Buying a used... Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (2018)

Date: Tuesday, February 9, 2021   |   Author: Ian Shaw

The Sprinter is a microcosm of Mercedes’ LCV history and future direction.

The first generation Sprinter ran from 1995 to 2006, with the odd nip and tuck, the true Mk2 came in 2006 and the third generation we have here, arrived in 2018. The first generation set the scene; Mercedes had thoroughly modernised its large van, the Mk2 added myriad versions and layouts, and the Mk3 completed the progress with masses of electronic and infotainment technology, a choice of front or rear-wheel drive, two automatic gearbox options and icing the cake with a 3-litre V6 diesel – the only one in its class.

The Sprinter offers two wheelbases of 3.3m and 3.9m in front-wheel drive configuration, with 3.9m and 4.3m in rear-wheel drive versions, the longest of which has two rear overhang sizes to create four overall lengths. These are: 5,27m, 5.93m, 6,97m and 7,37m, giving respective load lengths of 2.6m, 3.3m, 4.3m and 4.7m. The overall body width of just over 2m (2.34 across the mirrors) gives a decent load bay width of 1.78m overall and 1.35m between the wheel arches. Three roof heights offer 1.7m, 2.0m and 2.2m of headroom in the RWD version – there’s 70mm more in the FWD models – and all this equates to load volumes from 7.8 to 17 cubic metres.

Loading it is easy thanks to rear door apertures of 1.55m with 270 degree opening hold-fast doors, side doors of 1.0m to 1.2m width and all door heights from 1.5m to 1.9m. Payloads at 3.5t GVM range from 879kgs to 1,516kgs depending upon body size and type, but the front-wheel drive versions, can carry up to 150kgs more than the equivalent RWD model. 

Pulling this along is a 2.1-litre four-cylinder common-rail (CDI) diesel unit with power outputs from 110hp, through 140hp to 190hp, and the V6 with up to 250hp. These are mated to six-speed manual transmissions or a choice of automatics. Rear-wheel drive variants get the proven seven-speed 7-GTronic, while the 9-GTronic with an additional two ratios is fitted in front-drive models. 

However, it’s in the cab where the Sprinter stands out. The MBUX infotainment system has a 10-inch, touchscreen, with the usual Bluetooth connectivity for phone, music excellent navigation, reverse sensor and camera system, for example. It can link to an Android Apps fleet management system and offer personalised driver profiles. The basics are not forgotten, the seats are excellent, storage facilities are numerous, the controls are an ergonomic masterclass, the visibility excellent, switchgear solid and refinement first class.

The Sprinter’s reliability reputation is well-deserved, but over the years there were recalls for overfilled transmission oil, bonnet catch failures and propshaft centre-bearing fitment –so check via the main dealer that these have been done.

Overall this is simply one of the best used vans on the market, due to myriad options and strength in numbers. That we managed to find near-identical specification models to price check speaks volumes. Buy on age, don’t worry about mileage and it will serve you long and well.

Five best options

1) LWB high roof

2) V6 3.0 engine

3) FWD at lower weights

4) 9-speed Auto transmission

5) 190bhp engine

Five best avoided

1) 110bhp engine

2) FWD at high payloads

3) Base interior version

4) Automatic transmission
on RWD

5) Short wheelbase low roof

Second-hand buys





Price ex.VAT

2.1 CDI L2H2 





2.1 CDI L2H1 





2.1 CDI L2H2





2.1 CDI L2H2 





2.1 CDI L2H1






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