The number of boring, stale vehicle segments is shrinking by the day. In fact, we can't think of any off the top of our heads that deserve that description. Even the last remaining holdout, full-size vans, a segment where model lifespans seem to be measured in decades rather than years, is heating up. The arrival of the Sprinter about a decade ago was the first sign that change was coming to the segment and the recent arrival of the Nissan NV further shook up the Ford Econoline/Chevrolet Express/GMC Savanna status quo. Soon, they'll be joined by the new 2014 Ford Transit, which will replace the Econoline, and the announced-but-not-yet-seen Fiat Ducato-based Ram ProMaster.

We've taken a look at all the cargo-hauling variants of each van that's currently offered and figured out which one offers the most space to help you decide which van is the right one for you.

2013 Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana

Most Powerful Available Engine: 6.6L turbodiesel V-8, 260 hp, 525 lb-ft of torque
Maximum Cargo Volume: 284.4 cu. ft.
Maximum Cargo Length: 146.2 inches
Maximum Cargo Height: 53.4 inches
Width Between Wheel Wells: 52.7 inches

GM claims it's committed to the Express and Savana for those buyers that want a more "traditional" van, but we've got to wonder how much longer they're going to resist the trend toward high-roof European-style vans. The numbers don't lie. Even in the longest, largest configuration, the Express and Savana fall well short of the class leaders. Maximum cargo volume is almost half that of the biggest Sprinter. The one upside to the Express and Savana for gearheads is the availability of the 6.6-liter Duramax diesel V-8 that puts down 260 hp and a meaty 525 lb-ft of torque. However, this is down substantially from the output in the trucks due to the lower torque capacity of the Hydra-Matic 6L90 transmission versus the stout Allison in the trucks.

Configuration 1500 135" WB 2500 135" WB 2500 155" WB 3500 135" WB 3500 155" WB
Max Cargo Volume 239.7 cu. ft. 239.7 cu. ft. 284.4 cu. ft. 239.7 cu. ft. 284.4 cu. ft.
Max Cargo Length 124.6 in 124.6 in 146.2 in 124.6 in 146.2 in
Max Cargo Height 52.9 in 52.9 in 53.4 in 52.9 in 53.4 in
Width Betw. Wheel Wells 52.7 in 52.7 in 52.7 in 52.7 in 52.7 in

Ford E-350 Econoline

Most Powerful Available Engine: 6.8L V-10, 305 hp, 420 lb-ft of torque
Maximum Cargo Volume: 309.4 cu. ft.
Maximum Cargo Length: 140.6 inches (at floor)
Maximum Cargo Height: 51.9 inches
Width Between Wheel Wells: 51.1 inches

It doesn't take a genius to see that the new Transit trounces the Econoline in every measurable capacity of cargo volume. The most dramatic difference is in the maximum height, where the Transit has an almost 30-inch advantage over its aging predecessor. The Econoline's 6.8-liter V-10 may have more torque than the Transit's EcoBoost, but there's no argument as to which one is more fuel-efficient,

Config- uration E-150 Reg. Lgth. E-150 Ext. Lgth. E-250 Reg. Lgth. E-250 Ext. Lgth. E-350 Reg. Lgth. E-350 Ext. Lgth.
Max Cargo Volume 237.8 cu. ft. 278.3 cu. ft. 237.8 cu. ft. 278.3 cu. ft. 237.8 cu. ft. 278.3 cu. ft.
Max Cargo Length 138.7 in 158.7 in 138.7 in 158.7 in 138.7 in 158.7 in
Max Cargo Height 53.9 in 53.9 in 53.9 in 53.9 in 53.9 in 53.9 in
Width Betw. Wheel Wells 52.5 in 52.5 in 52.5 in 52.5 in 52.5 in 52.5 in

