If you need to carry large items often, this vehicle is for you. Vans are far more practical than pickup trucks, but people think a pickup is cool looking and a van is not. Therefore, they buy millions more pickups than vans every year. A vehicle is there to help you do your job better, and nothing does that better than the Sprinter van. We got to spend some time with a tall Sprinter and we loved every minute of it.

Our van was the 170 inch wheelbase 2500 version. It has a maximum payload of around 3,700 pounds. If you need more carrying capability, there are heavier duty versions that can carry as much as 6,300 pounds. That is an impressive number.

For comparison, a Ford F150 can carry as much as 2,200 pounds, while an F250 can do 4,300 pounds and an F350 does 4,600 pounds. The big difference between a pickup and the Sprinter is in towing capacity. An F150 can tow more than 10,000 pounds and F250 and F350 trucks can double that number. The Sprinter’s maximum towing rating is 7,500 pounds. More on that later.

Our Sprinter was equipped with the V6 turbodiesel engine, which was awesome. It is only a 3.0-liter V6 and puts out 188 hp and 325 pound-feet of torque. It is mated to an excellent seven-speed automatic transmission that is smooth and quick to shift. The ratios are well chosen and fit the purpose of the Sprinter. The Sprinter is not really much of a “sprinter,” so if you tried to measure 0-60 mph, it will be disappointing. Top speed is limited to 90 mph, which is fine because you don’t want to be going much faster than that anyway.

The beauty of the engine is how effortlessly it gets the job done. The engine really makes you feel comfortable and does its job with no fuss. It is a great cruiser, but the best part is fuel economy. During freeway driving, we easily got 25 mpg, which is unbelievable considering the size of this vehicle.

Our Sprinter had the towing package and was listed at 5,000 pounds maximum. We towed a 5,000 pound trailer and the Sprinter handled it with ease. It felt like we could tow 10,000 pounds and the Sprinter would manage just fine. Towing numbers are dictated by two major factors, engine and chassis. Sometimes you have a vehicle with tons of power but the chassis just is not heavy duty enough to manage a big load. As an example, a Mercedes AMG G63 SUV has 577 horsepower, plenty of power to tow anything up the steepest hill, but it is only rated for 7,000 pounds of towing.

Our Sprinter has a solid chassis, but with 188 hp, you would not be able to tow a huge trailer uphill. Now, we were on fairly flat terrain, which made it easy, but if you had to climb long hills, maybe the story would be different. Regardless, the Sprinter is a great towing machine that gets the job done, and in our short test produced about 18 mpg while towing, which was spectacular. Everyone was sold on the Sprinter.

Everyone loved the Sprinter for how easy it made things. The biggest version can carry 533 cubic feet of cargo and when it is not filled with cargo, it can become a comfortable bedroom. No wonder there are so many people using Sprinters for camping. Once we unloaded our Sprinter at our destination, we spent the night inside in comfort. You can even get a Sprinter with four-wheel drive, which is great if you need to reach those remote camping sites.

The Sprinter is a modern vehicle that has many of the features that are common in higher-end cars today. Standard features include multi-function steering wheel, electric mirrors, cruise control, keyless start, USB-C ports, shift paddles and more. Optional features include things like power seats, power side door, heated seats, multimedia system, navigation and more.

Mercedes-Benz is serious about safety, and you get all kinds of safety programs, such as active cruise control, blind-spot assist, lane-keeping assist, park assist, traffic sign assist, 360 degree camera, crosswind assist, attention assist, etc. Of course, most of these functions are unnecessary if you are a good driver who pays attention.

The 360-degree camera, though, is one feature that we would not go without. It is a big vehicle and it is hard to see everything around you so the 360 camera really helps. The Sprinter is full of features and feels terrific when you are driving it. Compared to old American vans, it feels tight and nimble. Even compared to a modern full-size pickup truck, it feels lighter and more maneuverable.

If you want a Sprinter in your driveway, you would have to pull out $36,355 for a base cargo gasoline version. A diesel cargo starts out at $40,735. Our version’s base price was $48,110 and we enjoyed a host of options that brought up the price to $60,000. The options list on our van was long and if we were buying one, we would not select many of those options.

For example, our van had option B25 Electric Parking Brake for $276 which was useless. We would be happier with a conventional parking brake. It is simpler, cheaper and much faster acting than the electric version. Either way you outfit yours, the beauty of the Sprinter is that it can be configured to your needs, and it is such a well-built machine that it will become your business partner.

You see so many used diesel models go over 300,000 miles and that speaks volumes about the quality and reliability of the Sprinter van.

Specifications

Engine: 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbodiesel
Horsepower: 188 @ NA rpm
Torque: 325 pound-feet @ NA rpm
Front Suspension: McPherson strut
Rear Suspension: Live axle with leaf springs
Transmission: 7-speed automatic
Axle Ratio: NA
Curb Weight: 5,313 – 5,379 lbs.
Base MSRP: $36,355
Image courtesy of Mercedes-Benz

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