Here’s how to get a Sprinter van for cheap:
- Avoid unnecessary add-ons
- Buy a Sprinter from a local dealership
- Order a cheap custom build
- Buy a used fleet van from Enterprise
- Buy a Sprinter on hire purchase
- Buy on personal contract purchase
- Get a leased Sprinter van
As I write, Mercedes recommends a $36,355 price tag for the cargo version of the Sprinter, $41,375 for the crew van, and $43,120 for the passenger version.
That’s just enough to give you a huge sticker shock, especially if you’re a newbie.
And the moment you start fancying a high roof, interior panels, additional windows, cruise control, blindspot monitoring systems, other optional tech, and add-ons, the prices can really blow past the ceiling.
Perhaps we’ve both had our fair share of the soul-crushing experience.
But hey, we’re here to figure out a workaround, and I’ll show you just how to get a Sprinter van for cheap, based on what I’ve learned. Let’s jump in.
7 Best Ways to Get a Cheap Sprinter Van
If you’re on a tight budget and can’t wait to get your hands on a Sprinter, these tips and tricks will do.
This is how you get a Sprinter van for cheap:
1. Avoid Expensive Options & Unnecessary Add-ons
You first need to research widely and decide the type, size, trim level, and options you want.
So here’s where you make friends with Google – especially the official Sprinter van website to find out what features the most basic models have.
Next, I suggest you make a list of the must-haves and wants, so you figure out how to strike a good deal that won’t leave an ugly dent in your wallet.
Remember, by purchasing a Sprinter with only the necessary options, you could save tremendously.
Assuming you’ll be doing a lot of towing, you’ll do great with a rear-wheel drivetrain and a factory trailer hitch. I’d also prefer a diesel engine and cruise control at the core of my tech arsenal.
However, things like the built-in GPS navigation, active safety packages, and other high-end add-ons may only be cool but not mandatory.
2. Buy a Sprinter Van From a Local Dealership
I have a high opinion for buying a Sprinter van from a local dealership, as you’ll likely incur lower costs this way.
To save you the hassle of figuring out some obscure dealer location, Mercedes Benz offers a map with links where you can search the inventory, and you’ll find it through this link.
Most local dealers will help you with the process of landing your perfect van, even going to the extent of trading vans with other dealers they’ve established ties with.
While your dealer could help you find a Sprinter elsewhere, you can easily rack up hefty fees if you buy and register your van in another state.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), different states have different methods of calculating the amount of motor vehicle registration and title fees. Interestingly, some states may offer optional plates that go for extra fees.
Pro Tip: Dealer listings may not always be accurate and current; be sure to inquire via phone or email.
Additionally, not any dealer can help you get a van from every other dealer across the country.
3. Order a Cheap Custom Build
If you don’t mind waiting 8-16 weeks, you can design your dream Sprinter with the exact specs and options.
This could drive down the initial cost, as you won’t pay for any options you don’t need.
Just call or walk into the nearest dealership since they’re the ones who initiate this process.
I’ll help you get your head around the cost of a custom build using the 2021 Sprinter passenger van as a live example.
I chose to build the 12-passenger version with a standard roof, a 4-cylinder diesel engine, and a 3274 lbs payload capacity. That costs $47,500.
The MSRP for a gas-driven Sprinter would have been $43,120, meaning I’d have to pay $4,380 for the powertrain alone in this case.
If I opted to build the 6-cylinder diesel 4×4 passenger Sprinter with a high roof, 12-passenger seating, and 2877 lbs payload, I’d have to pay a whopping $60,425.
That’s an added $14,455 for the powertrain alone, meaning I’d likely pay more with advanced driver-assist tech, swivel seats, tinted windows, and whatnots.
4. Buy a Sprinter Van on Hire Purchase
If you’re looking for a commercial van to boost productivity, the Sprinter has what it takes, and it indeed goes the extra mile.
To enjoy a favorable cash flow, buying a Sprinter van on hire purchase could give you an edge.
You’ll simply pay a deposit, then make regular monthly payments for an agreed period, after which you’ll own the van.
Here’s the upside: the monthly payments are fixed, meaning you can budget easily.
You can also agree on the term based on what you can afford. And to crown it all, there’s no cap on the annual mileage.
On the flipside, monthly installments can be high compared to other types of financing. Still, you can get around this by paying a huge deposit upfront.
