Being sold under the Dodge brand for the last 7 years hasn't hurt the Mercedes Sprinter. After the split between Mercedes and Chrysler, the Sprinter returns to its Mercedes badging. They will still be assembled in the US as Mercedes South Carolina plant.
While the passenger model is often found shuttling people around airports, the sprinter is at heart a cargo van. There are several factors that will set this van apart from the Ford and Chevy competition. It boasts the lowest floor height in its segment and has an extra tall version available. In that form, a person standing 6 foot 3 inches can still walk around in the cargo area. The competition doesn't allow for a full sized human to walk around within the cargo area. Despite the fact that it can hold over twice the cargo of its Chevy counterpart, it remains nimble and easy to drive due to its better designed chassis. It fuel economy is greater than that of the competition as well, due mostly to the use of Mercedes' 3.0 Liter Blue TEC diesel V-6, rather than a small gas 8 which is favored by other car makers.
Engines: 3.0L V-6
Transmissions: 5-speed automatic
For 2011 the Sprinter now wears the three-pointed Mercedes-Benz star on its grille -- unless, of course, it's sold as a Freightliner (which is part of the Mercedes family). The 2500 receives a restyled instrument cluster. Otherwise, everything remains the same, including the excellent turbodiesel and smooth transmission. On the commercial side, a MiniBus will be available in early 2011 with room for up to 16 people.
In the world of vans, having a vehicle that isn't shaped like a brick makes you a standout. Ever since the Sprinter first arrived here, it looked different from other vans; that and its high roof set it apart.
Those who aren't sure about the van's looks may be won over by the interior. Offering as much as 187.2 cubic-feet of cargo space in a vehicle with up to 76.4 inches of standing room is pretty impressive.
Performance & Handling
At 188 horses, the Sprinter doesn't have the same levels of horsepower as its rivals, and it struggles some on inclines. It does, however, have 325 pound-feet of torque. Ride is comfortable, and even though its handling is everything you'd expect from a van, its steering is excellent and it isn't until you have to park that you remember just how big the Sprinter is.
Dual front airbags are standard; dual side and window-mounted airbags are optional. It's available with adaptive ESP, which includes ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, skid control, load adaptive control, understeering control, and rollover mitigation.
EPA Fuel Economy
- YOU'LL LIKE
- Lots of cargo/passenger space
- Fantastic engine, transmission
- Great fuel range
You Won't Like
- Goofy styling
- No short-wheelbase passenger van
- Height limits underground parking
Get past the looks and you'll love the van
If You Like This Vehicle
- Ford E-Series
- Chevrolet Express
- GMC Savana