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Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Not your typical Mercedes.

DIESEL

This Mercedes-Benz breaks from tradition and trades high-dollar luxury for a blue-collar ethic and the ability to haul scads of people or cargo. It competes with the Chevrolet Express and the Ford E-series, but the Sprinter offers a decidedly European take on the cargo van. For one, it uses unibody construction rather than the body-on-frame approach. It is the only van in the U.S. offered with a diesel six-cylinder engine — at least until the Ford Transit arrives in late 2013. The result is that the Sprinter is more efficient than its competitors but not quite as strong when it comes to towing. (Properly equipped Chevrolets and Fords can pull up to 10,000 pounds compared with the Mercedes’ 7500-pound max.) Other uncommon sensibilities include a tidy turning circle and a low step-in height. Like any cargo van worth its salt, the Sprinter is available in myriad configurations. There are two wheelbases, two heights, and three lengths spread among passenger van, cargo van, minibus, and chassis cab body styles. The largest vans seat 12 (the pricey minibus models can carry 16 people) or hold up to 547.0 cubic feet of cargo. Whether you’re chauffeuring the octuplets to summer camp or delivering a stack of drywall to the worksite, the Sprinter can make light work of daunting tasks with an admirable level of refinement.

COMPETITORS

Ford E-series

Chevrolet Express

Nissan NV3500 HD

new for 2013

The commercial-van market hums along with little concern for model years and minor updates. Hence, the 2013 Sprinter is identical to the 2012 Sprinter, which was identical to the 2011 and 2010 Sprinters.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, side, and side curtain air bags and antilock brakes are standard. There is a stability-control system with rollover mitigation that adapts to the weight of the load being carried.

MPG

N/A

PRO

A size and style for every need

Surprisingly economical

Massive hauling capabilities

CON

Can’t tow as much as competitors

Modest power for the heaviest loads

Base Price Range: $35,000–$72,000 (est.)

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Rear-wheel

TRIM LEVEL: Sprinter

BODY STYLES: Chassis cab, cargo van, passenger van, minibus, 2- to 16-passenger

ENGINE: 3.0L turbo-diesel V-6, 188 hp, 325 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: 5-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: N/A

CAPACITIES: Towing 5000–7500 lb; cargo 23.7–547.0 cu ft

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