Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 First Test: Are Vans Better Than Pickups?

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 First Test: Are Vans Better Than Pickups?


Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Full Overview

I really like a very good pickup, however vans such as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 have me satisfied that what Individuals really want is an effective full-size van and never one of many a whole lot of 1000’s of pickups our compatriots purchase annually. Whereas pickups have—for higher or worse—turn out to be faster, extra luxurious, and extra technologically superior, vans such because the third-generation 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 have remained laser-focused on one factor: work.

Sprinting to Work

I most likely alienated five out of every four pickup buyers with my earlier paragraph, however in the case of precise work, the one factor a pickup can actually do higher than a van is tow a heavier load; in the case of hauling, the van is king.

You will have the Sprinter to thank for that. A lot of you may remember the Dodge Sprinter of the early aughts. A substitute for the Dodge Ram Van, the Dodge Sprinter—basically little greater than a first-generation Mercedes-Benz Sprinter with a crosshair grille—launched Individuals to the wonders of a European-style van. In comparison with the pickup-based doghouse-style vans on American roads on the time (assume Ford Econoline/E-Collection, or the current Chevrolet Express, which coincidentally hasn’t modified a lot since its 1995 launch), the Sprinter was purpose-built from the bottom as much as be a van. It was out there as a cargo or passenger van with a number of lengths and roof heights (permitting individuals to face up straight inside), with slab sides and a stubby hood that hid a diesel engine beneath to maximise area and efficiency.

Sprinting Towards a New Technology of Van

There’s fairly actually a Sprinter variant for each conceivable objective—a cargo van, crew van (assume crew cab pickup with an enclosed mattress), chassis cab, and passenger van. Mercedes additionally provides two wheelbases (144 and 170 inches), three completely different lengths (234, 274, and 290 inches), and two completely different roof heights (common and excessive). There are additionally three engine choices (a gasoline, turbo 2.0-liter I-Four making 190 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque; a turbo-diesel 2.0-liter I-Four making 161 hp and 266 lb-ft; and a turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6 producing 190 hp and 324 lb-ft) and two transmission decisions (nine-speed auto for the gasser and seven-speed autos for the diesels). Rear-wheel drive is customary throughout the board, however the diesel V-6 mannequin provides each all-wheel and four-wheel drive choices.

We’ll skip diving deep into the number of weight courses Mercedes provides for the Sprinter, however there are 1500-, 2500-, 3500-, and 4500-series vans, with the power to tow as much as 7,500 kilos or to haul 6,636 kilos—the latter determine will make a Ford Tremendous Obligation pickup blush.

Our check unit was a four-wheel-drive 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 passenger van with a 144-inch-wheelbase mannequin and the excessive roof possibility. It may maintain as much as 12 passengers, and anybody simply shy of an NBA star should don’t have any bother standing up inside it. Why a 2019 mannequin? As a result of the likes of Amazon, FedEx, UPS, and others are shopping for Sprinters by the buckets, and this 2019 mannequin is all that Mercedes has in its fleet. Relaxation assured, little has modified concerning the Sprinter within the ensuing years. The approaching 2021 fashions get somewhat extra customary energetic security gear, however that is about it.

Options-wise, this check van was fairly bare-bones for a Sprinter. Its costliest possibility was the Low & Excessive Vary 4×4 bundle, a $7,800 additional on our 2019 mannequin 12 months tester, and the Driver Comfort pack ($1,210) that features options akin to blind-spot monitoring and a multi-function steering wheel.

That is not even half the tech Mercedes provides within the Sprinter. Adaptive cruise management, lane-keep help, and even the model’s MBUX infotainment system, which works with a 10.4-inch touchscreen, are all out there. And, though the cabin won’t ever be as luxurious as one thing akin to a GLE or GLS, its match, end, and supplies high quality easily matches that of models like the GLB.

Simple Rider

You would not assume so given its dimension, however shockingly this huge Benz drives fairly effectively. Engineered primarily for slim European roads, the 2019 Sprinter van drives far smaller and, effectively, sportier than its 234-inch size and 118-inch peak recommend.

“I wasn’t anticipating a lot, however I got here away impressed,” highway check editor Chris Walton mentioned. “Very communicative and exact steering, amazingly efficient and constant brakes … enjoyable in its personal method.”

The Sprinter’s slow-steering rack is each low-effort and correct, permitting you to confidently place the van on the highway, and the van’s energy is fairly good, too. The carryover turbo-diesel V-6 is a hair laggy off the road, however the turbo comes on shortly simply north of 1,000 rpm, offering a robust surge of torque that solely begins to peter out round 5,000 rpm—simply because the engine hits redline. Uncharacteristically for a diesel, the Sprinter’s V-6 tends to rev shortly, and it reveals itself to be lots potent even when the van is loaded with cargo.

