The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is ready to go to work!
The subject of this review is a vehicle you won’t see me recommending to those that need something nice to haul the family around or use as a commuter vehicle. But – if you own a business and need a vehicle to haul cargo and/or tools around, or need a passenger van, well then read on, as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter should be on your radar.
Considered as the leader of cargo and passenger vans, the Sprinter is available in many ways. As a cargo van, it features 2 seats and a large cargo bay; as a crew van, it gains a bench seat for 5-passengers, and as a passenger van it can carry up to 15 people. All are available in either a 144-inch or 170-inch wheelbase and with either a standard roof or a high roof. And depending on the type of work, the Sprinter can be had in regular 1500 and 2500 models as well as heavy-duty 3500 and 4500 models. In all, the Sprinter is offered in 21 different configurations as a cargo van and 10 configurations as a passenger van. The Sprinter that Mercedes-Benz had me last week was a 144-inch cargo van 2500 version.
Climb inside the cab of the Sprinter and a simplistic, yet still Mercedes-Benz like interior can be found. From the instrument panel to the radio and A/C controls, the quality of the interior is quite high. Cupholders and storage bins are everywhere.
Access to the cargo area can be done in a number of ways. From the sides of the vehicle, there are big sliding doors that gives you a nice wide opening to load cargo inside (the passenger sliding door is standard, the driver’s is a $900 option). And from the rear, there are barn-style doors for easy entry. Once inside the cargo area, you can practically play basketball in the Sprinter – with high ceilings and plenty of room. Fixed sunroofs help light up the area, as well as a few LED lights.
On the road, the Sprinter is a surprisingly easy driver. The turning radius is tight, and the steering is nicely weighted. The tester was equipped with many of the latest electronic driving aids and safety features like blind-spot assistance, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera, and traffic sign recognition. After just a few short miles in the Sprinter, I was thankful to have them all.
Powering the Sprinter is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder gas engine (188 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque) paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Optional on 2500 models and standard on 3500 and 4500 models is a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 (it also makes 188 horsepower but with 325 lb-ft of torque) paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission. The tester has the base four-cylinder, and while I was surprised such a small engine would make it into such a large vehicle, I was also equally surprised on how well it performed. In my short time driving the Sprinter, it has never felt low on power and easily and quickly hits speed limit speeds. And it does so without any fuss or noise – the powertrain is very smooth and quiet.
The chassis, on the other hand is a bit noisy. It sure feels solid, but the empty Sprinter seems to make all sorts of squeaks and rattles – and when empty, there is a sense of hollowness inside. In all fairness, this is a truck meant for work, so those noises sometimes just come with the territory.
Obviously the Sprinter is not a vehicle for your average family. But for the entrepreneur or small business owner, it’s perfect. Whether it’s set up for cargo or passengers, the Sprinter is made to go to work – and it does. Prices for the Sprinter start at $34,000.
– Christopher A. Randazzo
By The Numbers:
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 Cargo Van 144
Base Price: $34,900.00
Price as Tested: $55,833.00
Layout: front-engine / rear-wheel drive
Engine: 2.0 turbocharged 4-cylinder
Transmission: 9-speed automatic
Horsepower: 188 hp
Torque: 258 lb-ft
Note: Review and specifications are based off of a 2019 model.
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