While some things in life may not be flashy, they are very necessary. Toilets, socks, any sort of ointment, and things like bleach and hydrogen peroxide are all items we don’t spend a lot of time talking about, or telling anecdotal quips about at parties, but in truth, when we need them, we really need them. They are practical solutions to fundamental issues we deal with on a day to day basis, and so it goes with certain types of automobiles. Sure, it’s much more fun to talk about the ZO6 you just put a down payment on, or to pull up in a new Maserati, but when it comes to business, and how you make that money, your decisions and focus should tend to gravitate to much more practical matters. The newest Mercedes Benz Sprinter isn’t a truck you’re going to rant and rave about, but when you sit back and admire everything it provides, you just might start telling people about it.
Somewhat surprisingly, MB graces the Sprinter with a gas engine. Specifically, a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 that makes a relatively unimpressive 188 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This option is presumably because MB wants to be able to offer the Sprinter at a very low entry price and this engine will allow for that. The low power is mitigated somewhat by a nine-speed automatic that allows for shorter initial gears to help the torque multiplication help the Sprinter become more of a … sprinter.
The second engine available will be the more expected 2.1-liter turbodiesel inline-4 that also makes a moderate 161 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. This engine is backed up with a seven-speed automatic which also serves as the transmission for the top end engine choice, the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6. This baby puts down 188 horsepower, but a serious 325 pound-feet of torque, which will get you haulin’ and haulin’ in no time. No electric version will be available in the States, but we have a feeling it is probably well on its way.
As with most Sprinters, there will be a variety of options available to customize a truck to your own personal tastes and needs. Two wheelbases, two body heights, passenger, cargo, and crew van configurations will all be optional, as well as just the forward cab with a barren chassis to facilitate all kinds of truck variations. GVWR will range from 8,550 pounds to 12,125 pounds, with a max payload of 6,000 pounds and a max towing capacity of 7,500 pounds.
The interior of the 2019 Sprinter has come a long way from days of yore. In place of the arcane setup from yesteryear, is an available 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment display along with a modernized steering wheel and gauge cluster that feels as though it has propelled the Sprinter a decade ahead in only a single model year. The MBUX (Mercedes Benz User Experience) corrals all the ancillary functions the driver needs to deal with like HVAC and cell phone integration, as well as voice command options as well. Oh and we couldn’t help but notice the multitude of USB ports all around the cabin. Perhaps the best way to keep your crew happy is to make sure they can text.
Out on the road, the big Sprinter feels surprisingly light on its feet. The suspension is marvelously tuned and while you won’t mistake it for an SLS AMG anytime soon, it does sound defeat our relatively low expectations for a work van. The steering is lackluster, to put it nicely, but then most any car or truck with an electro-mechanical steering rack isn’t going to feel a bit benign in the feedback department. All in all, however, the Sprinter allows for a very compliant and confidence-inspiring ride.
With a base price of around $34,000, the new Sprinter should be the go-to work van/truck for just about any type of business imaginable. It is comfortable, quiet, competent, and possesses a little bit of cache with that MB logo adorned on it, as compared to your average Nissan. It can handle everything from a payload of cinderblocks, to a landscaping crew, and even tow a jet ski if you’d like too. Mercedes Benz has created something of a Swiss Army knife of work vans with the Sprinter, and it only stands to add more features as time goes on. So, while under most circumstances you wouldn’t go out of your way to talk up something quite so practical, you may not have to. When something is so practical that it solves the issues of modern life, it takes on a flash and sparkle all its own.