By Cheri Sicard
In the video below, Joe and Kait, the team from We’re the Russos [233K subscribers, 61M views], evaluate the question of Ford Transit vs. Ram ProMaster: Which one makes a better camper van? In the course of their extensive RV adventures (Joe Russo has already written two books about them), the Russos have experience with both the Ford Transit and the Ram ProMaster, so they have firsthand perspectives to share.
Which models are we looking at?
While the video is labeled Ford Transit vs. Ram ProMaster, they aren’t exactly comparing two equal-sized vans. Nonetheless, we can still learn from the Russos’ experience with them both.
In the video, Joe looks at the Ford Transit with all-wheel drive, a 3.5-liter eco-boost engine and a 148-inch wheelbase. Storyteller Overland did the build on it.
He also considers the Ram ProMaster extended-length van with a 3.6 liter naturally aspirated engine and a 159-inch wheelbase. The ProMaster build is, in fact, the Winnebago Travato, so it was built by Winnebago.
Differences begin with the power train. The ProMaster only comes in a front-wheel drive version. The Transit, on the other hand, comes in rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. According to Joe, the all-wheel drive on their Transit van works well and he likes having the option of different driving modes for different weather conditions.
Their Transit van came lifted an additional 2 inches. With the ProMaster, this would be an after-market modification.
The Transit houses a 3.5-liter eco-boost engine that’s a V-6 with twin turbochargers that put out 310 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. Joe calls it “a little rocket ship” that has no trouble taking on hills, even when towing.
Ford also offers the Transit with a 3.5-liter non-turbo engine that has 275 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque.
The ProMaster’s 3.6-liter naturally aspirated engine offers 276 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque.
Joe says that when they owned their ProMaster it had no problem on level surfaces. However, on steep climbs, especially if they had to slow down for any reason, the engine would start to feel strained.
When it comes to power, the Ford Transit van is the clear winner; however, more power equals less gas mileage. Joe says they average about 13 mpg in the Transit van versus about 16 mpg in the ProMaster.
Ford Transit vs. Ram ProMaster sizes
Both Ford and Dodge produce these vans in three sizes:
- The short versions are about 18’ long.
- The mid-length versions are about 19.5′ long.
- The extended versions are about 21’ long in the ProMaster, 22’ in the Transit van.
More differences between the Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster
- The height of the side sliding door in the Ford Transit is much shorter than the taller door in the Ram ProMaster, which makes it easier to go in and out.
- However, once you get inside, the ProMaster is significantly shorter than the Ford Transit. To remedy this, Ram recently introduced a new high-roof version of the ProMaster that adds an additional 10 inches of headroom.
- The width of the Transit before the installation of the camper build is 69 inches side to side versus 73 inches in the ProMaster. Those four extra inches make it a lot easier to fit everything into your camper van.
- Another advantage to van builders is the ProMaster’s more or less square body. The Transit has many more corners and angles that a van builder would need to contend with.
- Joe says that when it comes to comfort, the seats and driving position win a point for the ProMaster.
- When it comes to service, Ford has about 3,000 dealers nationwide, while Ram has about 2,500. Point Ford.
- The Ram ProMaster is less expensive than the Ford Transit and, therefore, their van buildouts tend to be a little less expensive, too. Of course, the price will also depend on options and amenities.
When it came to the final analysis of Ford Transit vs. Ram ProMaster, the Russos had good experiences with both. However, they did end up trading in their Ram ProMaster for the Ford Transit because of where the latter’s lifted body and all-wheel drive could take them.
Your reasons for choosing one over the other may lead you to a different conclusion. If you have clear thoughts on either of these vans, please drop them in the comments below.