The Mercedes Sprinter is a full-size van, available as a transporter van, pickup, and minibus. It is popular amongst commercial clients requiring a good-size, quality vehicle for transporting goods or people. Some Sprinters are available as recreational vehicles though these are mostly in the minority. Sprinters are assembled in Stuttgart, Germany, and shipped here for sale. The Sprinter first came to market in 1995 and was followed with a second-generation model in 2006. It has been voted international van of the year several times.
The Sprinter, with its wide bus body, side-facing benches and tall side doors, is becoming popular as a shuttle bus for major corporations operating across large campuses. It is spacious, though perhaps lacks the good looks of its sibling rival, the Vito. The interior is well laid out and the driver’s position adjustable and comfortable – an important consideration for those who are investing in the Sprinter as a minibus or fleet vehicle that is likely to be manned for hours on end by the same driver. It is generous with the interior storage, more so in its second-generation incarnation which also offers more legroom than the first-generation model.
The cargo carrying area varies from model to model, with the smallest at 7.4m and the largest at a very impressive 17m .When bought new, the Sprinter can be set up to meet your exact requirements, so there is a wide range available on the used car market to choose from.
First-generation sprinters came with a choice of 2.3L diesel and 2.9L turbodiesel engines while second-generation models offer a choice of 4- and 6-cylinder diesel engines, a petrol option, and an LPG. The diesels give 95kW of power and 305Nm of torque and 120kW and 360Nm of torque. They are both available with standard Eco Gear 6-speed transmission or optional 5-speed manual alternative, plus stop-start technology, powered by the clutch, that automatically cuts the engine when the van is at a standstill, making for greater fuel economy, especially if a lot of your driving is done around town.
The NGT model, using natural gas or petrol, runs a 1.8L supercharged 4-cylinder engine giving 115kW of power and 240Nm of torque. It struggles a little to get going but as long as you keep the revs up, it does what it needs to do. On the flip side, it is, of course, considerably more environmentally friendly than some of its counterparts. The engine is coupled with a 5-speed automatic gearbox as standard and to date there is no manual alternative, though the automatic does a perfectly adequate job.
With a keen eye on safety, Mercedes introduced the Sprinter with driver and passenger airbags as standard, something that is not matched by all the competition in the transporter bracket. Other safety features include adaptive ESP (electronic stability programme), which measures the load of the vehicle and adjusts its engine and brakes to maximise contact between wheels and road. There is also a Parktronic programme available on some models to assist with tricky parking, a feature which is a real benefit in a vehicle of this size, particularly if it is one that you are not very used to manoeuvring.
The interior offers a wide range of finishes which vary from model to model and between the van’s two generations. Seating is available in fabric or leather; whichever you choose, they are designed to stand up to heavy use. Not limited to the ubiquitous white, the Sprinter is available in a wide range of Mercedes paint colours with standard or metallic finish.
The transporter van market tends to be dominated by the same few brands and models, and the Sprinter fares well within this niche. Competition comes from within Mercedes in the form of the Vito, which is rather better looking but less intuitively laid out, to some minds. If you are looking for a used Sprinter, you might also consider the Volkswagen Caravelle or a Toyota model, both of which offer enough power and space, although they rather lack the badge appeal of the Mercedes.