Edmunds calls the Mercedes Sprinter Van “one of the best large vans that money can buy. It has acres of cargo and/or passenger space, secure handling, clear visibility and plenty of customization options.”
The 2500-series 170” wheelbase cargo van that The Savvy Drivers were provided for a test drive featured a number of all-new options–the diesel V6 engine producing 190 hp and 324 lb-ft torque, a 9-speed transmission, all-wheel drive replacing the previous 4×4, a digital rearview mirror and 360-degree camera. While the auto marketing team assumed our audience of construction industry pros might need such a vehicle for transporting cargo to jobsites, the high-class and high-tech interior and driveability of the full-size van, along with a vast array of body styles and customization options got us thinking about the possibilities for an entirely different segment of our audience.
The crew version would add a second-row three-seat bench for five passenger seating and side-door windows, of course. Some members of this audience who would choose a van would go for the passenger van with three rows of rear seats and more windows. Mercedes offers two wheelbases (144 and 170 inches), three different lengths (234, 274, and 290 inches), and two different roof heights (regular and high). In its most capable configuration, the turbodiesel-powered Sprinter offers a 6,812-pound payload rating, comparable to a heavy-duty pickup. It can also two up to 7,500 pounds. The all-wheel-drive Sprinter is also highly rated for its off-roading ability to traverse up steep, muddy hills and such. The price tag with a few extra options on our tester was $59,555-not a lot more than the average new pickup price and that leaves plenty of room to “trick-out your ride.”
Our research about that notion of turning a cargo van into a luxury motor coach led us to UltimateToys.com. Its founder/developer was tired of the excessive cost and time that went into maintaining the Luxury Prevost bus and sought a more practical solution without the sacrifice of the luxury and function of his motorcoach. We also liked some of the ideas on MidwestAutomotiveDesigns.com. Sure enough, there is a growing market for Sprinter van conversions.
The all-electric version of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van may entice some more van purchasers. The eSprinter featuring a 113-kWh battery will arrive in the US in the second half of 2023 to rival to the Ford E-Transit. Full-size vans are not subject to EPA testing, but the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) rates its battery range at 248.5 miles on combined cycle and as much as 311 miles on the WLTP’s city cycle, besting the Ford’s E-Transit’s 68- or 75-kWh packs which are rated at 108 to 126 mile ranges, depending on configuration.