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2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Overview
Totally redesigned for 2014, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter once again offers a unique high-roof cargo area, turbodiesel power and posh appointments. The latest edition of this ungainly 2- to 12-passenger work van, however, is now unabashedly touted as having been especially tweaked to counter Ford’s brand new (and equally ungainly) Transit offering. Alas, while the new Sprinter now offers a new turbodiesel inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine that conforms with more stringent emissions regulations, as well as a new front end and improved Euro-style plush, Ford’s latest outsize van equals or trumps the Sprinter in headroom, power and price.
In any case, trim levels in both cargo and passenger iterations should again reflect payload capacities via the three-quarter-ton 2500 and the one-ton 3500, with each trim level available in 140-inch wheelbase and 170-inch wheelbase variations.
Among expected changes for the 2014 Sprinter lineup are a dedicated Minibus trim and a pickup-style Cab Chassis, each complementing the basic 2500 and 3500 cargo and passenger variations with their standard and extended wheelbase configurations that have helped make this adult-friendly workhorse famous. Other anticipated improvements, meanwhile, include a new front fascia and grille, as well as redesigned front headlights, an upgraded hood and bumper configuration, and some marginal upgrades to interior appointments.
Thus the spiffed-up 2014 Sprinter, already running European roadways, is expected to look a bit more svelte and to boast improved ride comfort and agility, as well as offering a number of innovative new safety features when it reaches U.S. shores this fall.
As mentioned, this year’s Sprinter platform is expected to debut a 2.1-liter turbocharged I4 engine and a new 7-speed automatic transmission as the standard powertrain. Of course the old 6-speed manual transmission will likely remain available with the 4-banger, but fuel efficiency is noted by reviewers to suffer a bit with the stick-shift. Anyhow, whatever the transmission choice, owners can expect 161 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque out of this peppy I4.
Meanwhile, the once-standard 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 is now an optional powerplant that, mated with the standard 5-speed automatic transmission, will continue to push out 188 hp and 325 lb/ft of torque. Mileage numbers for the Sprinter with either engine are once again unavailable, and while this adult-friendly van/wagon remains offered in only the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) configuration, rumors are rife that an all-wheel-drive (AWD) version may soon be available, possibly as early as the 2015 model year.
Notwithstanding the above-mentioned upgrades, tweaks and rework, the 2014 Sprinter will doubtless continue to offer the standard 16-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, power door locks and power-adjustable mirrors as its predecessors, not to mention telescoping tilt-wheel steering, air conditioning and an 80-watt audio system with a single-CD player and up to 13 speakers. A new-for-2014 5.8-inch touchscreen display, meantime, is expected to interface with the audio components, as well as with the available Bluetooth hands-free communications technology and a newly upgraded hard-drive-based navigation suite.
Options will doubtless progress from current expectations as well, but for the moment, owners can expect to add on such goodies as cruise control, heated power-adjustable outside mirrors, power windows, all sorts of seating configurations, a 6-CD changer with 100 watts of audio power, parking assist sensors and a rear-view camera.
Finally, standard safety features should again include 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), complemented by traction and stability control and front thorax airbags. New for 2014, meantime, are such touted upgrades as Collision Prevention Assistance and a Crosswind Assistance System. The Crosswind Assistance System especially has been touted as a safety breakthrough by a number of reviewers, though a few note that the system, unquestionably a good beginning, still needs work. Doubtless a properly functioning system would be a godsend to those struggling with this tall van’s eccentricities on even mildly breezy days. Finally, a front-mounted, camera-interfaced Lane-Keeping Assist program and a blind-spot warning system, as well as a High-beam Assist safety system that, like the Lane-Keeping Assist technology, uses a camera to automatically switch headlights from high to low beams and back, are all expected to be either standard or available to the new-look Sprinter lineup.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.