Sprinter defeats its arch rivals
Mercedes-Benz has eased a huge cargo headache for van drivers, writes GRAHAMSMITH
THOSE who transport cargo in vans know the pain of trying to fit a pallet between rear wheel arches. So they will no doubt appreciate the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter equipped with super single rear wheels and tyres, which clears the way for a pallet to slide easily between the arches.
Before the arrival of the new Sprinter, vans required to carry cargo pallets had to have their wheel arches modified, or a false floor fitted.
Each of those modifications requires compromise. Modifying the wheel arches is expensive, and a false floor increases the loading height considerably and reduces cargo space.
So the super single option on the 2008 Sprinter makes sense.
The width between the wheel arches is increased from 980mm to 1228mm, enough to comfortably accept a standard-sized pallet, which can be loaded through the rear doors.
Refrigerated goods, freight and mobile workshop businesses can best take advantage of the Sprinter’s 4.5-tonne GVM.
When the super single rear wheels are called for, the Sprinter is fitted with large 285/65/16 rear tyres in place of the standard dual 195/75s.
To overcome the problem of one spare tyre for different-sized front and rear tyres, MercedesBenz has locally developed an adaptor that enables the spare to be used either front or rear.
Most European operators who use the super single rear tyres dump the spare wheel and carry a can of tyre repairer instead. But it was thought Australian operators wouldn’t accept that as a solution, hence the unique adaptor.
The super single tyres are available on the Sprinter 415 mid and long wheelbase vans, and the 418 long wheelbase model.
Sprinter customers can also have power side doors. Closing Door Assist latches the sliding side door automatically.
Buyers can also have full automatic closing, which means the doors close at the press of a button on the dash, B-pillar or key fob. Drivers who always have their hands full can have keyless remote locking and unlocking. Proximity sensors do it all, signalling the door to open or close when the driver approaches or leaves the van.
All Sprinters now have Speedtronic cruise control and speed limiter as standard equipment.
The cruise speed can be set using a stalk on the steering column, and the limiter can also be set so you won’t exceed the speed limit.
Along with these enhancements, a new short wheelbase model has joined the Sprinter range.
The 311 CDI short wheelbase van is powered by a 2.2-litre fourcylinder turbo diesel engine producing 80kW at 3800 revs and 280Nm at 1600-2500 revs.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, but an optional fivespeed automatic is available. The wheelbase is 3250mm, the load volume 7.5cu m and the payload 1605kg.
Wide receiver: the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter’s super single rear tyres let a pallet slide between the inside arches.