2011 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Review
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter isn’t exactly an ideal family hauler. But, if you need a van to transport people or cargo, few do it better than this unusual work vehicle.
The Sprinter has at different times been sold as a Dodge, a Freightliner, and since 2010, it’s been sold with a Mercedes-Benz badge. For the past two model years, the Sprinter has received updates that bring it in line with Mercedes brand, including improved build quality, a variety of options packages, and a fuel-efficient Bluetec diesel engine. The Sprinter has some of the most interior space in the class, but reviewers also say that its engine is underpowered, and American vans can carry more passengers. The Sprinter has seatbelts for 12, while Ford and GM vans can all seat up to 15. But in general, the automotive press agrees that the Sprinter is a great work van because of its interior cargo space, low step-up height and an economical engine that won’t put you out of business.
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van starts just under $35,000, making it the most expensive cargo van on the market by about $9,000. However, reviewers say its impressive build quality and decent maneuverability help to make it worth the extra money.
Reviewers say that if you own a business and need a van that will transport your gear, employees and customers comfortably and usefully, it doesn’t get much better than the Sprinter. Its interior height makes it possible for almost everyone to be able to stand up and walk around inside. Its low-to-the-ground load floor makes it easy to lift tools, luggage or cargo in and out. Though its engine feels underpowered to most, it has plenty of power for towing and hauling most anything you’ll need to carry around. In all, the qualities that make the Sprinter a less-than-ideal mainstream vehicle make it great for businesses.
Other Vans to Consider
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is pretty good at what it does, but other vans provide more power, all-wheel drive and offer more useful interior tech. The base Cargo Van model of the Sprinter starts just under $36,000, the highest starting cost of all cargo vans. The GMC Savana Cargo and Chevrolet Express Cargo vans both start at about $25,000, about $11,000 less than the Sprinter. Plus, the GM twins offer far more engine options than the Sprinter. If you buy the GMC Savana, you have a choice between a gas-powered 4.3-liter V6, a FlexFuel 5.3-liter V8, a FlexFuel 6.0-liter V8 and a natural gas-powered 6.0-liter V8. Plus, the Savana and the Chevy Express are both available with all-wheel drive, which the Sprinter does not offer. The Sprinter has rear-wheel drive.
If you need a van to cart around a lot of people, the Sprinter may not be the best choice. The Sprinter Passenger Van offers seating for 12, while vans from Detroit offer seating for up to 15 when properly configured. A Ford E350 Extended with seating for 15 starts at $33,585, which is $6,235 less than the 12-seat Sprinter Passenger Van. Even better, the Ford vans are available with Ford’s Work Solutions, an in-dash computer that monitors tools, people, includes a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot and can even print invoices. And, the Ford E-series can tow up to 10,000 pounds, double the towing capacity of the Sprinter.
Shoppers should keep in mind that in most cases, the Sprinter and similar cargo/passenger vans aren’t great choices as family cars. If you’re looking for a vehicle that will haul your family and their stuff around comfortably and spaciously, a minivan or large SUV will likely do the job. You’ll get better gas mileage and have more comfortable accommodations in something like a Dodge Durango, which gets 16/23 mpg city/highway in 2WD V6 models. Car and Driver notes that in a Sprinter, “people will mistake you for an airport shuttle,” something that nobody wants – unless you actually are an airport shuttle.
Details: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter
For the 2011 model year, a Crew Van is now available, with a total of five seats leaving the rest of the van for cargo and gear. But otherwise, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter hasn’t changed much for the 2011 model year. All models have received an updated instrument cluster as well as Bluetec badging to advertise the diesel engine.
The 2011 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is available in four models: Cargo Van, Crew Van, Passenger Van, and Cab Chassis. There are also two different wheelbase lengths (144 inches and 170 inches) and a high roof option, depending on which model you opt for. The Cargo Van model comes with only two seats, while the Passenger Van seats twelve. The Cab Chassis has a two-person cab and an exposed chassis, meant to be taken straight to a custom upfitter.
- “Yes, it is pricey, but the 2011 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is without question the best full-size van for cargo and passenger purposes,” writes Edmunds.
- “Unlike most commercial vans that have been converted to passenger service by an aftermarket upfitter, Sprinter feels like a solid piece, engineered from the start to move a small crowd in comfort and with ease. Prices can climb quickly, though operational costs should be tempered by Sprinter’s outstanding-for-the-class fuel economy.” – Consumer Guide
- “The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Passenger Van is the ultimate way to move a seriously large family, clients, or workers in a single commercial-grade vehicle.” – Left Lane News