How did the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van originate?
The Sprinter has been in production in Europe since 1995 but made its U.S. debut in 2001, under the Freightliner division of Daimler Trucks. Following the merger that created DaimlerChrysler, Mercedes imported the vans and sold them under the Dodge Sprinter moniker beginning in 2003. Daimler sold Chrysler in 2007, and the Dodge Sprinter was discontinued two years later. Mercedes then created Daimler Vans and began marketing the Sprinter itself, which arrived to dealer lots in 2010.
How many Sprinters are sold annually?
Mercedes sold more than 26,000 of the large vans in 2016, a 2 percent increase over 2015, according to Autodata Corp. It’s the Sprinter’s peak volume since its U.S. debut in 2001. Many are owned by small businesses or corporate fleets for commercial use, but the Sprinter is also regularly repurposed by personal owners who are drawn to its versatility and appeal.
Are they fuel efficient?
Fuel efficiency is one of the top reasons Sprinter owners say they made their purchase. Both of the engines available are turbocharged diesels, which are traditionally more efficient than their gasoline counterparts. Since its 2001 debut, the Sprinter has come equipped with the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 engine paired to a five-speed automatic transmission.
For the 2015 model year, Mercedes introduced a more efficient 2.1-liter diesel four-cylinder engine attached to a seven-speed automatic transmission. When the four-cylinder debuted in 2014, Sprinter sales increased by 18 percent over 2013. However, neither configuration has an Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy rating, and Mercedes has not released efficiency estimates. Some fuel economy estimates have pegged the Sprinter at about 18 mpg.
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Are they capable?
A stock Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 has a payload capacity of 3,500 pounds and a maximum tow rating of 5,000 pounds. The dually, or six-wheel 3500 model, is capable of carrying 5,574 pounds and towing up to 7,500 pounds.
In 2015, Mercedes debuted the Sprinter 4×4 on models with the 3.0-liter V-6 engine. Armed with a transfer case and high and low gears, frequent off-roaders such as skiers and mountain bikers no longer had reservations about the Sprinter’s capability, said Christopher Schey, spokesman for Sprinter custom shop Outside Van. It attracted new clientele and many Sprinter owners opted to upgrade to the 4×4.
Are they reliable?
Service intervals are suggested every 20,000 miles, which is high for a van but helps keep ownership costs down. Some owners have complained that the diesel emissions control system can be finicky. Auto price forecasting firm ALG awarded the Sprinter its 2017 Residual Value Award given to vehicles expected to retain the highest percentage of their original price after three years.
Is the Sprinter here to stay?
Mercedes has further committed to the Sprinter in the U.S. market, in part because it sees continued growth in the large van segment.
“There is huge growth potential for the Sprinter,” said Mathias Geisen, general manager of marketing for Mercedes-Benz Vans. “As the pioneer for this segment in the U.S. market and also worldwide, we are pretty sure that we will play a major role with our Sprinter concepts here in the future.”