2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Review

Sprinter Cargo

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2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Overview

The uniquely styled Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo was first introduced to enthusiastic Europeans in 1995 and promptly won the prestigious “International Van of the Year” award. When it finally appeared on U.S. roads in 2007, the Sprinter Cargo van was part of Chrysler Corporation’s Dodge lineup. With the demise of the Daimler-Chrysler partnership later in 2007, Mercedes-Benz gained sole ownership of the Sprinter brand and now offers this full-size van in both cargo and passenger configurations.

Now in its second generation, the Sprinter Cargo meets the needs of the modern tradesperson with its variety of payload capacities, roof lengths, powerplants, and wheelbases. Introduced late in 2016, the more affordable Sprinter Worker Cargo is a stripped-down version of the Sprinter Cargo van, offered exclusively in white with fewer configuration options and standard features.

The Sprinter Cargo comes in three weight ratings—the 8,500-pound 2500, the 9,900-pound 3500, and the 11,030-pound 3500 XD—and three roof heights—standard (with 66.5 inches of interior room), high (with 77.8 inches of cargo-bay headroom) and super high (87.3 inches inside). Wheelbases go from the standard 144.3 inches (12 feet) to the 170.3-inch (14.2 feet) extended-length edition, with overall length totaling 233.3 inches (19.4 feet) or 271.4 inches (22.6 feet), respectively. Cargo capacity behind the seats ranges from a hefty 319 cubic feet with the standard roof and wheelbase to 586 cubic feet with the extended wheelbase and super-high roof.

A choice of 2 engines is offered with the Sprinter Cargo. A turbodiesel 2.1-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) powerplant is standard and mates with a 7-speed shiftable automatic transmission to throw 161 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. A turbodiesel 3.0-liter V6 under the management of a 5-speed automatic transmission puts out 188 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque and is optional for all Sprinter Cargo variants, though it becomes standard when the 4-wheel-drive (4WD) option is selected. The 4WD system is offered with either high-range gearing only or with high- and low-range gearing for serious traction through muddy construction sites.

Maximum towing capacity for the 2500 trim level is 5,000 pounds when properly equipped, while the 3500 and 3500 XD’s brawn maxes out at 7,500 pounds. Payload capacities run from 2,686 pounds to 3,512 pounds for the 2500 and 3,916 to 5,507 pounds for the 3500, depending on the drivetrain and wheelbase.

The 2-passenger Sprinter Cargo boasts a tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, which gives drivers a bit more control and makes the van easier to maneuver around the city than most of its competition. A crosswind-assist system stabilizes the Sprinter Cargo via targeted automatic braking when travelling above 50 mph in windy conditions. Unsurprisingly, the ride is noticeably stiff, especially with an empty cargo bay.

The Sprinter Cargo is comparatively spartan in its standard features, but it’s still a Mercedes-Benz, meaning build quality is above average—as you’d expect in a van with a base price of $36,495. The more economical Worker Cargo variant carries a price tag of $32,495 without options. Before you buy, you might want to test drive challengers like the Ford Transit, Ram ProMaster, and Nissan NV, all of which cost less while offering better acceleration—and in the case of the NV, a V8 boasting 10,000 pounds of towing capacity.

However, the sizeable Sprinter Cargo offers more than the usual work-truck creature comforts. Power windows are standard, along with a 4-speaker audio system and Bluetooth hands-free communication. The 51-inch passenger-side sliding cargo door with a low step-in height makes for easier loading and unloading.

The Sprinter Worker Cargo version offers only a few available add-ons, like rear-door windows and upgraded audio components. Options for the regular Sprinter Cargo include alloy wheels, a driver’s side sliding door, a heavy-duty suspension package, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, cruise control, power-adjustable heated mirrors, heated front seats, GPS navigation, a fixed rear sunroof, and a rear step.

The Sprinter Cargo is equipped with 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front thorax-protection airbags, front window airbags, daytime running lights, and a post-collision system. Available safety features include a motion-detecting security alarm, bi-xenon headlights, fog lights, and an Active Safety Plus package with blind-spot alerts, lane-keep assist, forward-collision warnings, and high-beam assist. Because of its size and weight, the Sprinter Cargo is not subject to safety testing by the U.S. government or insurance industry.

Updated

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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