Help! Chosing a Van


Hi, I am interested in purchasing a full size van for daily transportation and lugging my recreational gear around. I have my sights set on either the Dodge Sprinter or the Ford Econoline, and I am having difficulty making a choice. The diesel Sprinters are more fuel efficient though they can only be serviced at authorized Dodge dealers and the current price of diesel where I live is $4.50/gal. Ford E-series van comes in both diesel and gas – diesels have better fuel efficiency on the highway, but again, the price of fuel is $.50 more.

Any suggestions? Any experiences with the Astro/Safari vans by GM?


Diesel is almost always higher than gas nationwide, but the difference is quite large now. It should not remain like that forever, but who knows when it will change? It will only change when the supply of diesel increases, which should not be any time soon. At 50 cents, it is probably best to buy a diesel. You will still pay less due to better mileage. If it’s about a dollar, as it is on average in the USA, then you would be better off now with a gas engine. Sprinters can also be serviced at White/Freightliner shops, since Mercedes Benz builds the Sprinter. The Astro is not a full size van, it is a minivan. If you are willing to buy an Astro or Safari, why not another extended wheelbase minivan?


The E-150 has so much power and the seats seem comfortable. My 05 cargo van got 19 MPG highway with 400 pound load. Avoid the Dodge. Astro vans weren’t too good. I have hopes for the Savana.


My family owned two full sized vans. One was a Ford Econoline and the other was a Chevy S10. The Chevy was much more reliable. I have also driven the Dodge Sprinter. I delivered them when I worked as a truck driver. They are also sold with the Freightliner badge, so you should be able to get them serviced at Freightliner dealers. If you can afford it, I recommend the Sprinter. They are cleaner and quieter than any other diesel I have ever seen. My second choice for a recommendation is Chevy’s full sized van.

If you are considering minivans like the Astro, you should look at the Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey. A 2002 Sienna has removable rear seats, not just ones that fold into the floor. So you could take them out to make room for more cargo and lighten the vehicle. A Honda or Toyota minivan will get better fuel economy than a full-sized van.


Thanks to all for your feedback – much appreciated. I am considering the Safari simply for its “fuel economy” meaning that it will get better MPG than a gasoline powered Econoline. I have considered minivans too, but I am looking for ample storage space and prefer a cargo van over a passenger if possible.


Have you considered a pick-up? You could buy a crew cab and add a cap if you want security for your gear. Maybe a smaller truck like a Tacoma or a Frontier. They will have a V6 if you want the crew cab. If you don’t mind a smaller cabin, the trucks are available with 4-cyl.