"Sprinter-based motorhomes have taken the industry by storm" - Winnebago
The Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van has proven to be extremely popular with the RV camping crowd. Several motorhome manufacturers have jumped on the sprinter-wagon (forgive the pun), each cramming as many features as will fit inside. And with a voluminous interior to work with, these upfitted Sprinter vans are the most luxurious Class B motorhomes ever made.
So what all does the Mercedes Benz Sprinter have that makes it so popular? You're about to find out. We'll get into this full-size beast and talk about interior space, performance, safety, the environment, and some of the technological goodies found under the hood.
"The Mercedes Sprinter van is designed and built for unsurpassed fuel economy, durability, safety, practicality, comfort and quality." - Roadtrek
The Sprinter van's turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine produces 325 pound-feet of torque and 188 horsepower. Mercedes-Benz states "there's plenty of power to go around, even for heavy-duty tasks like climbing hilly roads, passing on the highway and accelerating in the city."
A 5-speed automatic transmission transfers this power to the rear wheels. The abundant torque provides plenty of power at low revs, which is great for stop and go city driving. But some reviewers complain it lacks power when passing on the highway. Of course, one has to keep in mind that this is no mini-van, but instead a robust commercial vehicle.
The van has a tight turning radius and a high seating position, which makes it very easy to drive. In fact, reviewers claim it's much easier to maneuver than other full-size vans. They say the ride is smooth and the handling is excellent.
Tow Rating: Sprinter 2500 models can tow up to 5,000 lbs. while 3500 models can tow up to 7,500 lbs. The maximum tongue weight is 750 lbs.
You can pack lots of luxury RV features into the Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van, thanks to it's colossal interior. With a cargo capacity of 547 cubic feet, it easily swallows the competition. And with the high roof version providing 6 1/2 feet of interior height, almost anyone will have no problem walking tall inside this van.
Much of the advanced technology crammed into the Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van is dedicated to safety. As Mercedes-Benz says "There's no such thing as too much safety. That's why we've made every effort to ensure that the Sprinter offers drivers, passengers, and cargo a high degree of protection."
The van's ADAPTIVE ESP (Electronic Stability Program) has sensors that calculate the current load while activating several safety components to help stabilize the vehicle. These components include anti-lock braking, acceleration skid control, electronic brake force distribution, Brake Assist, and Trailer Stability Assist. I'll get more into the details of these features later.
For those RVers towing a trailer, Trailer Stability Assist is a nice safety feature to have. This system detects trailer sway and counteracts these movements to help bring the van and trailer combination under control. This feature works with either a factory installed hitch, or one retrofitted by a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter dealer.
Other safety features include:
Lessening our impact on the environment is what many RVers strive for. That's not always easy to do when driving big fuel gulping motorhomes. Times are changing, and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van is leading the green motorhome revolution.
The muscle under the Sprinter van's skin is a V6 diesel engine with BlueTEC technology, providing low emissions and excellent fuel economy. BlueTEC works by filtering the exhaust gases and mixing them with a water-based diesel exhaust fluid called AdBlue. This process turns pollutants into harmless nitrogen and water. What you get is a diesel engine that is said to burn as clean as a gasoline engine.
"Safety First" seems to be the Mercedes-Benz motto for this van, which is of course what the motto should be for every vehicle on the road. Here are some of the advanced features found on the Sprinter van, all dedicated to keeping you safe...
At the heart of the Mercedes Benz Sprinter van's safety features is the ADAPTIVE ESP Electronic Stability Program. It's purpose is to keep the driver in control of the van during critical situations. It works by applying a brake force to one or more wheels and adjusting the engine output to bring the van under control.
Brake Assist works in conjunction with the anti-lock brakes to increase the braking force in an emergency. By measuring the speed at which you hit the brake pedal, it determines whether increased brake force is needed. Mercedes-Benz states that Brake Assist can prevent a rear end crash, or at least reduce the impact speed.
Start-Off Assist helps to keep the van from rolling backward on uphill slopes. It maintains brake pressure for a couple seconds after you release your foot from the brake pedal, leaving you enough time to press the accelerator pedal before the van starts rolling backward.
Combined with ADAPTIVE ESP, Trailer Stability Assist kicks in when the system detects trailer sway. When sway is detected, it selects which wheels to brake, while reducing engine torque.
This system balances the braking force between the front and rear wheels to optimize brake performance. It prevents over-braking of the rear wheels, which could cause fishtailing. Simultaneously, it avoids putting to much stress on the front brakes to prevent overheating and brake fade.
Large full-size vans like the Sprinter aren't the easiest to park, so Mercedes-Benz has come up with an optional audio visual aid that alerts the driver when things get a little too close for comfort. When moving forward, a display on the front dash lets the driver know if they're approaching an obstacle. And when backing up, this display is shown in the exterior mirror. If you miss the visual display and keep moving toward the obstacle, an audio warning will sound.
The optional Bi-Xenon headlamps cast a brighter, lighter, and more natural light than halogen headlamps, thus increasing visibility. The headlamps also feature a dynamic level control and a high-pressure washing system.
Still hungry for more juicy tidbits on the Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van? You've come to the right place. Here's what's on the menu. And if you still have a craving for more, check out the Sprinter RV Forum, where you can ask questions and share info with other visitors.