The brand new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter light-commercial range is now available, with the company promising the highest level of safety, competitive running costs, and infotainment/telematics “designed for the next era”.
It needs to be good. While the flagship of Mercedes-Benz Vans’ range globally – the X-Class dual-cab ute is a side-act by comparison – is clearly the best-selling big van in Australia, competition is stiffer now than ever before.
For instance, former joint-venture partner Volkswagen decided to go it alone with its new large van rival, the Crafter, and has invested heavily in nabbing market share. Renault is also increasingly aggressive in this space with its sharply-priced Master.
The rollout begins this month with the conventional van and cab-chassis model (single- and dual-cab), with tractor head (a single-row cabin with naked chassis behind) and configurable minibus range available from early 2019.
Van GVMs vary from 3.55t to 5t, payloads sit between 1191kg and a whopping 2646kg, wheelbases between 3259mm and 4325mm, load lengths between 2607mm and 4307mm, and space between 7.8 and 15.5 cubic-metres. The cab-chassis payloads vary between 1687kg and 2842kg.
Options include dual sliding side doors and rear barn doors. You can also fit wood or plastic flooring, LED strips, metal panelling, moveable pallet supports, and countless other options. There are also ingenious flat-top claddings over the wheel arches that made them useable surfaces. It’s a brilliant idea, which makes you wonder why every van doesn’t have it.
All up there are more than 1700 variations to choose from, according to Mercedes, factoring in all the bodies , engines, drive configurations, cab designs, tonnages, colours – you get the idea. Given the bespoke needs of fleets, this is a necessary step.
As before, the Sprinter can be had in both rear-wheel (RWD) and four-wheel drive (4WD) forms, but now comes in front-wheel drive (FWD) guise for the first time. Ditching the driveshaft to the rear cuts weight by 50kg and makes room for an 80mm lower loading floor. It’s also cheaper.
There are a range of Euro 6-compliant diesel engines available. FWD models get a reworked OM 651 single-turbo 2.1-litre with 84kW at 3800rpm, and 300Nm of torque from only 1200rpm, or an uprated version with 105kW/330Nm. There’s also a 130kW option exclusive to motorhome builders.
RWD versions come with a 2.1 twin-turbo donk making either 84kW/300Nm (from 1400rpm), 105kW/330Nm, or 120kW/360Nm. There’s also a class-exclusive V6 diesel with 140kW of power and 440Nm of torque, the latter on tap at 1400rpm.
The four-wheel drive system arrives in 2019 and can be had with the 105kW and 120kW four-cylinder engines, and the V6, for a premium of $13,660. Not cheap, though it’s $7000 less than it was before. Volkswagen only charges $4500 for 4Motion all-wheel drive on the Crafter.
There are a few different gearboxes too. The FWDs get a six-speed manual or an optional new nine-speed auto ($2875), the RWD get a six-speed Eco Gear manual (super low first, tall sixth) or seven-speed auto, while the 4WDs get the 7AT only.
Service intervals are two years/40,000km, and the warranty runs three years/200,000km. Round-the-clock roadside assist is available throughout the warranty period.
MORE: 2019 Sprinter review
The new cabin includes as standard the company’s hyped MBUX infotainment system, with touch pads on the steering wheel, the head unit (standard 7.0-inch, optional 10.25-inch) and conversational voice control, where the term ‘Hey Mercedes’ replaces 'Okay Google’ or ‘Alexa’. Keyless start is also standard.
In about 18 months, Sprinters will get a new comms module and be connected to the cloud, meaning the car will be able to be tracked remotely by fleet owners, and take on software updates remotely.
There are also storage cubbies in the roof, atop the dash, under the fascia near your knees, and in the doors. The presence of a steel bulkhead with window between cabin and cargo area keeps NVH right down, and improves crash safety.
Standard tech includes active brake assist (AEB), blind-spot monitoring and reverse camera (not cab chassis’), lane assist, crosswind assist built into the ESC, and front/side airbags.
You can also pay $1067 extra for radar-guided cruise control, $1232 for a 360-degree camera, $554 for lane assist, $792 for auto parking and $485 for traffic Sign Assist.
