2014 Refreshed Sprinter Van Is Ready to Take All Comers

2014 Sprinter 2 II
 

By Aaron Bragman

More often than not, the only three-pointed star on a vehicle at any construction site is the real estate developer's S-Class sitting by the curb, not a contractor's truck romping through the dirt. But that slowly may be changing as Mercedes-Benz makes inroads in the commercial vehicle market with its latest and greatest Sprinter van. The versatile and increasingly popular Sprinter (which we recently highlighted in our video from the 2013 Work Truck Show) is a European-style van — meaning it's tall, upright and exclusively diesel powered, a marked contrast from the traditional American-style full-size vans offered by Ford, GM and now Nissan that rely primarily on gasoline engines.

Slow and steady growth for the South Carolina-assembled Sprinter has followed a push to create more than 200 dedicated Mercedes-Benz Sprinter dealers nationwide — separate showrooms sharing space with the brand's luxury cars. Sixty percent of Sprinters are going to the construction trades market, according to Mercedes-Benz.

With the U.S. market poised to see new European-style vans arriving from Ford (Transit) and Ram (ProMaster), Mercedes-Benz believes the time is right to forge ahead with plans to heavily promote the Sprinter. "We were the oddball for more than 10 years," says Claus Tritt, Mercedes-Benz' general manager for commercial vans. "Now with Ford and Ram introducing European-style products, we are the benchmark."

Mercedes-Benz recently held a media briefing at its emissions testing center in Ann Arbor, Mich., introducing the updated 2014 Sprinter and showing off a handful of the 80-plus outfitters that take part in the official Mercedes-Benz equipment program. Also on hand was a restored 1960 L319 Sprinter — a beautiful, classic model with around 40 horsepower and all the safety features of a shopping cart — to give some historical perspective on how far the Sprinter has come.

The new Sprinter gets only mild styling updates for 2014, losing the high eyebrows and smiley-face look of the old model in favor of a more menacing, horizontal-themed appearance. LED running lights adorn the new headlights, which bear more than a passing resemblance to the units seen on the company's luxury cars. The rest of the van's styling, inside and out, is pretty much unchanged. Five versions will be available from Mercedes-Benz: a 12-passenger van, a basic cargo van, an 18-passenger minibus, a cab-chassis model and a four-passenger "crew" van — essentially a cargo van with an easily removable second row of seats. "This is our crew-cab pickup," says Antje Williams, Sprinter marketing manager.

Styling isn't all that different, but the big news is under hood where Mercedes-Benz is supplementing the 3.0-liter V-6 turbo-diesel that carries over from the 2013 model with a new 2.1-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel as the standard engine. The smaller engine is rated at 161 hp and 265 pounds-feet of torque, considerably less than the 188 hp and 325 pounds-feet that the V-6 makes but still enough to easily motivate the truck, according to Mercedes-Benz, which says that the engine is popular overseas. The four-cylinder makes the most of that torque with the adoption of a new seven-speed automatic transmission; the V-6 continues to make do with a five-speed automatic. Mercedes-Benz claims that the new four-cylinder turbo-diesel results in an 18 percent improvement in fuel efficiency over the already-efficient diesel V-6. Exact EPA numbers are not yet available.

2014 Sprinter 4 II

In addition to the new motor, the 2014 Sprinter offers several new options including electronic safety equipment found on the brand's luxury cars, a factory navigation system (a swappable unit that can be transferred between multiple vans in a fleet), Parktronic parking assist, blind spot detection assist, lane keeping assist, collision prevention brake assist and a load adaptive electronic stability program.

The Sprinter is turning out to be a versatile platform. More than 75 percent of all Sprinters leave dealerships with some sort of approved outfitting. The company's South Carolina assembly facility handles the program for North America, registering approved vendors who meet strict quality requirements. Mercedes-Benz had a half dozen examples for journalists to see, including an ambulance, a Winnebago motor home, a box truck, a delivery van and even a unique heavy-duty version by a Canadian company that has made a specific cab chassis with a fiberglass work pickup body for a major cable company.

Official pricing for the Sprinter (which will also be sold as an identically priced Freightliner for contractors who think showing up to give a quote in a Benz-badged work truck might give customers the wrong idea) has not yet been announced, but the company says the new four-cylinder entry model could be less than the 2013 V-6 model's roughly $36,000 starting price. As with many Mercedes-Benz products, a free hand on the option sheet can quickly double the price, with some versions reaching the $50,000-$60,000 range when loaded with electronics and safety gear. But with Sprinter residuals running an astonishing 51 percent or more after three years, the best performance of any Mercedes-Benz vehicle, Sprinter owners are apparently getting what they pay for.

To download the full 2014 Sprinter press release, click here

Sprinter L319 1 II

Sprinter L319 2 II

2014 Sprinter 5 II

 

Comments

Add a couple lines on the last van's grill emblem and it becomes a VW minibus. I like the idea of a small Winnebago. I'd like to see the inside.
The pickup congers up visions of a prospector's pack mule.

