You know about this thread for the 3.5/3.31 crowd's MPG?Thanks bobojay, that's definitely food for a reconsideration on the Sprinter 4cyl engine. I have heard good stuff about it overall and especially the 7 speed transmission. I'll do some more research into that. I did see a few online that advertise a V6 and a 7 speed trans, but I think if I follow up on those they will likely be misprints.
And yes, it does appear that I've talked myself into another Sprinter :s, but still waiting to be certain if one of Ford's engines may work well in my situation or not. It's very difficult to know for certain about the 3.5 EcoBoost's mpg or the diesel's abilities given there seems so little online by folks that weigh down their vans to near capacity. There are lots of Ford Transits in Europe with stories but they use different engines. Almost every post I see about these engines with regards to US Transit vans are either empty, 2 people, or half loaded vans. That doesn't tell me enough because I know how much more mileage and power I can get out of my van nearly empty vs a full load. Mileage alone is a different animal.
As more new 3.5/3.31 owners post, the variables for full load etc. will hopefully be covered.