5. Buy on Personal Contract Purchase (PCP)
With a PCP, you’ll still pay a deposit, and make regular monthly payments, which mostly cover the Sprinter’s depreciation.
But here’s the catch: at the end of the agreement, you’ll return the van or make a bigger final payment to own it.
Perhaps the most remarkable feature about this is that you’ll pay lower monthly payments as opposed to hire purchase, which is good if you’re looking to maximize cash flow.
You can also choose to buy the van entirely at the end of the term, or trade it in for another using the equity you’ve built in the long run.
The drawback here is that you’ll make a larger downpayment ultimately to own the van, and there’s a limit on your mileage.
6. Get a Leased Sprinter Van
This is another viable financing option if you’re looking to use your Sprinter for business. With a lease, you’ll be paying monthly payments for an agreed period, after which you return your Sprinter to the lender.
Perhaps this turns out to be the most effective business option, as you’re only renting, and won’t have to deal with nasty costs like depreciation.
Another great advantage is that you can always replace the Sprinter with a new one every year, so it looks attractive to your clients.
While the maintenance of your Sprinter and the breakdown cover may be included in the deal, there’s flexibility on the mileage caps and the term of the agreement.
7. Buy a Used Fleet Van From Enterprise
Any “van savvy person” would consider getting a used van as the last option, for obvious reasons.
That’s why we need to look at a solid option here, somewhere you can get a cheap Sprinter that’s still in a clean, good condition.
Simply contact Enterprise; they usually do van rentals, and sell them after they reach a certain mileage. Curiously, you’ll find the vans in pretty good condition, however many they’ll show you have a staggering 500K+ miles on the odometer.
Unless you know of another fleet company that sells reliable used vans, I’d like to think most of them won’t have much life left in them.
But you’ll less likely go wrong with used Enterprise rental vans, or fleet vans sold by reputable dealerships that were leased before.
Pro Tip: Be sure to check your Sprinter’s identification number (VIN) with the NHTSA recall site, so you know in advance whether it will be recalled for repairs.
The Best Places to Look For a Cheap Sprinter Van
Sprinter vans are a hotcake, and getting your hands on a new, cheap Sprinter can be tough.
Here’s a list of the best places you can get a cheap Sprinter from:
1. A Van Conversion Company
Some van conversion companies have arrangements with Mercedes to get a specific number of Sprinters every year.
Depending on the number of orders on the dealer’s waitlist, a conversion company like Outside Van could be your shortcut to a cheap Sprinter van.
Craigslist may also have plenty of cheap Sprinters, though you might have to look beyond your city. Places like Salt Lake City, Denver, and most popular west coast cities are favorable camping spots, making them good to start with.
Be sure to search both the truck and RV section, as some people list vans there.
Pro Tip: Be wary on Craigslist as it could be full of scammers, and your purchase isn’t protected. A seller who insists on a quick transfer method like Money Gram is a huge red flag.
There’s always a decent number of Sprinter vans for sale on eBay, and it’s safer than Craigslist.
You can see the seller’s rating, and eBay’s protection policy covers up to $50,000 if a van doesn’t meet the conditions described in the listing.
4. Warner Van Center of Utah
Warner Van Center is Utah’s premier sales, service, rentals, and upfitting center for Sprinter vans. They have a wide inventory of both new and pre-owned affordable Sprinters.
You can always count on the team as they’re a certified Mercedes-Benz van center, offering even comprehensive fleet and lease options.
5. The Sprinter Van Forum
The Sprinter Van forum is an awesome community with two classified boards. Forum members list Sprinter vans for sale on one board, and the other has listings from elsewhere around the web.
While there can be strong opinions in the forum, members are generally knowledgeable and willing to share info.
All you have to do is sign up for an account and tap into the wealth of information and advice.
Other forums include Sportsmobile and Expedition Portal, which both do classifieds.
6. Sprinter Van Facebook Groups
If you’re on Facebook, you’ll find several groups that focus on Sprinter vans. While not all of them allow classifieds, the ones that do have a plethora of Sprinters for sale.
A great example is Sprinter Vans Unlimited, which has over 52K active members. You can always share great ideas with this vast community, and they post new Sprinter listings quite frequently.
