Van Size Comparisons - The Germans!


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Thought this may be of interest for Self-Builders who want to use a VW or Mercedes Van as a Base

Vans covered:
VW T5 GP (2010-2016). The Older VW T5 (2003-2010) and Newer T6 (2016- ) are near enough the same dimensions
MB Sprinter/VW LT (1996-2005). This is known as the 'T1N' (in a similar way that the Relay, Boxer and Ducato are know as 'Sevel'). I am using images for the VW LT. The Sprinter is close enough to be the same
MB Sprinter/VW Crafter (2005-2016). This is known as the 'NCV3'. I am using images for the Crafter. Again, the Sprinter will be close enough for initial comparisions
I am also showing sizes of the 'Sevel' Boxer for comparison

Some Dimensions .... (note these are all external, so a vehicle with a longer nose may have less internal living space then one of same length with shorter, and a RWD van will often have a higher floor then a FWD van for example, but as a guideline, should be handy :) )
Note also that a 4WD van may have a raised floor compared to a FWB model and the internal Floor to Roof is therefore reduced. All things to check before commiting.

Firstly the Dimensions of a T5 ....



So lengths of 4890 & 5290 respectively, and a max height on a standard roof of 1969.

Variety of both T1N and NCV3 lengths and heights, and the difference is quite considerable!

Low Roof on T1N is 2350 and High Roof is 2570
Low Roof on NCV3 isis 2535 and High Roof is 2820
SO .... If the headroom on a High Roof T1N is good for you, then a Low Roof N3V could also be ok?

The length differences are quite significant. Large Van makers quote terms like "L1H1", "L3H2", etc to signify the differents in length and height - but one makers L3 is not another makers L3 so using those terms to compare vans is not going to work ;)

A common platform for Motorhome Conversions is the Peugeot Boxer in L3H2 format
Dimensions of current Boxer L3H2 = 5988 Long, 2524 High

Comparing to T1N and N3V....
T1N L3H2 = 6535 Long, 2570 High and L2H2 = 5585 Long, 2570 High - so the L3 Boxer sits right in the middle of the T1N MWB and LWB models.
NCV3 L3H2 = 6940 Long, 2830 High and L2H2 = 5910 Long, 2830 High, and also the H1 (so low roof model) is 2535 high
so .... the Nearest NCV3 to a LWB Mid Roof (L3H2) Boxer is in fact a MWB Low Roof (L2H1) NCV3!

I understand that some campsites have a "max 20' " limit for campers/motorhomes, which is just under 6.1M - and that, plus ferry price hikes for >6M vehicles - which probably explains why the L3 Boxer is a popular base rather then the L4 XLWB model at 6363?

so a comparision in pictures ....

The "Default" Motorhome base (I find it useful to know these dimensions as when looking at layouts etc, as it is easier to understand how well they would fit in another van)
Peugeot Boxer -

and in size order of LWB and MWB...

The XLWB (L4) NCV3 -

This is refered to as XLWB but is actually the same wheelbase as the LWB, it just has an extended rear body.
There is a super-high top version but I refuse to post a picture as they are too ugly :D

The LWB (L3) NCV3 -

The LWB (L3) T1N -

The MWB (L2) NCV3 -

and finally the MWB (L2) T1N

When looking at the size differences, I can see why the MWB NCV3 is also a popular choice for conversion as it will give the same kind of space as the Boxer

(not considered the Widths - the Boxer is the widest of panel vans by quite a way)


The shorter versions of the bigger vans have been mentioned as options. These offer not much extra in terms of length, but can offer useful extra width and height. So let's check out the differences ....

To Recap, the VW T5 in standard roof version with LWB (there are Mid and High Roof versions of course) -

The Boxer in L2 (MWB) H2 (High Roof) version -

T1N IN L1H1 format. So SWB Low Roof (in SWB there is just the only roof height option) -

And the NCV3 in L1H2 size (unlike the T1N there are two roof options) -

And for people who want the extreme .....

A SWB NCV3 is shorter then a LWB T5

And remarkably, a SWB T1N is actually shorter then a SWB T5!
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