If you’re looking for information on a newer Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, we’ve published an updated review: 2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Review
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is the company’s full-size van range. And even though it starts out with a price that’s more mainstream than premium, there’s still plenty of quality, capability, engineering and equipment. For example, nothing else in this class has Crosswind Assist, a special feature of the stability-control system that can brake individual wheels to prevent the van from being blown off course. We’ve tried it. It works.
The Sprinter also has a choice of strong diesel engines. Bear in mind that the Europeans (especially the Germans) have spent decades refining their diesel technology. An optional all-wheel-drive system comes with a raised off-road suspension and optional low-range gearing. Independent agencies have given the Sprinter awards for best fleet value and named it as having the best re-sale value in its class.
Another Sprinter strength is its ability for customization. According to Mercedes-Benz, there are more than 80 preferred upfitters in the United States with the company’s seal of approval, and 75 percent of Sprinters are delivered with modifications from these suppliers.
Mercedes-Benz excels at far more than making cars and crossovers.
What’s New for 2017?
Lower-priced, lower-specced Worker models have been introduced for cargo and passenger versions alike See the 2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter models for sale near you
What We Like
Turbodiesel engines for superior fuel efficiency; three body styles with choices of lengths and heights; optional all-wheel drive; precise handling for a big van
What We Don’t
Not a great amount of standard equipment
The Sprinter is offered with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. The latter can come with a raised suspension and low-range gearing with push-button activation.
A 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 developing 188 hp and 325 lb-ft is optional and is linked to a 5-speed automatic transmission. The V6 is the only engine that can be paired with all-wheel drive.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not provide fuel-economy estimates for large vans.
Standard Features & Options
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is offered in Cargo, Crew and Passenger van body styles. There are also two wheelbase lengths (144 inches and 170 inches), three roof heights (low: 65 inches, high: 78.2 inches and super high: 84.3 inches; only the cargo van is available with the super-high roof, though) and two payload strengths (standard 2500 or heavy-duty 3500).
The cargo van only has two seats in front. The crew van includes second-row seating. The passenger van has four rows of seating with room for 12.
Behind the front row, the Sprinter is exceptionally versatile, with up to 586.1 cu ft. of storage in the cargo van. The crew van offers 367.5 cu ft. The 4-row passenger version maxes out at a still considerable 190.3 cu ft.
A cargo van in 2500 form can carry a payload of up to 3,513 pounds and can tow up to 5,000 lbs. In 3500 form, we’re looking at a maximum payload of 5,585 lbs and a towing capacity of 7,500 lbs.
The Worker Cargo ($33,490) comes only in white and has 16-in steel wheels, cabin partition preparation, metal floor, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, AM/FM radio with four speakers, USB port, auxiliary audio input, crosswind assist, hill-start assist, and a passenger-side sliding door. It has the 2.1-liter diesel engine, but the 3.0-liter V6 diesel is an option. It’s also available in both wheelbase lengths and with the standard roof or a high roof.
The Worker Passenger ($TBA) comes in white or black, features 4-row seating (including a 4-person bench in the back row) with additional windows and rear air conditioning controls. The 2.1-liter diesel is the sole engine and this version is only available with the 144-in wheelbase.
Standard features on the 2500 Cargo ($37,490) include a wooden loadspace floor covering, air conditioning, tilt/telescope steering wheel, locking glove box 5.8-in color infotainment display, SD card slot and a 5-speaker audio system with an auxiliary input.
The Crew ($40,165) has a second row of seating with extra side windows to go with it, and is available with a standard or a high roof. The 3500 van ($42,440) is available with standard, high roof or super-high roof. Both the 2500 and 3500 offer the option of all-wheel drive (not the Worker version). The regular Passenger van ($41,740) has an upgraded 13-speaker audio system. These non-Worker versions offer more flexibility when choosing options.
Options (of which there are many) include parking sensors, automated parking feature, xenon headlights, LED running lights, fog lights, headlight washers, roof rails, driver’s side sliding rear door, heated windshield, rain-sensing wipers, chrome grille, 16-in alloy wheels, cruise control, rear cabin heater, rearview camera, navigation, luxury front seats with extra adjustments and front-seat heaters.
The Sprinter has anti-lock disc brakes with automatic drying, brake assist, traction and stability control, roll-over mitigation, plus front airbags, front side airbags and side curtain airbags.
Optional electronic features include a radar-based collision-warning system, blind-spot monitoring, automatic high beams, and lane-keeping assist.
Behind the Wheel
Build quality is rock solid, with above-average materials. The standard front seats provide firm support, but consider the optional luxury seats if regular long trips are involved. The rear seating rows are more contoured than the norm and there’s adult-sized legroom even in the passenger van’s fourth row.
Although the austere dashboard layout lacks the usual Mercedes-Benz panache, it’s still attractive for a van. And the standard audio system includes a wide range of connectivity features.
The Sprinter is undeniably tall, but for all that height (and length), the driving experience is remarkably pleasant. The responsive steering carves a precise path, while the torque-rich diesel engines serve up decent thrust, even though acceleration is modest. Road and wind noise are low enough not to fatigue the driver, while the ride is firm but not harsh. The Sprinter is simply one of the best vans to drive.
Other Cars to Consider
2017 Ford Transit — Directly inspired by the Sprinter’s success, the Transit is the one Mercedes-Benz should be worried about. With comparable capabilities and similar styling, plus interesting engine options such as a turbodiesel 5-cylinder and a turbocharged 310-hp gasoline V6, this Ford is a must-drive.
2017 Nissan NV — Nissan’s entry offers less cargo space and only gasoline engines, but it’s value-priced and plenty powerful with the optional V8.
2017 Ram ProMaster — Although the ProMaster’s driving position takes some getting used to (you’ll need long arms), it matches up well with its huge interior and optional diesel V6.
Used Ford E-Series — Ford discontinued the venerable E-Series (formerly known as the Econoline) to make way for the Transit, but if you just want a cut-price workhorse, a used E-Series could do the trick.
Go for as many safety features as possible. Even the smallest version is still a big vehicle and outward vision isn’t always great. And think about spending the extra for the V6 engine, since it’s always good to have some muscle with something of this size. Find a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter for sale