Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van review

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, January 6th, 2018

MY2015 Sprinter 4x4 Upfitted Utility Crew Van by Leggett and Platt


Special Contributor

Mercedes-Benz may be well known for its luxury cars and SUVs but
around the globe they have another segment in which they are an
industry leader – the commercial van segment – and Sprinter is the
star of the show(room).
Truth be told, I have driven a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van
recently….twice actually. The first time was around Thanksgiving
and it kept ringing in my head (an angel gets its wings) that I need
to reschedule this big beast for the winter holidays. After a little
fastening of the wreath around the Mercedes grille emblem and the
addition of a guy in a red suit and some little helpers we were ready
to put the Sprinter through its paces with holiday toy deliveries for
local charities.
When they first delivered this big red van I immediately flashed
back a decade to a time when we drove my wife’s son home from college
(whose campus colors just happen to be red). Back then this thing was
called the Dodge Sprinter as Mercedes-Benz was corporate partner with
the Chrysler Group. The Sprinter never left the Mercedes fleet as it
is a popular global product. Only thing is, according to some weird
import rules (known as the chicken tax, of all things) the Sprinter
arrives here in boxes and crates and is assembled on North American
soil. Things will change soon though as a new plant is being built in
South Carolina and there is an all-new Sprinter on the way to roll off
those assembly lines in the next year or two.
Our test model was the 2500 Crew Van 144 in 4WD running gear.
The 2500 signifies a three-quarter ton designation and the Crew Van
means it gets a second row side window port and starboard along with a
bench seat built for three. The 144 is the box length (170 is also
This thing can haul a lot of cargo. It is powered by the BlueTEC
3.0-liter V-6 turbo diesel engine that generates 188hp and 325 lb. ft.
torque. This engine is mated to a five-speed automatic gearbox that
sends power to the rear wheels or, with the push of a button, all four
A useful standard feature on the new Sprinter vans is the
Crosswind Assist technology that helps drivers maintain stability
under heavy crosswind conditions.
The 4×4 system does not add much weight to the vehicle but it
does add body lift in the range of 4.3 inches at the front.
This is one tall beast to climb in and out of.
Our Crew model adds a bench seat to the second row behind the
front captains chairs. Front seats are heated.
The rear windows get heavy tint to keep prying eyes off your
precious cargo.
Our tester also arrived with Bluetooth radio, with color
display, optional backup alarm, electric sliding step for the
passenger side sliding cargo door, electrically heated windshield,
chrome grille, leather steering wheel with multifunction controls,
rear spring vibration absorbers, 12V rear power outlet, navigation
system, headlamp cleaning system, light alloy wheels, trailer hitch
package, fog lamps, and rear view camera.
Some of the technology added to our Sprinter Crew van includes
parktronic park assist, light and rain sensor, blind spot assist,
collision prevention assist, lane keeping assist, and high beam
The engine runs fairly quiet (passes the drive-thru test) and
surprisingly smooth.
The torque arrives on demand when requested and this van will
pull steadily through the powerband, laden or empty. It is a large
vehicle with a tall roof so caution has to be taken (no parking
garages and watch for low-hanging tree branches over the roadway). It
maneuvers nicely and can park in most parking spaces with no problem
and the turning radius will amaze you.
Pricing for the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Crew Van 144 begins at
$41,495 and our tester arrived with a final window sticker of just
over 60 grand.
Fuel economy is not listed for a vehicle of this size and
accommodation but we saw around 10-16 mpg during our time behind the
Mercedes has already shown the next (third-gen) Sprinter will be
arriving with electrification, making it even more popular in key
markets around the globe.
Certainly not everyone is in the market for a vehicle of this
nature but everything from small businesses to families who like to go
camping may find the Sprinter from Mercedes-Benz to be the niche
vehicle for them.


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