The Sprinter’s new transmission has rather a lot to do with that. A welcome enchancment over the previous five-speed unit, the brand new seven-speed automated options brief gear ratios and upshifts shortly, serving to the van get off the road far faster than you’d count on. The brand new gearbox has an annoying tendency to upshift early on lengthy uphill grades, however it responds shortly to downshift requests, delivered through customary steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Quick Sprinter

On the check observe, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 accelerated from Zero to 60 mph in 11.6 seconds and on by means of the quarter mile in 18.Three seconds at 73.Zero mph. That is a stable enchancment on the last-generation Sprinter, the quickest of which (a rear-drive Sprinter 2500 passenger van with the diesel V-6) accelerated to 60 mph in 12.Four seconds and thru the quarter in 18.7 seconds at 71.eight mph. It is also a fair bit quicker than the recently discontinued Ford Transit diesel (12.5 seconds to 60 mph for a Transit 350 cargo van), however far slower than any Transit geared up with the elective twin-turbo 3.5-liter V-6. The final a type of we examined, a passenger van, hit 60 mph in 9.Four seconds with 10 passengers on board; with only a driver, its quickest run was a powerful 7.6 seconds.

Aided by its good brake really feel, the 2019 Sprinter 4×4’s finest 60-Zero mph panic cease measured 136 toes, whereas it lapped our figure-eight course in 34.2 seconds averaging 0.41 g.

4-Wheel-Drive Sprinter

Though we did not have the chance to take this specific Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 van off-roading, the van’s four-wheel-drive setup is mechanically similar to the system used on the previous-generation Sprinter 4×4—which could be a shockingly capable off-roader when geared up with all-terrain tires (and offered you select your path fastidiously to mitigate its middling breakover angle). Just like the previous Sprinter 4×4, the brand new one will get a suspension elevate and an all-wheel-drive system that is engaged through a small black chiclet of a button with hieroglyphics, situated close to the driving force’s proper knee.

Tapping the button activates somewhat purple mild, signifying all-wheel drive is engaged (with a 35:65 entrance and rear torque break up). Choosing the aforementioned low-range bundle nets the Sprinter 4×4 a correct four-wheel-drive system, with a two-speed switch case and a low-range that is engaged through one other chiclet button (and a 50:50 torque break up). Unlike a G-Wagen, no locking differentials can be found on the Sprinter 4×4. All diff “locking” comes through a brake-based system tied into the van’s digital stability- and traction-control programs.

Sprinting to the Financial institution

The most affordable 2021 Sprinter is the $38,000 1500 cargo van geared up with the gasoline 2.0-liter engine, 144-inch wheelbase, and customary roof. Sprinter 2500 crew vans (the candy spot for people- and cargo-hauling) with the identical engine, wheelbase, and roof possibility begin at $43,020. Sprinter 1500 passenger vans (once more, with the identical engine, wheelbase, and roof choices) begin at $42,290.

The turbo-diesel V-6 is a $6,125 possibility on the passenger van for the 2020 mannequin 12 months (bumping the Sprinter up a weight class from a 1500 to 2500), and all-wheel drive is $7,975.  Our frills-free 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 4×4 with the excessive roof and 144-inch wheelbase carried an as-tested value of $61,333.

A Van Price Sprinting For?

The Sprinter 4×4 is costly, however with the typical new pickup (together with midsize, full-size, and heavy-duty) promoting for greater than $50,000, the Sprinter’s pricing is aggressive with greater, extra succesful vehicles. Whereas the Sprinter’s towing capability might by no means match that of full-size and heavy-duty pickups, the Sprinter 4×4’s distinctive mixture of utility, payload capability, and off-road functionality—to not point out its relative effectivity and maneuverability—make it an attractive selection for many who can assume exterior the field. Or, extra appropriately, inside it.

Looks good! More details?

2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 4×4
BASE PRICE $50,185
PRICE AS TESTED $61,333
VEHICLE LAYOUT Entrance-engine, 4WD, 12-pass, 4-door van
ENGINE 3.0L/190-hp/324-lb-ft turbo-diesel DOHC 24-valve V-6
TRANSMISSION 7-speed automated
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 6,190 lb (54/46%)
WHEELBASE 144.Zero in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 234.Zero x 80.Zero x 118.Zero in
0-60 MPH 11.6 sec
QUARTER MILE 18.Three sec @ 73.Zero mph
BRAKING, 60-Zero MPH 136 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.56 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 34.2 sec @ 0.41 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON Not rated



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