find themselves traveling in out-of-the-way places. This means you’ll face tight city streets, fast exits off rural roads, and the occasional need to turn around without an ideal location.
While many of these things could be tricky in either Sprinter van, they are a little more complicated in the longer Sprinter 170. It will take more practice to drive this van than the shorter model, and that can be a dealbreaker for some people.
Only Has One Height Option
The Sprinter 170 only comes in the 6’7″ height. While this isn’t an issue for most people, particularly since the extra length balances out the height better than the Sprinter 144, the Sprinter 170 can be a challenge to park or drive in some locations. Heights of parking garages, home garages, local trees, and local bridges will have to be considered.
What is the Same in Either Van?
There are some differences between the Sprinter 144 and the Sprinter 170, but some things are consistent between both vans. What these similarities are might surprise you!
The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR)
The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of both the Sprinter 170 and the Sprinter 144 is the same. The length of the vans doesn’t change it!
Both vans have a maximum total weight capacity of 13,550 lbs, including their own weight. That level should never be exceeded!
Both of them also have a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs, which isn’t impacted by the change in size between the Sprinter 170 and the Sprinter 144. Check with your dealer to get the tow package, and you should be set!
The Gas Mileage, Depending On The Load
This might be the most surprising similarity between the Sprinter 170 and the Sprinter 144! Both vans, even with the three-foot difference in length, have the same expected gas mileage. They have no difference in the base model, and any variation would come from how they’re loaded after purchase.
You can run an expected cost comparison online between the 144 and 170 on the Mercedes-Benz website to see how the gas costs will stack up.
If you pack one of them to the max, it will get lower gas mileage than the other car if it’s loaded gently and driven slowly. If another Sprinter van gets different gas mileage, that is probably the cause.
The Interior Height, Depending on Roof Options
Both the Sprinter 144 and the Sprinter 170 come with a 6’7″ roof height model, so you wouldn’t need to give up any head space for the sake of getting a slightly smaller van. For tall people, businesses using the van as transportation, movers, and many other purchasers, this is a great thing to know.
Remember that the 144 does come in a 5’7″ model, so be sure you know which one you’re buying before committing to the purchase! This isn’t something for after-market mods to handle.
The Need for a Backup Camera
The top complaint about the Sprinter 170 and the Sprinter 144 is the need for a backup camera, regardless of whether or not the van is equipped with visible back windows. Height is an issue, and some of the van models do not have back windows at all.
- 【Applicability】Mercedes Sprinter Brake light camera suit for Sprinter / Crafter brake light camera use for 2007-now, replace your oringinal brake light to this sprinter brake light camera it is...
- 【High Quailty Image】 Sprinter Brake light camera used 1/3 PC3089 CMOS which have more color Image rather than White-black image
- 【High Quailty Image】Sprinter Brake light camera used 1/3 PC3089 CMOS which have more color Image rather than White-black image
The vans are too big and tricky to back up with total confidence in a tight parking lot or any area where small children are around. After all, when it comes to risking an accident because of visibility, it’s better to be safe than sorry!