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2016 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Overview
The full-size Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van returns for 2016 with a standard 12-passenger arrangement that can be expanded to a total passenger capacity of 19, perfect for upscale limousine services. Essentially a carryover from 2015, the 2016 model is complemented by the Sprinter Cargo version that’s covered in a separate preview. This uniquely-appointed van, once available only in Europe, was originally brought to the U.S by Chrysler’s Dodge division just before Chrysler Corporation and Daimler parted ways in 2007.
The 2016 Sprinter passenger van comes in Passenger and Crew versions. Each version can is also available as a three-quarter-ton 2500 144 WB (144-inch wheelbase) or 2500 170 WB (177-inch wheelbase) build, with either a standard roof (64 inches of standing height) or high roof (75.5 inches). There’s 68.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rearmost row of seating in the standard-roof, 144-inch wheelbase 5-passenger Passenger trim, while the 170-inch wheelbase Crew version with the high roof offers 367.5 cubic feet.
Unlike most of Mercedes’ offerings, the base Sprinter is relatively Spartan both inside and out. Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels, privacy glass, and auxiliary transmission fluid cooling.
Inside, look for both the Passenger and Crew iterations to sport cloth upholstery, power door locks, telescoping tilt-wheel steering, manual air conditioning, Bluetooth hands-free calling, and an AM/FM stereo with 13 speakers, a 5.8-inch display, a memory card slot, and an auxiliary audio input. The popular Crosswind Assist feature is also standard, using yaw-sensors built into the stability control technology to make subtle adjustments in the suspension and steering in order to help keep the van in the lane in gusty conditions.
Where the Sprinter really makes Mercedes-Benz its money is with its long list of optional equipment. A slew of packages are available, including a Driver Efficiency package with cruise control and a rear-view camera, a Cold Weather package featuring a heater booster, insulated front seats, and a heated driver’s seat, and a Driver Comfort package with additional 12-volt outlets and luxury front seats. Further options include rear parking sensors, a multi-function steering wheel, a roof rack, a rear-view camera, high-performance air conditioning, and GPS navigation. The available Parktronic automatic parallel-parking system also returns for 2016.
The 2016 Sprinter's base powertrain is a 2.1-liter turbodiesel inline 4-cylinder engine mated with a 7-speed shiftable automatic transmission, able to put out 161 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. Fuel-efficiency numbers are unavailable for current Sprinter trims. For some serious grunt, the 2016 Sprinter can be fitted with an available 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 mill that combines with a 5-speed shiftable automatic for 188 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. Mileage estimates are not available for this potent turbodiesel, either, but towing maxes out at an impressive 5,000 pounds when equipped with an optional tow hitch and wiring.
A 4-wheel-drive (4WD) option debuted in the 2015 Sprinter lineup and is again available in all 2016 trims equipped with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6. The 4WD configuration is offered in one of two configurations, a full-time all-wheel-drive (AWD) setup or a terrain-taming 4WD system with low-range gearing. Beware, however, that even the base 2016 Sprinter is an expensive proposition, and that these optional drivetrains mean a hefty jump in price.
Standard safety equipment aboard the 2016 Sprinter in both the Passenger and Crew variants includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), front side-mounted airbags, front head-protection airbags, turn-signal-integrated mirrors, daytime running lights, and a post-collision safety system. A remote antitheft alarm, blind-spot warning, and a collision prevention system are all optional.
The 2016 Sprinter returns to challenge such rivals as the Ford Transit, GMC Savana, Chevy Express, and Nissan NV.
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.
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