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.

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