Mercedes are approaching the 20th anniversary of their much-coveted Sprinter van lines. Since 1995, the Sprinter has made such an impression, the multi-use chassis used in vans, minibuses and pickup trucks has also been sold under the Dodge, VW and Freightliner marques.
The front engine, RWD layout is available as the Sprinter Panel Van, the Sprinter Traveliner minibus, the Sprinter Dropside pick-up and the multi-purpose Sprinter Chassis Cab, making it a truly great marketable vehicle fit for many workplace sectors.
Mercedes are the marque that evokes adjectives such as quality, luxury and reliability, and whether you are buying brand new or are looking for a used examples on websites such as Anchor Vans, you’ll always find Germany efficiency in the three-pointed star.
The Sprinter’s power comes from either a four-cylinder 2.2-L or a 3.0-L V6, the former delivering 95-bhp, 130-bhp or 163-bhp, while the larger V6 manages 190-bhp. Keeping up with the ever-evolving hybrid technology, the Sprinter offers an eco 156-bhp bi-fuel option, the engine powered by compressed natural gasses and fuel. The power is transferred to the rear wheels on all models via a six-speed manual gearbox, although there is Mercedes’ fully automatic 7GTronic seven-speed box available, very similar to the transmissions found in their cars – as from 2013, Mercedes offer a AWD system on all but the smallest of their fleet.
Inside the cabin you wouldn’t think you were in a workhorse vehicle; the Sprinter’s interior consists of quality materials and nice understated chrome accents, everything finished in tones of grey soft plastics. The driving position is comfortable thanks to its adjustable steering wheel and spacious surrounding. The seats are as comfortable as you would expect in a vehicle built by Mercedes – they are supportive but soft enough to be considered more of a luxury. The spacious cabin houses a considerable amount of storage and overhead shelves, including an excellent lockable compartment. Even the small things are considered with the installation of that grippy rubber mat material to all of the trays and shelves – everything is done to ensure a rattle-free and comfortable journey.
Mercedes have been praised for their innovative safety features, and coming from the company that builds and designs the iconic S-class, a car that’s spearheaded the industry in both safety and gadgets, the Sprinter is of no exception. Some of these new features include a Blind Spot Assist function, used when changing lanes or to alert the driver when another vehicle is undertaking – a red light illuminates on the activated wing mirror when something has entered the Sprinter’s blind spot.
The running costs vary, but if you take the Sprinter 316 2.2-L CDI Bluetec 7-G auto, you’ll manage a respectable 36.2-mpg with service intervals scheduled every 37,500 miles. These encouraging figures also mean its nearest and key rival is the legendary and award-winning Ford Transit, a van that’s been around since the beginning of time.
This is an article featuring the Sprinter fleet, but I’ll end on a smaller note for those who are perhaps looking for a van of the same quality and prestige but on a smaller scale.
At the other end of the van spectrum is Mercedes’ Citan. Since 2012, the compact yet spacious Citan has provided people with a vehicle for delivery/transit that feels like driving a small car. Like the Sprinter, the Citan comes in various body styles: Panel Van, Dualiner and Traveliner and the Panel Van.
The engines available are a 75-bhp option, a 90-bhp or the 110-bhp option. There’s also a beefier 114-bhp petrol engine for the Citan panel van. Since 2013, Mercedes have introduced a 110-bhp and 114-bhp option, ensuring all levels of transit are catered for.
So as you can see, big or small, tall or short, high or low, Mercedes can tailor make the perfect van.