The start point for the best source of fleet information
Mercedes-Benz is proud of the pioneering reputation of its Sprinter large van, and this facelifted model, which complies with the brand's current design lines, pushes the envelope further with a raft of new safety features.
And when it arrives in showrooms in September the Sprinter should also be the first LCV to comply with Euro6 emissions standards.
The model we tested was the jumbo-sized extra-long-wheelbase, high-roof panel van powered by the 163hp version of Merc's 2.1-litre Bluetec diesel engine. Our test van also came with the brand's 7G-Tronic Plus auto transmission, which the manufacturer claims is the only seven-speed auto system fitted to any van in the world. It is now combined with an efficient auto stop/start function, and is hugely impressive, operating smoothly in both urban settings, where it takes much of the strain out of driving such a bulky vehicle, and on the motorway, where accelerating to cruising speed is accompanied by none of the faintly nauseating lurching that dogs some auto-shift light commercials. Mercedes reckons that lowering the chassis by 30mm has also helped to improve driving dynamics and steering precision as well as contributing to lower fuel consumption and easier loading.
With a 500kg load on board (our vehicle's payload capacity was 900kg) the ride was steady and predictable, and the power from the 163hp engine more than adequate. However, if operators regularly need to carry heavy loads over long distances they may want to consider the 190hp 3.0-litre powertrain.
As would be expected, the Sprinter's cabin materials are of a high standard with tasteful chrome finishes and soft plastics in various shades of grey. The steering wheel is adjustable for height and reach and now has a thicker rim to improve touch when steering. This contributes to a comfortable driving position within a spacious and airy interior. The fabric-covered seats are firm and supportive, come with lumbar control and are adjustable for height as well as reach. They are well placed in relation to the foot pedals and the chunky, user-friendly dials and knobs on the dashboard.
Storage includes handy overhead shelves either side of the central light unit, a large lockable glove compartment, and several shelves and trays on the dashboard, some of which contain grippy rubber mats to stop small items rattling about in transit.
In terms of the new safety features, Blind Spot Assist provides extra peace of mind when changing lanes, or can alert the driver to another vehicle undertaking, by activating a red warning light on either wing mirror when a vehicle, or bike, has entered the space next to the Sprinter where the driver cannot see it. It is operational from 30km/h (18mph).
The Lane Keeping Assist function is equally vigilant - if you change lanes without indicating or drift out of you lane, a sharp bleep quickly alerts you to the error of your ways - and is active from 60km/h (37mph). The Sprinter is also available with Highbeam Assist, which automatically switches the headlamps from full beam to dipped according to the traffic situation ahead of the van or oncoming traffic.
Crosswind Assist is the one new safety feature that comes as standard on all new Sprinter panel vans, as the others are all optional extras. It is activated at speeds of 80km/h (50mph) or over and aims to minimise the impact of strong gusts of winds on the van's road position. Another safety aid, Collision Prevention Assist, which is designed to prevent or reduce the severity of rear-end shunts, is particularly impressive and is operational from 30km/h (18mph).
Mercedes is offering the Sprinter's safety options in two packages: the Driver Assistance pack costs £1090 and comprises Collision Prevention Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and High Beam Assist, while for £910 the Lane Tracking pack comes with Blind Spot Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and High Beam Assist. All prices exclude VAT.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 316 CDI Bluetec extra LWB, HR 7-G auto
Price (ex VAT)
£20,825 - £39,625
Load width (min/max)
Load bay height
Combined fuel economy
Merc will feel the new features will keep the van ahead of rivals.