The Pros of Buying a Used Sprinter Van
These are the benefits of buying a used Sprinter van:
1. You’ll Pay a Lower Initial Cost
A used Sprinter will cost you less than a brand new one, meaning you can save the extra cash for a better model with more advanced features.
Financing a used van is also cheaper, and you could get a favorable financing option from your local bank or credit union.
2. You’ll Enjoy Reduced Insurance Rates
A used Sprinter may cost you less in insurance fees because it’s less expensive to replace an older model as opposed to a brand new van.
3. You Can Choose Different Van Options
While you can’t find a perfect used van that meets all your options criteria, that’s not a deal-breaker.
You can easily access both the 2500 and 1500 trim levels in a used van lot, with various upfit features, and pricing that fits your low budget.
This helps you cut the time you’d spend looking for a perfect new Sprinter, besides allowing you to directly compare the ones you’re interested in.
4. Depreciation Doesn’t Affect You Negatively
If you buy a used Sprinter, you’re not the one to take the worst depreciation hit – it’s the previous owner. The price of a used van accounts for the previous mileage and many other factors.
5. It is Likely Safer
When you buy a used Sprinter, it’s more likely to be safe and efficient, especially if it served the previous owner well and is still in decent condition.
Besides, most reputable van dealers will service their vans thoroughly and test them before putting them on sale.
The Cons of Buying a Used Sprinter
Buying a used Sprinter van has the following disadvantages:
1. There May Be Little to No Warranty
You’ll get a used Sprinter on an as-is basis, meaning any issues you plunge into are entirely up to you. While some dealerships may offer warranties, they’re usually limited.
2. You Could Get Outdated Technology
When you buy a used Sprinter, you may not enjoy the modern infotainment systems, driver-assist tech, and safety systems that come standard with newer vans.
3. You Could Encounter Early Repair Problems
With a used van, it’s no guarantee that you’ll never have a mechanical breakdown within a few years. The transmission could slip, the engine mount could shatter, or the battery could just die unexpectedly.
Pro Tip: Be sure to have a qualified mechanic inspect a used Sprinter before you buy it – check under the hood, check the tires, look out for dents on the sides, paint chips, and everything.
4. It Could Compromise Your Options
You might have to compromise your preferred color, tech features, upfit options, and the powertrain, among other things just to get a used Sprinter with better mileage or history.
The Pros and Cons of Getting a Leased Sprinter
The following are the benefits of getting a leased Sprinter van:
1. You Can Budget for Monthly Payments
When you take a Sprinter van lease, you’ll pay fixed, predictable monthly payments on top of paying a low, or even no deposit.
2. You Won’t Incur Depreciation Costs
Leasing is a solid option if you don’t wish to deal with depreciation costs, meaning you can simply hand over your Sprinter after it has served you well.
3. Your Credit Rating May Not Be a Restriction
You have a credit score that needs some tweaking to please lenders? That may not be a show-stopper for a leased van. However, you may not enjoy this with every lender or van leasing company.
4. You Can Access the Latest Versions and Trims
Besides the two popular trims, you can always land the latest version of a Sprinter van with added features through a lease.
5. A Leased Sprinter is Tax-deductible
Leasing a Sprinter for business gives you a great shot at claiming VAT back, and this tax-saving offers you a huge saving altogether.
6. You’ll Incur Less Running Costs
There’s always a thing to smile about, knowing you won’t lose thousands of your hard-earned bucks in repairs and maintenance costs, as these rest on the leasing company.
7. There Are No Trade-in Problems
Here’s the icing on the cake – you won’t go through a hassle trading in your Sprinter. You can simply hand it back to the leasing company.
The Cons of a Leased Sprinter
Below is a highlight of the cons of a leased Sprinter van:
- You won’t own the van upfront.
- There’s a cost for terminating your contract early.
- You pay a deposit each time you choose an upgrade.
- You must determine your expected annual mileage
Pro Tip: Be sure to consult your accountant so you get the best financing option for the van that fits your budget, needs, and circumstances.
The Sprinter van could turn out to be your greatest impulse buy, simply because it’s cool, lol.
To get one for cheap, select a van with only the necessary options, whether from a dealership or a custom build from Mercedes.
You could also buy an affordable, used Sprinter from a vehicle rental company like Enterprise, or a trustworthy individual. Alternatively, you can go with suitable van financing options like hire purchase, PCP, or a lease.