Ford Transit

Most Powerful Available Engine: 3.5L twin-turbocharged V-6, 350 hp (est), 400 lb-ft torque (est)
Maximum Cargo Volume: 496 cubic feet
Maximum Cargo Length: 171.5 inches
Maximum Cargo Height: 81.4 inches
Width Between Wheel Wells: 54.8 inches

The 2014 Ford Transit comes close to the Sprinter's maximum capacity, but can't quite top it, topping out at 496 cubic feet of cargo volume for the long-wheelbase, extended-length, high-roof version -- 51 cubic feet short of the Sprinter's maximum. The Ford does best the Sprinter in maximum height, at 81.4 inches, and width between wheel wells at 54.8 inches. Ford has not yet announced maximum payload capacities for the Transit, so we don't know who has the edge in that department. Ford has also not yet announced the official output figures on the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 as installed in the Transit, saying only that figures will be "close" to those in the F-150. We're confidently predicting output of around 350 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque, which would make the Transit the horsepower king among vans.


Configuration 129.9" WB Lo Roof 129.9" WB Med Roof 147.6" WB Lo Roof 147.6" WB Med Roof
Max Cargo Volume 248.3 cu. ft. 317.3 cu. ft. 284.7 cu. ft 363.9 cu. ft.
Max Cargo Length 125.3 in 125.3 in 143 in 143 in
Max Cargo Height 55.8 in 72 in 55.8 in 72 in
Width Betw. Wheel Wells 54.8 in 54.8 in 54.8 in 54.8 in
Configuration 147.6" WB Hi Roof 147.6" WB Ext Hi Roof SRW 147.6" WB Ext Hi Roof DRW
Max Cargo Volume 411.4 cu. ft. 496 cu. ft. 496 cu. ft. (minus DRW)
Max Cargo Length 143 in 171.5 in 171.5 in
Max Cargo Height 81.4 in 81.4 in 81.4 in
Width Betw. Wheel Wells 54.8 in 54.8 in 54.8 in

Nissan NV 2500/3500 HD

Most Powerful Available Engine: 5.6L V-8, 317 hp, 385 lb-ft torque
Maximum Cargo Volume: 323.1 cubic feet
Maximum Cargo Length: 120 inches
Maximum Cargo Height: 76.9 inches
Width Between Wheel Wells: 54.3 inches

Somewhat similar to the approach Nissan took with the Titan, there are only a limited number of configurations available on the NV, relative to the myriad configuration options available for both the Sprinter and Transit. There's only one wheelbase and overall length, but buyers do get the option of standard- or high-roof configurations. For the largest model, the full-size NV comes in well behind the Transit and Sprinter, but ahead of the E-Series and the two GMs. The NV does have the distinction of having a greater width between wheel wells than the Sprinter and it's also more powerful that the German workhorse, though it'll likely fall short of Ford's high-tech EcoBoost.


Configuration 1500 Low Roof 2500 Low Roof 2500 High Roof 3500 Low Roof 3500 High Roof
Max Cargo Volume 234.1 cu. ft. 234.1 cu. ft. 323.1 cu. ft. 234.1 cu. ft. 323.1 cu. ft.
Max Cargo Length 120 in 120 in 120 in 120 in 120 in
Max Cargo Height 55.8 in 55.8 in 76.9 in 55.8 in 76.9 in
Width Betw. Wheel Wells 54.3 in 54.3 in 54.3 in 54.3 in 54.3 in

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Most Powerful Available Engine: 3.0L turbodiesel V-6, 188 hp, 325 lb-ft torque
Maximum Cargo Volume: 547 cubic feet
Maximum Cargo Length: 185 inches
Maximum Cargo Height: 78.2 inches
Width Between Wheel Wells: 53.1 inches

The Sprinter is the proven veteran among the tall-roof set and its reputation as a utilitarian workhorse is reinforced by its commanding lead in overall cargo volume over the rest of the field at a capacious 547 cubic feet. Mercedes offers the Sprinter in two wheelbases and three overall lengths, maxing out at a staggering 289.2-inches in length. For perspective, that's longer than two Mini Coopers parked nose to tail and more than two feet longer than a Ford F-350 Super Duty Crew Cab longbed. When it comes to stuff capacity by volume, the Sprinter rules in this segment. However, it has the weakest engine, its 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 making a mere 188 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque.


