2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Review

Sprinter

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2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Overview

The 12-passenger Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van is the perfect vehicle for a well-financed limousine service. This full-size minivan gets a number of upgrades for 2017 while continuing to offer turbodiesel power, two roof heights, two wheelbases, and traditional Mercedes-Benz-quality cabin materials and workmanship. The Sprinter Passenger version now comes with upgraded rear-rooftop air conditioning, enhanced front and rear cabin insulation, and convenience lighting, which enables the driver to turn on the rear ceiling lights.

The Sprinter first appeared in the U.S. in 2007 and was sold by both Dodge and Freightliner. The van’s now-common high-roof design, which allowed adults to walk upright through the rear cargo and passenger areas, caught on almost immediately and spawned such lower-cost rivals as the Ford Transit, Ram ProMaster, and Nissan NV. After the demise of the DaimlerChrysler partnership in 2007, Mercedes-Benz took over the Sprinter lineup, although Freightliner still markets its own version under license from Mercedes.

The Sprinter comes exclusively in the three-quarter-ton 2500 weight rating and in Passenger and Crew trim levels. The Sprinter Passenger offers 4 rows of seating, with the driver and a single passenger seat in front, seating for 6 across the second and third rows, and 4 seats in the rearmost row. The Crew van layout is identical to that of the Sprinter Cargo version, with bench seating for 3 just behind the front seats. A Sprinter Worker Passenger van is also available, which is essentially a stripped-down version of the regular Passenger with fewer included features or customization options.

The standard roof height on the Sprinter is 66.5 inches (5.5 feet), while the high-roof variant offers 77.8 inches (6.5 feet) of standing room. The regular wheelbase is 144 inches (12 feet) and the extended version’s stretches to 170 inches (14.2 feet), with overall length measured at 233.3 inches (19 feet, 3 inches) and 274.1 inches (22 feet, 10 inches), respectively. For the Passenger van, cargo capacity behind the fourth row is 68.6 cubic feet with the regular wheelbase and standard roof height, while the extended version with the high-roof option offers 190.3 cubic feet. The Crew van gets 220.1 cubic feet of cargo space with the regular wheelbase and standard roof and 367.5 with the long wheelbase and high roof.

Power for the Sprinter is provided by a turbodiesel 2.1-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine mated to a 7-speed shiftable automatic transmission to send 161 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels. Should you need more grunt or want the optional 4-wheel-drive (4WD) system, a turbodiesel 3.0-liter V6 is available to all Sprinter variations and comes standard aboard those with 4WD. The V6 is matched with a 5-speed automatic transmission to put out 188 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. Both the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) and 4WD versions also come with hill-start assist. Towing capacity is maxed out at 5,000 pounds with either engine, and top-end payload figures run from 2,311 to 3,237 pounds, depending on the engine and body configuration. There are no EPA mileage estimates for the Sprinter, but diesel engines are traditionally more fuel efficient than gasoline-fired ones—and the Ford Transit is the only rival with a turbodiesel option.

Despite carrying the Mercedes-Benz name, the Sprinter is designed with the fleet operator in mind, so the usual luxury touches associated with this premium brand are noticeably lacking. But with a starting price of $42,650 for the Passenger van, which is significantly more expensive than any of its competitors, some comparatively premium features are expected. Every Sprinter comes with telescoping tilt-wheel steering, a 5-speaker audio system with Bluetooth, and an intuitive instrument and gauge layout. Optional equipment for the Crew and Passenger variants bolsters the Sprinter’s pedigree, with packages like the Driver Efficiency package offering cruise control and a reversing camera. Standalone options include a roof rack, heated power-adjustable mirrors, and GPS navigation.

The 2017 Sprinter van carries a number of safety items above and beyond the government-mandated traction- and stability-control systems, tire-pressure monitor, and front airbags. Standard safety equipment includes front side-mounted airbags, front thorax airbags, front head-curtain airbags, daytime running lights, and Mercedes’ Crosswind-Assist technology, which uses automatic targeted braking at speeds over 50 mph to keep the slab-sided Sprinter in its lane on blustery days. An available Active Safety Plus package with Parktronic adds blind-spot alerts, lane-keeping assist, forward-collision warnings, auto high/low-beam headlights, and the Parktronic system, which employs front and rear sensors to assist with parking in cramped spaces.

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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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