5 Camper Vans For Life on the Road

We compare the best platforms for 2022 camper vans, including available engines and if they have four-wheel drive, so you know where to start your search.


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With so many jobs going remote, not to mention the explosion of FOMO-inducing social media, you might find yourself with the itch to buy a camper van and set out for a life on the road. That being said, many feel a sense of sticker shock when they see that many of the vans already made into camper vans easily climb towards, and into, the six-figure range. If you're a do-it-yourself kind of person, you may even be tempted to build a van out by yourself to fit your personal wants and needs. 

Whether going at it on your own or buying a van from one of the many upfitters out there, knowing what vehicle to start with can be tricky. To help, we've rounded up five 2022 camper vans you'll want to consider for your journey into #vanlife. Turning your completely stock van into a camper van (often called upfitting) can be expensive, but this roundup should give you some of the insight needed to find the right base for what you want.


2022 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter line of commercial vans is a preferred choice among van-lifers. The van was redesigned for 2019 - which is noteworthy as commercial vans typically go much longer between updates than more traditional passenger vehicles. The Sprinter is technically available in four different body styles. There's a 144-in wheelbase standard-roof model, a 144-inch wheelbase high-roof, a 170-inch wheelbase high-roof, and a 170-inch high-roof with an extended rear overhang. Three different engines are available — a gas four-cylinder, a diesel four-cylinder, and a diesel six-cylinder that can be optioned with four-wheel drive. That said, the 4x4 Sprinter is still best-suited for dirt forest roads as opposed to tough off-roading. Payload can be optioned up to 6,823 lbs, giving you plenty to work with when it comes to adding amenities to your living space at the rear.

Don't be fooled by the Mercedes emblem in the grille; while it can be optioned with some luxury features, it wouldn't be right to think of the Sprinter as a 'luxury van'. At its core, the Sprinter is a commercial utility vehicle just like Ford Transit, its primary competitor.

A base Sprinter comes in at about $38,000, while a fully-loaded 4x4 model will approach $80,000, before factoring in any upfitting or extended warranty or maintenance plans.


2022 Ford Transit

If the Mercedes Sprinter is option 1 when it comes to van builds, then the Ford Transit is option 1A. The Sprinter's closest competitor, the Ford Transit, was introduced in the U.S. for the 2015 model year as a replacement for the aging E-Series van. The Transit then received an update for 2020. Changes included the addition of a new 2.0L turbodiesel engine, which replaced a five-cylinder diesel offered in previous years. The Transit's 2020 update also added a great new 10-speed automatic transmission along with optional all-wheel drive (AWD). Once again though, an AWD Transit still isn't really suitable for off-road use as the system is tailored more toward driving on wet or snowy roads. Beyond that, the Transit comes with a modern infotainment system and a well-rounded suite of active safety tech, which is also available in the Sprinter.

Body configurations for the Transit mimic those of the Sprinter as well, though the Transit can come with three different roof heights to the Sprinter's two. Max payload comes in below that of the Sprinter at 4,650 lbs.

There's also an electric version of the Transit for 2022. Dubbed the E-Transit, it wouldn't be appropriate for camper van use, given that its battery only has a maximum range of 126 miles.

Pricing for the Transit starts at about $37,000 and tops out at about $80,000, right in line with the Sprinter.


2022 Ram ProMaster

The Ram ProMaster is a full-size van like the Sprinter and Transit. That said, the ProMaster differs from the offerings of Mercedes-Benz and Ford in that it uses a front-wheel drive platform, while the others use rear-wheel drive and offer optional AWD. For 2022, the ProMaster gets a new 9-speed automatic transmission (replacing an old 6-speed) to go with its standard 3.6L V6 engine. A bevy of newly available tech and safety features enter the fray as well. Standard on the 2022 ProMaster are full-speed collision warning, post collision braking, drowsiness detection, and traffic sign recognition. Also available is adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, lane-keep assist, automatic high beams, parking sensors, cornering fog lamps, and a 360-degree camera system; all creature-comforts that serve to make the van much more appealing for a 2022 camper van build.

The ProMaster is offered with two different roof heights, three different wheelbases, and a total of four different lengths, giving you a little more choice than you get with a Sprinter or Transit van. Payload tops out at just under 4,700 lbs, on par with the Transit, but still below the Sprinter's max.

Pricing for the 2022 Ram ProMaster starts at about $36,000 and tops out at about $60,000; considerably lower than the Sprinter and Transit given the ProMaster's lack of available specialty powertrains.


2022 Ford Transit Connect

If you don't need the space and payload capabilities offered by a full-size van like the Sprinter, Transit, or ProMaster, then the compact Ford Transit Connect is an appealing choice. It's offered in two different lengths, the shorter of which comes with a 104.8-inch wheelbase, while the longer has a 120.6-inch wheelbase. Power comes from either a 2.5L four-cylinder paired to a six-speed automatic or a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder mated to an 8-speed auto. One of the benefits of the Transit Connect is fuel economy, in particular when it comes to the turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which the EPA rates as 24 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.

In terms of appointments, the Transit connect comes with a modern, car-like interior with a recently-updated infotainment system along with a nice mix of available active safety features. In cargo van form, the Transit Connect is capable of swallowing up to 127 cu.-ft. of cargo in the rear.

Another benefit of a Transit Connect serving as your camper van is maneuverability. While not as much of a consideration in remote areas, a vehicle like the Transit Connect is much easier to live with in the city than a Transit or Sprinter. So if you can live with the compromised interior space, the Transit Connect is a minimalist's dream.

Cost is another selling point of the Transit Connect relative to the larger options listed above. The 2022 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van starts at under $28,000 and reaches about $33,000 in fully-loaded form.


2022 Ram ProMaster City

The Ram ProMaster City is a compact cargo van in the same vein as the Ford Transit Connect. It's been on sale in the U.S. since the 2015 model year and keeps things pretty simple, offering just one body-style configuration and a simple four-cylinder engine. Not a lot has changed with the Ram ProMaster City in recent years. Fog lights were made optional for 2021, while a body-colored front fascia, daytime running lights, backup sensors, and a few other bits were made optional for 2022.

Maximum payload for the ProMaster City is 1,890 lbs; considerably lower than the three full-size vans on our list, but on par with that of the Transit Connect and enough for a modest RV build. Cargo volume slightly exceeds that of the Transit Connect, coming in at 131.7 cu.-ft. for the ProMaster City cargo van.

Pricing for the ProMaster City starts at under $26,000 and tops out at a little over $30,000. While it doesn't offer the options and configurability of the Transit Connect, the Ram ProMaster City is the value-leader in the small cargo van segment, making it ideal for serving as the basis of a budget camper van.


There are a few other choices out there, especially on the used market. But the five vans here represent the strongest offerings and embody what you're most likely to come across when browsing for new 2022 camper vans.

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Chris O'Neill
I am an auto-industry veteran and a current MBA candidate at the University of Utah. After moving to Utah in October 2015 and being fascinated by the unique car culture of the region, I started an Instagram project highlighting the rare and distinctive vehicles I see in the Mountain West region. I enjoy sharing with others my unique perspective and passion for all things automotive. In my free time, when I’m not thinking and writing about cars, I enjoy photography, toying with my 2011 Volkswagen GTI and 1999 Toyota Land Cruiser, and exploring Utah with my girlfriend and two dogs.