Big Merc is high on versatility
MERCEDES-BENZ’S SPRINTER VAN IS A VERSATILE VEHICLE, working as a freight-hauler, delivery vehicle, mobile workshop, minibus, and as the basis for motorhomes and specialised service vehicles.
It’s the vehicle of choice for the St John and other ambulance services. Hamilton truck body builder, Action Manufacturing has converted Sprinter cab/chassis into two-stretcher ambulances for St John at the average rate of one a week for the past several years.
It is now converting Sprinter vans into the new St John onestretcher ambulance configuration.
Mercedes NZ lists a choice of four van lengths, with van or cab/ chassis options, four-wheel drive available on some variants, and three engine outputs.
The van’s 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel delivers 95kw of maximum power and 305Nm of peak torque; it’s also available with 120kw and 360Nm. A 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel option delivers 140kw and 440Nm. So the big Merc has the power and torque to deliver strong performance.
The engines are mated to a six-speed manual transmission or a seven-speed automatic gearbox.
The Sprinter’s load area length varies up to about 4700mm, and payloads go up to 2510kg.
There are three weight variants up to five tonnes GVM, three van heights up to 2140mm and three body lengths at 5.9 metres, 6.9 metres and 7.4 metres, with a 5.26-metre variant available.
The Sprinter has a low chassis, which improves handling and reduces fuel consumption – there’s less drag through the air – as well as making loading easier.
In line with Mercedes’ philosophy, the Sprinter is packed with standard and optional safety kit.
The Sprinter gets Crosswind Assist – which detects sudden side gusts, and uses one-sided brake intervention to keep the van on track at speeds higher than 80km/h.
The Sprinter also automatically wipes water film from the brake discs when it’s raining, has headlight and rain sensors, daylight driving lights, auto headlights, and Electronic Brake Pre-fill.
It also has ABS anti-lock brakes and Adaptive ESP electronic stability control with a load-adaptive component which helps determine the gross vehicle weight to support the ESP function depending on vehicle load.
There’s an optional added-cost driving assistance package which includes Blind Spot Assist, which alerts the driver if there’s something in the blind spot and sounds an alert if the driver tries to change lanes.
Also available are Headlight Assist and Lane Keeping Assist, the latter alerting the driver if the Sprinter drifts out of lane at speeds above 60km/h.
And there’s Collision Prevention Assist designed to reduce city-speed fender bender accidents. It’s increasingly common in passenger vehicles, and issues a warning if the gap to the vehicle ahead gets too short.
If the driver doesn’t brake or swerve and the front-mounted radar thinks an impact is imminent, the system will charge the brakes, and boost brake pressure to reduce the force of the impact.
Inside, the Sprinter features include plenty of storage. There are trays above the windscreen that can carry 16kg of documents, and a lidded cabin stowage compartment that’ll swallow a clipboard and laptop computer.
Last year, 827 Sprinters were registered in New Zealand, and more than half of that total – 485 – were motorhomes.
In the first four months of this year 149 were registered, 67 of them motorhomes.