Do You Need A 2WD or 4WD Campervan?

If you’re in the market for a Sprinter Van, it’s essential to understand which type of Sprinter will serve your lifestyle the best, and while a one-size-fits-all would make the buying decision easy, that’s not always the case. For example, depending on the van’s purpose, a 144″ wheelbase could be the best fit, but you may prefer a diesel engine over gas. The same thinking applies when choosing between a 2WD and a 4WD Sprinter van. In this blog, we will take a deep dive into drivetrains and help you better understand the differences between the two and which decision is the best for your lifestyle.  

What’s The Difference? 

When considering the quality of the conversion, the build inside a two-wheel drive (2WD) is identical to that on a four-wheel drive (4WD). The difference, however, will be in the quality of your adventure can vary depending on the drivetrain you choose. 

Two-Wheel Drive (2WD), which makes up most passenger vehicles on the road, means that the engine powers two of the vehicle’s wheels in either the front (FWD) or rear (RWD). As a result, they’re lighter in weight and will typically average better in fuel efficiency, acceleration, and maneuverability. 

  • Front-Wheel Drive: This drivetrain is most common in two-wheel drive vehicles, and due to the balance of weight directly on top of the front wheels, you have better traction when maneuvering precarious conditions. The Ram ProMaster is front wheel drive.
  • Rear Wheel Drive: This drivetrain is found in larger vehicles like SUVs and trucks. The weight is transferred to the back of the vehicle allowing the initial acceleration to happen faster and provide a smoother, more balanced ride. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Ford Transit van utilize the rear wheel drive architecture. 

Four-Wheel Drive (4WD) systems are often built into vehicles that carry heavy loads or venture off-road trails. In a 4WD vehicle, the power is split evenly throughout all four wheels allowing you to have greater control when navigating road conditions such as mud, ice, snow, or gravel terrain. 4WD conversions are also heavier, giving you the weight needed for better traction. However, 4WD is not to be confused with all-wheel drive, and while these terms are often used interchangeably, there’s quite a difference between the two. For the intents and purposes of this blog, we will not go into too much detail about the intricate differences between 4WD and AWD systems. 

Does Your Van Have A Purpose? 

Every van conversion owner searches for the vehicle that will best serve their style of living –  Whether that means finding a van to convert into a mobile office or conversion that houses the entire family for extended road trips and weekend adventures. Below are a few factors to consider before deciding on a drivetrain for your campervan conversion. campervans in the dirt and snow

Where will you drive the van? 

Fortunately, we live in a world where many of our favorite destinations and national parks are accessible by paved roads. If not, they’re still easy, manageable gravel roads on which the average passenger vehicle can safely travel. Many outdoor enthusiasts find themselves going out of their way to find 4×4 trails. That said, keep in mind where you plan to take your campervan, as you’ll want to choose the right drivetrain to match the actual terrain you’re traveling to. 

* Always remember that if you’re traveling a new route or exploring a new destination, it’s essential to do your research beforehand and bring the tools you need to help you overcome any potential challenging situations regardless of the drivetrain. 

What conditions will you face? 

When researching which Sprinter Van to purchase, many factors come into play, but one of the most important variables is the conditions you can expect to be driving in regularly. For example, suppose you live in colder regions, where snow and icy conditions occur frequently. In that case, a 4WD Sprinter is preferred because it will handle those conditions better than a 2WD, where you may need to add chains during extreme conditions. However, if you live in a more urban and metropolitan area, then a 2WD will suffice. 


When looking at the cost between the two chassis, a two-wheel drive Sprinter is significantly lower in price than a 4×4 Sprinter. For example, the 2022 2500 144 High High Roof 4 Cylinder Diesel Cargo 2WD’s current listed price is $47,920, and the 2022 2500 144 High High Roof 6 Cylinder Diesel Cargo 4WD’s current listed price is $56,420. As you can see, there is an $8,500 difference between the 2WD and the 4WD Sprinter. If you haven’t decided which engine you’d like, keep in mind that while you can have a diesel engine in both a 2WD and 4WD van, you can only have a Gas engine in a 2WD Sprinter van. 

In addition to the drive terrain’s initial cost, the 4WD will cost more to maintain over time than its 2WD counterpart. For example, having an additional axel that contains differential fluid will mean the replacement of lubricants regularly. It also means you can expect to pay more in gas as this drivetrain continually supports the additional weight of a second axle. For this reason, you can significantly benefit from a 2WD as gas can add up over longer trips – Especially these days. 

Conversion Availability 

If you’re leaning towards a 4WD Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Chassis, you can expect to be on the waiting list for a long time. Depending on where you’re trying to source the van, you can expect a waitlist that lasts up to 6 months, and while several people travel to where the van is available, it’s not possible for everyone. On the other hand, 2WD Sprinters are much easier to come by, and we even have a few available at our facility ready to be converted. 

a 4wd sprinter van parked on the side of the roadResale Value

Are you the type of owner to purchase a vehicle with the intention of using it until it’s run the course of its life? Or maybe do you have a 5-10 year resale plan? If you are the latter, campervans with 4WD tend to sell faster and bring in more value than their 2WD counterparts. Oftentimes the additional resale value will more than make up for the initial investment of the system. That being said, in the event that you have no intention of ever going into 4WD when initially purchasing the van, it might still be worth your investment in the long run. 

The Verdict 

So which drivetrain is more conducive to your lifestyle? While many people would prefer a 4X4 Sprinter, it’s not always necessary, and many of our clients realize most of their adventures will only require 2WD capabilities. If you’re still indecisive, we’d be happy to speak with you and help you choose the correct drivetrain for your custom campervan. To see which Sprinter Vans  we currently have available, visit our Sprinter Vans For Sale Page and/or reach out to our team at [email protected].