August 13, 2018
The brand new Mercedes Sprinter is here, with Mercedes vans claiming the van is the most connected van the world has ever seen. On the evidence it’s hard to disagree, Vansdirect reviews the new Mercedes Sprinter van!
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is an iconic large van renowned for quality, the third generation Sprinter is no different, evolving on its predecessor with the same levels of reliability and now with a host of advanced connectivity technology and features from the Mercedes car range have also moved across to the large van. In design terms, the new Sprinter Mk3 is an evolution of previous models, however for this model Mercedes vans have gone alone and ended their alliance with Volkswagen vans and the Crafter. As a result the new Sprinter features slender new headlights with LED bulbs on higher spec models, whereas blistered wheelarches and a more upright windscreen differentiates the new model.
Most significant changes have been made underneath the skin of the new Sprinter, the engine range stays the same with the 2.1-litre four cylinder engine with three different power outputs and a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine (the only large van to offer a V6 option), however the Sprinter is now available in front-wheel drive for the first time. FWD helps to lower the load floor by 80mm to make loading easier, whereas 3.5-tonne FWD models can carry an additional 50kg of payload over rear-wheel drive models. As with the previous model, the Mercedes Sprinter AWD is also available with four-wheel drive and a raised ride height adding some additional ability off-road. The Sprinter gets a six-speed manual transmission, whereas the rear-wheel drive model has the option of a 7Gtronic automatic transmission. The new FWD model gets a new nine-speed torque converter automatic to improve performance and efficiency, an all-electric Sprinter will join the range in 2019!
As always with the Sprinter, the new panel van is available in a number of sizes, with four wheelbases and six body styles. FWD models come in two wheelbases (3,259mm or 3,924mm) and is available as a panel van, chassis cab or tractor head models, with the tractor head designed for camper van conversions. RWD models are available with three wheelbases, panel van, chassis cab, crew van and passenger carrying Tourer bodies, there’s also a double-wheel option for loads up to 5.5 tonnes. All models have been built for carrying heavy loads, with a load area featuring a large, flat plastic trimmed floor, whilst ply-lining is standard across the range. Box wheelarches have been strengthened and can carry as much weight as the load floor itself, whereas standard and high-roof variants are available.
The Mercedes Sprinter now gets electronic power steering adding to the car-like feel in the cabin, making the Sprinter more responsive even when fully loaded, the power steering also means that the new van can make use of the latest safety systems from the Mercedes car range. Distronic adaptive cruise control is available and is capable of bring the Mercedes Sprinter to a complete stop before driving off again, coping with congested driving. There’s also the availability of lane keep assist, while the active system has the ability of automatically braking the van if it senses it is drifting across white lines.
The new Sprinter has an increased level fuel efficiency with the introduction of front-wheel drive, at launch there’s no BlueEfficiency model, however the nature of the FWD system means improved fuel economy over the most efficient predecessor models. The new nine-speed 9Gtronic automatic transmission is designed to improve efficiency whilst also making driving easier, this gearbox is exclusive to FWD models. The more compact gearbox of FWD Sprinters also saves weight and hence boosts payload, whilst the model has generally been trimmed down in terms of weight.
The diesel engines of the Sprinter may be unchanged from its predecessor, however they do have a more refined feel. When driving the new Sprinter, you immediately notice how light the steering feels, this can be attributed to the speed-sensitive power steering that adjusts its assistance depending on how fast you are travelling. Assistance is higher at lower speeds, making it easier to park and complete three point turns, you have the ability to turn the wheel with just a couple of fingers should you wish. The Sprinter has a suspension built with load carrying in mind, however the rear axle doesn’t compromise interior comfort in the cab.
We’ve highlighted that the new Mercedes Sprinter has received an updated cabin with a number of features from the Mercedes car range and this is a serious highlight of the Sprinter Mk3, with more luxury in the cabin than ever before. Increased levels of sound proofing around the cabin also add to the premium feel, this includes a flock finish for roof lining and bulkhead behind the seats, reducing noise. The dash is excellently laid out, whereas higher spec models get soft-touch plastics throughout the cabin to enhance comfort, whilst the Sprinter is the second new Mercedes vehicle (after the A-Class) to get the latest MBUX 10.25-inch infotainment system. The system comes with a touchscreen, can be controlled via the multifunction steering wheel or instant voice control. Just be careful not the say the word ‘Mercedes’ in an ordinary sentence as it will activate the voice control system!
Another highlight of the new Sprinter is the collaboration with Mercedes PRO fleet management software. Every Sprinter will come with a communication module meaning it can be connected to a fleet management system, which can be tailored to the needs of each user, from a sole trader to a fleet manager. There will be eight different Mercedes PRO systems available to cater for assorted business requirements, with the aim of simplifying fleet management and communication between drivers and managers.
The new Mercedes Sprinter moves the goalposts in the large van market, offering a more intelligent and connected van than ever before and you can order yours from Vansdirect today! With cheap van finance options including van leasing and van contract hire available from £269pm. Interested? Get the ball rolling by simply filling in a contact form or calling us on 0800 169 69 95, we also offer cars!