The current generation Sprinter appeared in the UK during the steaming hot summer of 2006 and it rewrote the book as far as active safety is concerned.
All models come with ABS, ESP and a host of other acronyms which mean that it has to be the safest van to drive right out of the box. There’s a choice of five Euro 4 common rail turbodiesel engines with the 2.2- litre lump being the mainstay of the line-up. Available at 88hp, 109hp, 129hp and 150hp it offers peak torque of 220Nm, 281Nm, 305Nm and 330Nm respectively. The top of the range engine, however, is the 3-litre V6 which pumps out 184hp and is capable of generating 400Nm of torque between 1,600rpm and 2,600rpm.
Read and weep. Quite naturally the 3.0CDI is astonishing, but will have minimal take-up in the UK. Most operators will specify one of the 2.2CDIs and they will not be disappointed. Refinement is high and there’s a very good spread of available torque across a good spread of revs. Sprinter remains rear-wheel drive and is fitted with disc brakes all round, along with all the safety-related electronics alluded to earlier. With three wheelbases, four body lengths and three roof heights, Sprinter is available with load areas between 7.5m3 and 17.0m3 and payloads from 930kg to 2,710kg. Gross vehicle weights are 3.0t, 3.5t, 4.6t and 5.0t.
The all-new cab is an excellent design with an abundance of storage areas for all the stuff van drivers have to carry with them these days. General ergonomics are good and the gearchange remains dash-mounted and slick in its operation.
Service intervals are flexible, dependent on usage, but range from 24,000 miles to 30,000 miles. The standard mechanical warranty is three years with unlimited mileage.
The Sprinter represents the pinnacle of current LCV technology.