What is it?
A midlife wash and brush up for the big Merc contender sees a smart new front end, various nips and tucks in the cab and a lowering of the chassis by 30mm.
This means up to a 20 percent saving in fuel
There’s big news in areas you can’t see too. Thanks to the addition of an AdBlue tank, the upgraded Sprinter will be the only van in the UK to conform to Euro 6 emissions standards when it arrives in September. This means up to a 20 percent saving in fuel.
There is also an 85% reduction in NOx, although the AdBlue tank will have to be topped up every 6000km (3700 miles), which could prove a pain for users. (It’s also an additional cost that you can estimate at around 5 percent of your diesel bill. Set that against the saving.)
Also new are five systems which will help put the Sprinter firmly in the lead in terms of safety, although four of them will be paid-for options and as yet we don’t know how much they’ll cost.
As the Mercedes Sprinter isn’t exactly bargain-basement in the pricing department already, opting for all five new systems could give your Sprinter an eye-watering front-end price. Mind you, with all this safety kit you’d need to be a complete idiot to crash one so you have to weigh up the cost of buying it against the cost of crashing it.
Prices rise by an average of 1% but against that you can factor in the lower fuel costs.
Engines are 2.2-litre four cylinder diesels, pumping out 95bhp, 129bhp and 163bhp and the various technology upgrades mean that you can now travel up to 60,000km between services (37,000 miles in old money).
- It’s reckoned that one in every four collisions are rear-end shunts, so enter Collision Prevention Assist (CPA) which helps prevent your stylish new front end from connecting with the dirty rear end of someone else. Collision Prevention Assist (CPA) sees the van taking over when it detects that it is too close to the vehicle in front. CPA comprises the proximity warning function and adaptive Brake Assist. It warns the driver when the distance from the vehicle ahead is too small and, at a further escalation level, when there is an acute danger of collision. When the brakes are applied, they go on extra hard and the ESP system kicks in to help prevent a crash. Of course what the system doesn’t prevent is someone without CPA running into the back of you when you’ve avoided a collision ahead.
- Blindspot Assistance is a great boon too. Basically when someone is beside you in your blind area, a red triangle appears on the relevant mirror (left or right). On our recent test drive in Germany, the system flagged up two or three vehicles beside me which I just hadn’t spotted in the rear view mirror, thus saving me from the possibility of a nasty sideways swipe.
- The lower stance of the new Sprinter seems to give it a firmer feel on the road, which increases an already impressive ride and handling ability. Our test was in a 129bhp model mated to the new seven-speed auto box and this provided smooth, seamless changes, along with a very relaxing ride as the left leg can be tucked away resting. Anyone who has to unload and load on regular occasions will appreciate the lower rear lip too.
- It wasn’t the highest powered Sprinter on offer but there was never any shortage of oomph, even on the hills.
- The promise of lower running costs thanks to those fuel savings.
- Inside the cab is whisper quiet too, so if you are riding two up you won’t have to shout to make your co-pilot hear.
- Funnily enough the only one of the five new safety systems to come as standard is the one we didn’t rate – Crosswind Assist, which automatically helps to correct the van’s forward path when a strong sideways gust of wind affects it. The need for counter-steering is reduced, although the system only acts at speeds of 50mph and more. The problem is that if the driver tries to counter-steer, the system is overridden and doesn’t work. It’s a natural reaction to try and steer out of a problem like this so while we admire Merc for its efforts, this one doesn’t really work terribly well.
- It’s a similar story with Lane Keeping Assist, which beeps at you if it thinks you are straying into another lane on the motorway. Every time I moved the wheel, it seemed to come on and drove me crazy after an hour or two.
Business Vans verdict
Yes it’s expensive but the Sprinter is an awesome piece of kit. And don’t forget that when you come to sell it, unlike with some other contenders, you’ll have people queueing round the block to buy it as long as you haven’t abused it too much.
Innovative as these new safety systems are, we’d really only say CPA was a “must have”. The others depend on how bad a driver you are.
If you need them all, you should probably look for another job!
What you need to know
(Figures supplied are across the Sprinter range, not for a particular model.)
|On the road price (ex-VAT)||£28,825-£45,170|
|Load width (max)||1736mm|
|Load capacity||7.5-17 cubic metres|
|Towing capacity (braked/unbraked)||750-2000kg|
|Engine||2.2 litre 4-cyl turbodiesel|