WITH a new look, more safety features and a new engine for the Canadian and U.S. markets, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van is now better than ever. First launched on the European market in 1995, the Sprinter has steadily been redefined and improved. Business owners like it for its low operating costs and excellent resale, whilst drivers enjoy the virtues of its modern design, carlike performance, and comfort.
For 2012 the Sprinter has a noticeable facelift with LED driving lights incorporated into the headlight clusters, a chassis that’s now 30 mm lower and new safety features on board, such as a pre-collision system as well as blind-spot and lane-keeping assist technology comfort and convenience options include options such as a navigation system, 5.8-inch TFT screen and a backup camera, the Sprinter is probably the best work van money can buy.
In the recent Battle of the Vans Event held in Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, and hosted by Mercedes-Benz Surrey, the Sprinter outperformed its Dodge, Ford GM and Nissan competition in a number of trials and competitions. At the center of the event was a fully comprehensive Comparison Test Drive Event, in which 16 participants ranging from fleet managers, procurement specialists to automotive journalists got their chance to test the new Ford Transit, the Ram ProMaster, and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter back to back.
The event was divided into a few sections beginning with a slalom test and an emergency ABS brake test from 60-0 in the closed course. Then the participants had the opportunity to take the vans onto the public road for a road test. All participants enjoyed being driver and passenger on all three vans, switching every 10 minutes. Lastly, all participants were given a measuring tape to examine each van according to any category they feel important to them personally.
At the end of the afternoon, all the participants had the opportunity to directly compare the efficiency, safety, technology, comfort, and overall driving experience of each van. All participants agreed unanimously the Sprinter rated the highest in every category. Most importantly, the Sprinter recorded an actual 10L/100km fuel economy during the road tests, while the other two manufactures’ vans recorded 19L/100km under the identical conditions. The results clearly show why Mercedes-Benz offers the best solution for their business’ needs – the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
Available in a range of configurations and roof heights, the Sprinter can be had in two short-wheelbase cargo vans, five long (4.3-metre) cargo vans and a pair of passenger models — all powered by Mercedes’ 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 BlueTEC diesel. A new four-cylinder 2.1L turbodiesel with 161 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque is also on the cards, while a six-speed manual is offered in Europe; in Canada, however, the only available gearbox is a seven-speed automatic.
The Sprinter is a true work truck with a readily accessible cargo area accessed either through the side (best-in-class 182 x 130 centimetres) manual sliding side door or the twin swinging rear doors. The back doors are hinged at the edge of the truck, so the accessible area is almost as wide as the cargo area. The height of the cargo van is also versatile with three roof heights offered enabling drivers and workers to walk around inside the cargo area, which has a total volume of nine to 17 cubic metres, depending on the van’s configuration (two wheelbases and three lengths are offered). The cargo van can also be fitted as a crew cab, with a second-row bench, boosting seating capacity to five. Configured as a passenger model, the Sprinter will accommodate up to a dozen people.
Mercedes’ 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 BlueTEC diesel is shared with the ML, GL and R-Class SUVs and produces 188 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, which is more than adequate.The 3.0L diesel engine’s fuel consumption is listed at 13.8 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 9.4 on the highway. These engines are impressively smooth and quiet, while its clean-diesel technology lessens impact on the environment.
Safety has been much increased on the Sprinter with aids such as blind-spot detection and a lane departure warning system. The Collision Prevent Assist system meanwhile monitors the road ahead and warns the driver via a visual and sounds alert of potential collisions. When the driver does hit the brake it automatically increases the brake pressure in an attempt to prevent a potential rear-end collision
On the road, the Sprinter is so easy to drive and very manoeuvrable for such a large vehicle. The seats are very comfortable and the high driving position and excellent visibility make it a breeze to drive.
The hefty starting price is justified in my opinion as the Sprinter benefits from stronger resale value, fewer scheduled service stops and much better fuel economy. Not only will you impress and probably obtain more customers you pull up in a 2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, but total cost of ownership actually lower than its competitors in the long run.
With a best in class maintenance interval of 25,000 kilometers, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter depreciates at a much lower rate than that of its competition, commanding a higher resale value than any commercial vehicle in its class. That’s something every business person values.
Potential buyers will also be glad to know, according to Mercedes Benz, the Sprinter has the lowest fuel consumption of any vehicle in its class. The V6 diesel engine with BlueTEC clean diesel technology saves up to 39% when compared with competitors’ gasoline-powered vehicles say Mercedes. With fuel costs averaging 14 cents/km, it is claimed the Sprinter can reduce fuel costs by up to $4,300 per 50,000 km, a remarkable savings of $21,500 over 5 years. There is no doubt the Mercedes Benz Sprinter makes the most sense. The results from the Battle of the Vans Event clearly show why Mercedes-Benz Surrey offers the best solution for their business’ needs – the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
2014 Mercedes Benz Sprinter – base priced from $39,900 (With limited time special offers.)
BY VEENO DEWAN