Do you like comfort? Do you like utility? Do you like comfortable utility with ample room and packaging? Well feast your eyes upon the third-generation Sprinter van, now with a gasoline engine for us Americans and a lower starting price.
It took me a couple reads through all of Mercedes’ information upon the reveal to figure out the main details of this vehicle because, to me, it mostly looks identical to the Sprinter that came before it. The dimensions of the cargo area remain the same as the last gen, even.
The key difference, for us, is that while the last Sprinter was diesel-only, the new one also offers gas. The idea is to lower the starting price, as Trucks.com reports:
The current model starts at about $34,000, considerably higher than the Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster, vehicles that lead the Euro-style cargo van market in the U.S. Veit said the new gas engine Sprinters will sell for less than equivalent diesel versions. The price difference could be as much as $3,000 to $4,000, Sullivan said.
That should help Mercedes grab sales from the Transit, which was the only gasoline offering in the field, he said. Transit leads the segment with sales of 127,360 vans last year. Ram ProMaster was second at 40,483. Mercedes sold about 26,000 Sprinters in the U.S. last year.
Mercedes also highlights... even better doors? Per the company press release:
LED strips provide optimal lighting in the load compartment. The rear doors can now be opened even more easily all the way to the side walls.
I’ve used Sprinters before. The doors were fine. They opened. Now they’re gonna be more good? How good could these doors be? Are these doors going to blow my dang mind? Are they going to stretch the limits of what I believe is even possible? I expect they will.
Barrel-loading capacity seems top-notch as always.
Mercedes also says this new Sprinter will have more connectivity suites for fleet management and sensor systems for parking and things like that.
I have looked all over and have not been able to figure out if we’ll be getting the pickup version, but I’m guessing not.
Production is international thanks to the Chicken Tax, as Trucks.com explains:
Much of what will be sold in the U.S. will come out of a new factory Mercedes corporate parent Daimler is building in North Charleston, S.C. that opens this summer.
Sprinter vans are now built in Germany. However, due to an old tariff known as the chicken tax, Mercedes removes the drivetrain and other mechanical components from the strictly cargo versions before shipping them to Ladson, S.C., for reassembly. Otherwise, the cargo vans would be slapped with the 25 percent tariff.
Also, Mercedes will start offering electrified Sprinters in late 2018 and into 2019 with a full electric model, the eVito and then the eSprinter. Neat!
What’s not clear yet is whether or not the Sprinter remains car-like to drive, easy and comfortable and usable and enjoyable like the last one was. I would imagine it is.