Here’s what to know about a high roof van before you get one:
The best high roof vans in the US are the Ford Transit, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ram ProMaster, and Nissan NV. These vans usually stand tall between 99” to 110” and have interior heights of up to 81.5”. That considerably increases the cargo volume and allows for various upfit options.
Today, I’ll help you understand the various specs of the most popular high roof vans, and you’ll figure out just how tall the best high roof van for you is.
Unlike other guides that could confuse you with medium and standard roof vans, I’ve ensured the vans on this list are strictly the high roof versions.
I’ll also take you through the best examples of these tall behemoths on the market. I’m happy to clear the fog on this topic, and I like talking about vans anyway. So I’ll also get into more details and cover the following in this article:
- The tallest items you can fit in a high roof van
- The tallest high roof van
- The pros and cons of a high roof van
- The professionals who find high roof vans convenient
But it gets more interesting than that. Let’s go.
High roof vans usually stand between 8.25 feet (99 inches) to 9 feet (110.2 inches) tall. In terms of the interior height (cargo height), the most popular high roof vans offer between 77” to 81.5”.
Generally, most tall people can stand straight inside a high roof van when moving packages in and out or accessing tools if it’s for a mobile business like HVAC services. Heck, even a super tall person like Michael Jordan ( 6’ 6” tall) can access a high roof van without stooping.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how tall high roof vans are:
|144’’ and 170’’
I’ve gone through various manufacturer catalogs to ensure the information I’m about to share with you is accurate and up to date. And when it comes to the van dimensions, I’m even more confident because I’ve got years of experience handling these useful workhorses.
These are the four best high roof vans trusted by professionals across the country:
1. Ford Transit
The Ford Transit is the best-selling work van in the US for good reasons, starting with its benchmarkable reliability and affordable price. But then it also sets the industry standard for high roof vans, and you’ll see why.
Before we go further, please note that the high roof option is only available in the T-250, T-350, and T-350HD Transit levels.
The Transit is easy to customize due to its exposed-frame roomy interior, making it flexible for configuration as a delivery van, mobile office, RV, or anything else you want.
And just so you know how tall this van is, inside it, you’ll get a whopping 6’ 9” (81.5 inches) from the floor to the roof. That’s why outdoorsy people always consider it the go-to van for camper conversions.
While the roof ribs inside the high roof Transit van usually consume some 3 inches, you still have ample headroom when standing up inside the van. You can walk inside it from the front to the back without hitting your head against the roof ribs.
Although the Transit’s interior isn’t perfectly boxy, you can also walk across it and enjoy ample headroom. That applies even if you’re 6’ 6” tall or thereabouts. But with the medium roof Transit, you can get a pretty good whacking if you’re not careful with the roof ribs.
The high roof Transit comes with a 3.5L V6 PFDI engine that’s coupled with a 10-speed automatic transmission. There’s also the 3.5 L EcoBoost V6 engine option for more power.
With these powerful engines, you can be confident that a high roof Transit is a capable work van as well. It has a tow rating of up to 6900 lbs and can haul a maximum payload of 5,174 lbs, as you’ll find with the T-350 HD DRW.
The extended roof height also increases the cargo volume of this van tremendously, pushing it up to 536.4 cubic feet.
2. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
The Mercedes Sprinter boasts a well-deserved reputation for being the most reliable van in all respects, aside from having a benchmarkable high roof configuration.
It stands tall at 108.9” (9 feet) from the outside, and its interior has an impressive cargo height of 79.1”. While that falls shy of what the Ford transit offers, you can still fit tall items inside the van and move about comfortably.
The Sprinter’s high roof option makes it another top choice van for camper conversions and various other professional upfit options.
Notably, this van only ever has the standard and high roof options, the latter of which is common in the 170’’ and 170’’ extended wheelbase configurations. Moreover, the high roof is available in the passenger, crew, and cargo versions of the Sprinter in all trims except the Sprinter 1500.
The Merc Sprinter has three engine options, depending on your work needs. You can either settle on the 4-cylinder gas, 4-cylinder diesel, or 6-cylinder diesel engine.
Whichever you choose, however, you’ll undoubtedly have a potent beast that can handle your daily tasks without breaking.
For example, the 170’’ WB Sprinter 4500 cargo van has a payload capacity of 6360 lbs. You can also get a maximum tow rating of 7,500 lbs with a high roof Sprinter. Notably, the high roof extends the Sprinter’s cargo volume to 469 cubic feet.
3. Nissan NV
The Nissan NV high roof is among the most competent vans that make a solid choice for a sturdy work vehicle. It’s available in the 146’’ wheelbase, which has an overall length of 20 feet.
However I have had to put it lower down this list than I would have put it, because their high roof version is no longer in production so you cannot get them new anymore.
Speaking of the roof height, the NV stands tall at 105” (8.75 feet), and you get 75” (6’ 3”) from the inside. The standard height NV naturally has a boxy, roomy interior (234.1 cu. ft.) and the high roof NV’s good cargo height beefs up the cargo volume to 323.1 cubic feet.
What’s more, the robust ladder-frame chassis, truck-like design, and powerful V6 or V8 engine options contribute to the NV’s considerable cargo handling capabilities. However, its payload capacity is only 3,720 lbs.
The NV is also equipped with a Class IV tow hitch receiver, and it can tow an incredible 9,400 lbs.
Unlike the Sprinter and Ford Transit, the Nissan NV may not be as common for camper conversions due to its unappealing boxy outlook. In their most hilarious reviews about the NV, I’ve even heard some guys arguing that this van looks like a shoe.
Regardless, it’s still big enough to suit most cargo hauling needs and is a favorite pick among mobile locksmiths, plumbers, electricians, etc. That’s because it’s equally more affordable.