Configuration 2500 StdRoof, 144" WB 2500 Hi Roof, 144" WB 2500 Hi Roof, 170" WB 2500 Hi Roof, 170" WB, Ext
Max Cargo Volume 318 cu. ft. 371 cu. ft. 494 cu. ft 547 cu. ft
Max Cargo Length 128.5 in 128.5 in 169.3 in 185 in
Max Cargo Height 65 in 78.2 in 78.2 in 78.2 in
Width Betw. Wheel Wells 53.1 in 53.1 in 53.1 in 53.1 in
Configuration 3500 Hi Roof, 144" WB 3500 Hi Roof, 170" WB 3500 Hi Roof, 170" WB Ext
Max Cargo Volume 371 cu. ft. 494 cu. ft. 547 cu. ft.
Max Cargo Length 128.5 in 169.3 in 185 in.
Max Cargo Height 78.2 in 78.2 in 78.2 in
Width Betw. Wheel Wells 38.5 in 38.5 in 38.5 in


Ram ProMaster

Most Powerful Available Engine: 3.0L turbodiesel I-4, 174 hp, 295 lb-ft torque
Maximum Cargo Volume: 529.7 cubic feet
Maximum Cargo Length: 160 inches
Maximum Cargo Height: 85.5 inches
Width Between Wheel Wells: 55.9 inches

When it debuted, many critics said how homely the ProMaster (and by extension, the Fiat Ducato) was. But let's be honest, nobody buys these vehicles for their beauty. The true beauty of cargo vans is in their versatility, and there's no question the ProMaster shines. Ram has not officially released cargo volume data for the ProMaster, but based on some online sleuthing and some metric conversions, we were able to figure out the key interior dimensions of the ProMaster, going on the premise that they're essentially identical to the Ducato. What we found was eye-opening. Although just shy of the Sprinter's maximum capacity of 547 cubic feet, the ProMaster tops the largest Transit by more than 30 cubic feet. European customers can order an even more cavernous Ducato that holds a massive 600 cubic feet!

The ProMaster's unique front-drive layout puts it on top of this class in maximum cargo height at 85.5 inches, and the largest width between wheel wells at 55.9 inches. The ProMaster's literally almost true-vertical sides maximize the usEable available space inside. On paper, the ProMaster's modest diesel power of 174 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque (a 280-hp gasser is also available) puts it near the bottom of the list in power output, but that torque peak is delivered at a low 1400 rpm, mated to a transmission with an ultra-short 4.56 final drive, so around-town performance should be plenty spunky.


Configuration 1500 Low Roof 118" WB 1500 Low Roof 136" WB 1500/2500 High Roof 136" WB
Max Cargo Volume 282.5 cu ft 353.1 cu ft 406.1 cu ft
Max Cargo Length 105.1 in 122.8 in 122.8 in
Max Cargo Height 65.4 in 65.4 in 85.5 in
Width Betw. Wheel Wells 55.9 in 55.9 in 55.9 in
Configuration 2500 High Roof 159" WB 3500 High Roof 159" WB 3500 High Roof 159" WB Ext
Max Cargo Volume 459 cu ft 459 cu ft 529.7 cu ft
Max Cargo Length 145.9 in 145.9 in 160 in
Max Cargo Height 85.5 in 85.5 in 85.5 in
Width Betw. Wheel Wells 55.9 in 55.9 in 55.9 in
Legend: CV: Cargo Van, CC: Chassis-Cab, CA: Cut-Away, SWB: Short-wheelbase, MWB: Medium-wheelbase, LWB: Long-wheelbase, LR: Low-roof, HR: High-roof, Ext: Extended-length. * Based on specifications of European Fiat Ducato equivalent.