Not in the last five years, and not 25 foot, but 2004 and earlier Winnebago produced a C on the front-drive VW Eurovan platform. Models were Winnebago Vista and Itasca Sunstar, floorplan was 22-foot, dinette up front, bath across rear. Owners report MPG in the mid-teens with the 2.8 V-6.
It was under 7000 pounds, less than 8-foot wide, less than 10-foot tall, similar to contemporary European C's on the Eurovan and Transit platforms, which were dominant at the time (almost all Ducato and clones today).
We keep coming up with the idea that we are going to get a European van, but with an engine twice as powerful, and increase the capacity to put a US-sized house on it, 11K pounds instead of 6000-7000, and still see Euro MPGs. That's not going to happen. If we make them bigger, they will burn more fuel.
My Toyota gets 21-22 mpg very often. It's a 4 cyl, and will drive 60mph with the rest of them with not too high of an RPM. I wish they still made these because mine is getting kind of old. But all things considered, most folks are getting 7-8, and 10-12 AT BEST. This thing is a whole different world. Somehow we still pack our 5 children in it. I'm glad they get along
4 whopping cylinders on Toyota RV's. Talk about great getting good MPG. Also I have a very light foot on the pedal. I followed some MPG advice on Livingpress.com and I now get 22 MPG! Not bad for a home on wheels.
If you want a Sprinter, there are two types: The NCV3 which is the current turbocharged six since 2006-2007, and the T1N which is the 5 cylinder model. The 5-banger has had a good reputation for fuel economy, but supposedly the new BlueTec V6s with the new DEF and DPF systems are almost as good. The M-B stuff is praised at being very reliable as well. However, the Ford chassis is just as reliable, as if it weren't, we would be seeing multi-page threads of people cursing out the V-10 (for something other than puking spark plugs and coils) just as people vent about cabover leaks.
I'd look at overall costs and ask yourself some questions: Is there a M-B or Freightliner dealership nearby? Ask them if they service Sprinters, because the FL people may say they only do big rigs and point you to the M-B guys, the M-B guys say they only work on cars, and point you back to the Freightliner service. Even if you find a dealer, parts and service can be expensive, with stuff having to be airfreighted from overseas.
For example, if you or the previous owners lose eight keys, you get to buy a new vehicle computer, which will be in the quad digits. Another example is oil. One can find Mobile-1 that is up to Mercedes spec (229.51 for newer ones for example) on sale if you are lucky, but in the past, it required special ordering it.
Other questions to ask: Are you going from RV park to RV park, or will you end up taking it on rougher roads where ground clearance can be an issue with the Sprinter?
Will you be boondocking it? If so, having the generator run from a larger, 55 gallon gas tank will give more run hours than either the diesel tank or the LP gas, and LP gas fillers can be next to impossible to find, although one can carry exchangeable 20 pound bottles on a rack. A gasoline generator also has the most watts, 4000 versus the LP gas's 3600 or the 3200 from the diesel, and the diesel is taller.
What distances will you be going? For a new rig, the price premium can buy a lot of fuel, so if one is driving constantly, they might break even. However, if the rig is used at seasonal sites, one might be better off with a gasser.
As for the old Toyotas, that might be an option to consider, although be careful of weight.
I was looking at this decision last week myself, and debating between chassis versions. What swung the factor in the direction of the Fords was the fact that I don't travel that long a distance (hundreds of miles around Austin), and that I boondock (where the 55 gallon gas tank can provide me with 120+ hours of half-load generator run time for the A/C.)
My son drives one of these for his job loaded down with tools and air compressors. The dealerships are few and far between for any service or work. His has over 250K miles and needed a radiator recently. When he takes it in, the bill is never less than $2,000.00 or $3,000.00
The average "Joe backyard/driveway mechanic" cannot work on these vehicles.
If you do some math on the gas mileage and the cost of each fuel type over the limited miles you will drive the coach, you might convince yourself that the difference is gas mileage might not be the most important factor when considering what to buy. Maintenance is something else to consider - both availability or it and it's cost.
The 5-banger has had a good reputation for fuel economy, but supposedly the new BlueTec V6s with the new DEF and DPF systems are almost as good.
Not a chance. The BlueTec got a power boost without losing any fuel economy vs the earlier V6 but it still cannot match the 5 cylinder chassis fuel economy. The 5 cylinder will also run on non ULSD fuel too if that is an issue (like going to Mexico).