While the Nissan’s reliability may not even come close to the Sprinter or Transit, this van can serve you long enough. And even if it breaks down, Nissan parts are easy to find and not very expensive.
4. Ram ProMaster
While the Ram ProMaster high roof isn’t as tall as the other vans on this list, it’s a versatile work van with a decent cargo height with its high roof version.
The Ram ProMaster high roof is available in the 136’’, 159’’, and 159’’ Extended wheelbase options. You can also choose between the ProMaster 1500 or the ProMaster 2500 levels.
Just so you know how tall this van is, its exterior height is 99’’. Inside it, you’ll get a cargo height of 78” (6’ 5’’). That undeniably makes it comfortable to work inside if you’re under 6’4’’ tall as most people are. It also has an unrivaled cargo width of 6’ 3’’.
No wonder this van is easily customizable and is a favorite option for the following mobile businesses:
- Electrical services
- Plumbing services, etc.
The van boasts an impressive cargo volume depending on the length you choose, and the high roof brings it up to 463 cubic feet.
The ProMaster’s above-average cargo handling capabilities also derive from its powerful 276 hp 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine, strong chassis, and reliable drivetrain. For this reason, it has a payload capacity of 4,430 lbs and can tow 6,710 lbs.
The tallest van is the Ford Transit high roof. Usually, there are two Transit models with the high roof option. These are the Long (235.5’) and the extended length, or Long-EL (263.9’) Transits.
While the Long-EL Transit has an exterior height of 110.4’’ compared to the Long version’s 109.6’’, the interior height for both vans remains a towering 81.5’’.
Moreover, these vans have the same wheelbase of 148’’.
If you’re shorter than 6’ 4’’, the high roof versions of the Ram ProMaster and the Sprinter could still be viable options for your needs.
I’d also go for it because after the Sprinter, the Transit arguably has better handling capabilities than any other van I’ve driven. And if you’re a towering 6’ 6’’ or thereabouts, it’s your best bet if you want to stand straight inside a converted camper van.
Besides making a good option for a camper van, the Transit is my favorite pick for a work van that can offer ample roof storage for my tools.
This is one thing I learned from a couple of friends who do HVAC and plumbing stuff because they usually have a ladder storage system installed on the Transit’s roof ribs.
A high roof van allows you to work without having to bend your back most of the time. But it also has a couple of inherent drawbacks that you should know. Let’s explore these in detail.
The benefits of a high roof van are that it has:
- More cargo volume
- Increased upfit options
- Enough standing height so you can move about comfortably
Your upfit options are almost unlimited, and you have more room for entertainment systems if you opt for a camper conversion. That goes for TVs on the ceiling and whatnots.
Since a high roof generally increases the cargo volume, you can haul tall items in your van. That’s why truck rental companies like Penske offer high roof vans for moving services.
Here’s a highlight of the tall items you can transport in a high roof van:
- Full size, king size, and queen size mattresses
- Standard wardrobe
- Large closet system (up to 6’ 8’’)
- Large refrigerator
You can transport even taller items if you do the trick of laying them down along the length of the van.
While some people think it’s more challenging to drive a high roof van, that’s not true. These vans have their own challenges, but in my experience, that excludes the handling capabilities.
These are the cons of having a high roof van:
- Increased drag under windy conditions, which lowers the fuel economy
- It won’t fit in an average garage, drive-through, or carwash
- The initial cost is slightly higher than for a standard or medium roof van
A high roof van also forces you to reconsider some routes. If you’re taking it for camping and will have to drive through the woods, tall branches will be a significant concern.
As it turns out, overhanging branches can hit, dent, and scratch your roof. That calls for extra service and repair costs aside from taking a toll on your van’s resale value.
Van couriers who work as owner-operators or contractors for larger companies go for high roof vans over anything else.
If you’re tasked with making several delivery calls a day, the last thing you want is straining your back to get packages out of the van. Aside from the ease of access, and as I’ve highlighted before, a high roof cargo van has a larger cargo volume for stacking more boxes.
That means if you use these vans for courier services, you can haul more cargo at any time without making extra trips. In my experience, that comes in handy when you don’t want to work overtime.
Before I conclude, here are a couple of other interesting facts about high roof vans that you should know:
Since its last redesign a couple of decades ago, the Chevrolet Express doesn’t have a high roof option. That’s despite the fact that the Chevy Express is a reliable utility van with a sturdy body-on-frame design and a powerful engine.
However, no other van comes close to the Chevy Express’s tow rating, which is an incredible 10,000 lbs. The Chevy will likely be up to the task, whether you’re hauling a heavy payload in the back or towing a massive trailer.
Nissan Has Discontinued their NV High Roof Van
While the Nissan NV high roof is a competent work van, Nissan says it is no longer in production. And since it won’t roll off the production lines anymore, it’s very limited in availability as you can only buy them used. Nissan advises that you contact your nearest dealer for more inventory information.
If you’re lucky to get your hands on a certified pre-owned Nissan NV, it’s also important to note that the 5 year/100,000 miles warranty does not cover used NVs.
If you can overlook other factors like the price, the most popular high roof vans on the market are the Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. Others such as the Nissan NV and Ram ProMaster high roof also have a good interior height and are wide enough.
Curiously, Nissan has discontinued production of the NV, meaning you can only have as many options if you’re looking for a used high roof van.
Now, to be blunt, the difference in interior height between the medium and high roof vans could be anything around 10 inches. You can stick with the medium roof versions and save extra bucks if you’re not in for that small additional space.
But if you want to upfit the van while allowing adequate headroom for moving about without bending, you can’t go wrong with a high roof van.
Finally, beyond the roof heights and van dimensions, it’s important to consider other features like the powertrain, driver-assist, and safety features.