Yep, that is a van, all proper. A tall one, too.
You understand how one thing turns into nearly invisible after you see it typically sufficient? That’s the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in a nutshell. Take a while to go searching, and you will discover a military of Sprinters crawling your native roadways, whether or not they’re delivering packages or carrying roofing supplies to a job web site. These workhorses are ubiquitous for a motive: They’re actually, actually good at what they do. And with a brand new era now within the wild, the Sprinter makes an excellent higher case for itself.
LikeVersatile and capableAbundant commonplace safetyExcellent infotainment
Don’t LikeMercedes-Benz pricingMBUX lacks a pair key upgrades
New look, similar capabilities Mercedes-Benz’s vans do not stray too removed from the remainder of the household by way of fashion. Most of that’s obvious within the entrance finish, which picks up slimmer headlights that extra intently resemble the peepers on different Mercs. My tester’s unpainted decrease physique panels truly look fairly boss in opposition to shiny black paint — and moreover, it is a work car, why paint the bumpers in the event that they’re simply going to get dinged up? The black metal wheels are fairly badass, too. If you’re feeling like chuckle, permit me to level out that this van’s Jet Black paint job truly provides $1,015 to the Sprinter’s backside line. That’s the Mercedes-Benz everyone knows and love. It would not matter for those who’re the CEO or the man driving the van — the automaker will nickel and dime you with out respect for socioeconomic strata. Then once more, that is no paupermobile: My 144-inch 3500XD Crew 4×4 mannequin begins at $51,885, however after choices, it is pushing $72,000.
Step up into the Sprinter — I’m a tall man, but I undoubtedly emitted Dad Groans climbing into and out of this factor — and also you’re met with a shocking mixture of luxury-car bits and correct work-ready trimmings. The flooring seems to be simple to dampen, and the complete dashboard is made from plastic that even GM may assume twice about utilizing in its passenger automobiles, however that is as a result of these items want to face up to lengthy days of abuse. Yet, the leatherette seats have the identical really feel as these on lower-end Mercs, and each the steering wheel and infotainment display are plucked straight from the passenger automobile phase, including a dose of fancy to an in any other case utilitarian getup. This particular steering wheel, by the best way, is a part of a $1,210 Driver Convenience Package that additionally provides heated electrical mirrors and blind-spot monitoring. Since that is the Crew mannequin, my tester comes with a second row of seats, however these could be unbolted to make room for extra… properly, no matter. Not like there is not room to spare behind that second row, although: Hauling a half-dozen bushes and topiaries again from the backyard middle leaves gobs of room to spare. Those who will actually put this van to work will respect the variety of tie-down spots on the partitions and flooring, however the upfitting group might be more than pleased to step in and add shelving or no matter else employees might have. Front-row storage is the tops, too, because of overhead pockets, cubbies atop the dashboard panel and twice as many cup holders as there are seats.
Drives like a van, rocks tech like a Mercedes My goal for my time with the Sprinter is easy: Hauling crops which might be too tall or unwieldy for a crossover. Bear in thoughts that is small potatoes on the work-vehicle spectrum, nevertheless it accomplishes my activity with ease.
The Sprinter is rarely absolutely laden throughout my time with it, as a result of I haven’t got 5,000 kilos of supplies simply chillin’ in my yard to max out the payload ranking, however even when empty, the van is not a nasty drive. Yes, it is loud, however that is as a result of there are not any inside panels behind the entrance row. Yes, it is bouncy, however that is as a result of my tester rocks the optionally available 4×4 setup with extra floor clearance and functionality. Yes, it is gradual, however that is as a result of its 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6, which is nice for 188 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, is extra involved about hauling literal tons of stuff. The steering is gentle and the brakes are assured. Visibility is great, because the Crew variant has glass on its sliding doorways and mirrors so you possibly can see nearly all the pieces. And for what you possibly can’t see, the Sprinter packs a roof-mounted backup digicam with spectacular decision, making precision parking (or parking usually, for those who’re not used to vans) a breeze. Blind-spot monitoring, a part of the aforementioned Convenience Package, is a savior for those who’re not used to judging car distance in a van, however having each straight and curved mirrors on both sides is a giant assist, too. Vans by no means really feel soft, per se, however the driver’s setup within the Sprinter is fairly darn good for a piece car.
There are another spectacular passenger-car baubles on the Sprinter, too. The Premium Package ($1,240) provides computerized emergency braking, lively lane-keep help, the MBUX infotainment system and wiper blades that incorporate fluid nozzles for simpler cleansing. Adding to that, the $2,530 Premium Plus Package enlarges the MBUX display whereas including embedded navigation and wi-fi system charging, along with enhancing the instrument cluster and putting in parking sensors. Speaking of tech, all of it works flawlessly. MBUX is likely one of the higher luxury-car telematics getups within the trade, and its responsiveness and natural-language voice recognition match proper in right here, even when you must pay a fairly penny for it. The 10.25-inch display fills the dashboard properly, and for those who do not go for wi-fi charging, there is a USB-C port for juicing functions. Weirdly, although, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are each absent from this iteration of MBUX, and the identical goes for the Wi-Fi hotspot. Last yr, I used to be fortunate sufficient to check the entire Sprinter’s new security tips in a closed atmosphere at a Mercedes-Benz Vans facility in Europe. A yr later, I’m completely happy to say that these programs work simply as properly in the true world. Adaptive cruise management is sweet and clean, whereas the brake-based lane-keeping help is not as harsh to interact as I bear in mind. Crosswind help is not as heavy-handed because it was in my head, both, which truly bought somewhat white-knuckle-y when my tester bought blasted with some heavy gusts. Since the Sprinter 3500XD Crew is a heavy-duty car, the EPA would not require fuel-economy estimates. Going off the van’s inner pc, although, I see freeway gas economic system between 13 and 18 miles per gallon, with that determine reducing within the metropolis. Throw a ton of instruments within the again, although, and people numbers will not keep that prime for lengthy. A cutting-edge infotainment system? In my cargo van?
Down to brass tacks Looking on the competitors, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has earned the three-pointed star on its grille. Its payload rankings are among the many highest within the phase (3,700 to 6,200 kilos, relying on trim), and it is the one van to supply 4-wheel drive with a low-range switch case, though the Ford Transit does make a much less sturdy AWD system accessible. The Sprinter’s solely weak spot is towing, the place its 5,000-lb most lags behind body-on-frame rivals just like the Nissan NV, which almost doubles that determine. And then there are the consolation and tech upgrades, which… properly, I believe it is apparent how Fords, Nissans and Chevrolets fare there. Yes, Chevrolet nonetheless builds the Express, and sure, it barely seems to be totally different than it did initially of the George W. Bush administration. If you are purchasing these vans, it is laborious to disclaim the attract of the Sprinter. It’s costly, however that cash is transformed into one of many hardest-working mules on terra firma, with the optionally available functionality to serve these properly off the overwhelmed path.