Originally Posted by KLRchickie
How would you define substantial?
Our 17 B & our Sprinter van are almost identical in volume, and the 9 to 10 l/100km unloaded only increases to 10-12 l/100km when towing. We are pretty happy with the cost per km of hauling our trailer.
That's a 20% increase in fuel consumption: I'd call that substantial, but the incremental fuel cost for the trailer is still very good (I'd be happy, too - it's better than my tug
), and even the unloaded consumption is great. I think the shape of the van aerodynamically suits towing a trailer well, and the engine is at a good point in its operating range when working to tow the trailer.
Originally Posted by ice-breaker
Sprinters are an awesome vehicle and I have been keeping an eye out for one the past couple years.
Given the size of the Sprinter, towing a 17B would probably not change the frontal area, and there would be very little change in wind resistance to impact your mileage. Also, Sprinters have diesel engines and are a favorite of many who use them for commercial and personal use. Your experience with only a small increase in fuel consumption while towing is entirely consistent with what I would expect from your trailer-tug combination.
I agree with all of this, although for my use the current Sprinter is too large (much bigger than the first generation); fortunately, additional modern van choices are becoming available (such as the Ford Transit - not the Transit Connect
These vans have engine choices (even the Sprinter was available with a gasoline engine for a while, perhaps only in the U.S.) so they are not all diesel, but the aerodynamics would apply regardless of the engine. The current Sprinter has two diesel engine sizes - I suspect that the larger one would better suit towing; the smaller one might do better unloaded but suffer more from adding the trailer, especially if asked to tow at the speed of most highway traffic. In the Ram ProMaster, the gas engine is apparently very popular - all the motorhomes based on it that I have seen are gas. The Transit offers three
engine choices, including an EcoBoost V6 the same as available in an F-150; an F-150 versus Transit comparison would be interesting.
If looking for a used Sprinter, watch for rust... it seems to be a problem with this model, even here in dry and low-salt Alberta.
Originally Posted by KLRchickie
Exactly. Which is why I found the broad generalization I quoted irritating.
I try to avoid broad generalizations, but this is about physical reality, rather than stereotypes. Is it less irritating when you realize that it is not
a criticism of your tow vehicle? My comment actually wasn't a criticism of anyone's choice, just an observation about reasonable expectations. I should have used some more specific term than "significant" - sorry about that!
One thing that complicates the comparison for many people is that they are comparing apples and oranges: their highway towing speed is lower than their highway non-towing speed, for instance. That - plus the big-pickup effect I mentioned to set this off - explains the "I get the same mileage towing or not" comments that I occasionally see; those comments seem to set some unrealistic expectations.