Pricing is for manual versions, and excludes on-road costs. All FWDs get 9AT option for $2875, while RWDs get a 7AT for $2875. V6s are all 7AT.
|311CDI 3.55t||84kW, SWB, FWD||$46,008|
|311CDI 3.55t||84kW, MWB, FWD||$48,109|
|311CDI 3.55t||84kW, MWB, RWD||$50,719|
|314CDI 3.55t||105kW, SWB, FWD||$51,763|
|314CDI 3.55t||105kW, MWB, FWD||$53,864|
|314CDI 3.55t||105kW, MWB, RWD||$56,474|
|314CDI 3.55t||105kW, LWB, RWD||$60,110|
|316CDI 3.55t||120kW, MWB, RWD||$59,809|
|316CDI 3.55t||120kW, LWB, RWD||$63,445|
|316CDI 3.55t||120kW, XLWB, RWD||$66,020|
|319CDI 3.55t||140kW V6, MWB, RWD||$66,374|
|319CDI 3.55t||140kW V6, LWB, RWD||$70,010|
|411CDI 4.1t||84kW, MWB, FWD||$52,080|
|414CDI 4.1t||105kW, MWB, FWD||$57,835|
|414CDI 4.1t||105kW, MWB, RWD||$58,344|
|414CDI 4.1t||105kW, LWB, RWD||$61,980|
|416CDI 4.1t||120kW, MWB, RWD||$61,679|
|416CDI 4.1t||120kW, LWB, RWD||$65,315|
|416CDI 4.1t||120kW, XLWB, RWD||$67,890|
|419CDI 4.1t||140kW V6, MWB, RWD||$68,244|
|419CDI 4.1t||120kW LWB, RWD||$71,880|
|516CDI 4.49t||120kW, MWB, RWD||$65,869|
|516CDI 4.49t||120kW, LWB, RWD||$69,505|
|516CDI 5t||120kW, MWB, RWD||$65,869|
|516CDI 5t||120kW, LWB, RWD||$69,505|
|516CDI 5t||120kW, XLWB, RWD||$72,080|
|519CDI 4.49t||140kW V6, MWB, RWD||$72,434|
|519CDI 4.49t||140kW V6, LWB, RWD||$76,069|
|519CDI 5t||140kW V6, MWB, RWD||$72,434|
|519CDI 5t||140kW V6, LWB, RWD||$76,069|
Single cab chassis:
|311CDI 3.55t||84kW, MWB, FWD||$41,238|
|314CDI 3.55t||105kW, MWB, FWD||$46,993|
|316CDI 3.55t||105kW, MWB, RWD||$52,939|
|411CDI 4.1t||84kW, MWB, FWD||$43,108|
|414CDI 4.1t||105kW, MWB, FWD||$48,863|
|416CDI 4.1t||120kW, MWB, RWD||$54,809|
|416CDI 4.1t||120kW, LWB, RWD||$56,414|
|419CDI 4.1t||140kW V6, MWB, RWD||$61,373|
|419CDI 4.1t||140kW V6, LWB, RWD||$62,978|
|516CDI 4.49t||120kW, MWB, RWD||$57,549|
|516CDI 4.49t||120kW, LWB, RWD||$59,154|
|516CDI 5t||120kW, MWB, RWD||$57,549|
|516CDI 5t||120kW, LWB, RWD||$59,154|
|519CDI 4.49t||140kW V6, MWB, RWD||$64,114|
|519CDI 4.49t||140kW V6, LWB, RWD||$65,718|
|519CDI 5t||140kW V6, MWB, RWD||$64,114|
|519CDI 5t||140kW V6, LWB, RWD||$65,718|
Single cab chassis:
|316CDI 3.55t||120kW, MWB, RWD||$56,552|
|416CDI 4.1t||120kW, MWB, RWD||$58,422|
|416CDI 4.1t||120kW, LWB, RWD||$60,027|
|419CDI 4.1t||120kW, MWB, RWD||$64,987|
|419CDI 4.1t||120kW, LWB, RWD||$66,592|
|516CDI 4.49t||120kW, MWB, RWD||$61,162|
|516CDI 4.49t||120kW, LWB, RWD||$62,767|
|516CDI 5t||120kW, MWB, RWD||$61,162|
|516CDI 5t||120kW, LWB, RWD||$62,767|
|519CDI 4.49t||140kW, MWB, RWD||$67,727|
|519CDI 4.49t||140kW, LWB, RWD||$69,332|
|519CDI 5t||140kW, MWB, RWD||$67,727|
|519CDI 5t||140kW, LWB, RWD||$69,332|