Mercedes-Benz is adopting the smaller engine so that it can advertise higher fuel economy than the newcombers. The Transit has 2 smaller diesel engines in Europe, but Ford didn't bring them to North America because of American power needs The Fiat Ducato also has smaller engines in Europe. The diesel V6 Merc has a ton of grunt low-end and great highway performance, and gets 28 mpg. I hope this new 4 cylinder isn't gutless.

@Stevadore.
Welcome to the world of European cab chassis. Upfitting of Mercedes, IVECO,(especially) Ford and Renault is common here.
The Via is the small Class A from Winnebago, having a GVWR of 11,030lbs and GCWR of 15,250lbs.

Via Exterior
http://media.gowinnebago.com/models/bannerAssets/2013/via/overview.jpg

Interior
http://media.gowinnebago.com/models/gallery/jpg/wb_4c78143d_VA-F2B-25R-11.jpg

http://image.trucktrend.com/f/36794589/winnebago-via-25Q-interior.jpg

@AgentOrangeFortWorth
American Power Needs are no different from anyone else's. Ford will be introducing one of the Diesels with
the new Transit.

"The diesel V6 Merc has a ton of grunt low-end and great highway performance, and gets 28 mpg."
You just summed up European and everyone else's Power needs.

What Agent Orange is telling you here is Ford is not going with the smallest 4 cylinder 2.2 diesel that they use in the UK an dother places.

Ford will use the 3.2L 5 cylinder for more power.

Our needs, costs and requirements are different than other places. This is not even up for debate.

If you don't think so, just check the AP link I posted in the Colorado Spy Shots post.

The non-stop ignorance and arrogance and attacks on the US from those from overseas posting on this blog is incredible.

@DenverSpin
Thanks for the comment. The 3.2 is a base engine elsewhere. Mercedes will be introducing a small 2.1 Litre engine for the US. Your power needs are no different to anyone else, maybe a little less?

@Tom Lemon - typical sociocentric exceptionalistic view. Robert Ryan is basically pointing out that torque and MPG are universally desired traits by truck/van buyers. That is how I took his comments to read. Your post is seething with insecurity and oozes inferiority complex.

The reality of the situation is that the majority of vehicles in USA and Canada right now are rebadges or re-skinned European or Asian products.
IIRC - all of Ford's cars are European derived. GMC has re-skinned Opal and Holden units = read European derived products. What do you think is the basis for the flagship Camaro?
Chrysler - give a nod to Europe as well. Mercedes platforms are in their mix and Fiat products are showing up too.

Ford is using the 3.2 litre 5 cylinder to save money and extend design life since that engine will no longer meet European emission rules.

If Ford was trying to meet "American" exclusive power needs, they would NOT be using the 3.7 V6 as a base engine. The only concession to power is the EB3.5 but most traditionalists do not see that engine as a HD workhorse engine. Ford's 3.5 TTDI V6 is another European idea.

Dude - face the facts. The globals are coming, the globals are coming..........
A parody of Paul Revere's cry is appropriate at this point in time.

2025 - that is when the Chicken Tax expires. What will Rome do to keep the barbarians from storming the gates?

Looks like there will be nothing left to storm.

@Lou,
Winnebago introduced the Travato Class B based on the Promaster. The Pentastar 3.6 Petrol engine is hard to fathom. Same with the 3.7 in the coming Transit, both would have a hard time taking the skin off a tapioca pudding.
The Promaster conversion is 20ft long. and has a GVWR of 9,200lb.
Here we have 27ft versions with a GVWR of 11,000lbs pulling small cars powered by a 3 Litre diesel.

@RobertRyan

While I Don't think you were trying to insult American trucks, and vans: Tom Lemon is right, I was referring to the fact that Ford is not bringing the 2.2L and 2.4L diesel engines to the U.S. True that European tradesman want powerful vehicles just as much as Americans do; the fact is lower-powered vehicles don't sell in the U.S. and Canada, that's why Ford NA is only using the most most powerful diesel engine. The Ram Promaster (Fiat Ducato) is also not carrying over the smaller diesel engines (2.0L, 2.2L, and 2.3L) used in Europe and only using the larger 3.0L. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has sold the smaller 2.1 Liter Diesel in Europe as a base engine while only selling the larger 3.0L diesel here in the U.S.

I am actually familiar with European vans, Iveco, Renault, etc.

@Lou

Not the majority of vehicles actually, just the cars. (Fiesta, Focus, Cruze, Sonic, and Dart). GMC Theta platform wasn't developed in Europe, although possibly perfected there. The GMC Lambda platform was developed solely in North America. It's true Europeans make more efficient cars, but even with cars, North America has greater power needs. Look in the back of the TopGear magazine at the vehicle data sheet (the U.K. version is sold here in the states). Out of hundreds of vehicles, notice the 0-60 times, the average is about 12 seconds, and they are commonly up to 15 to 16 seconds. The slowest vehicles sold in the U.S. achieve 0-60 in about 10 and a half seconds with an average of about 8.5 seconds. Look up Top 10 Slowest 0-60 MPH Vehicles Motor Trend Tested in 2012 (P.S. the VW UP is on there as the slowest but it's not sold in North America) It's just a fact, the slower vehicles don't sell in the America.

@RobertRyan

The 3.6L and 3.7L while accelerate much quicker than those measly 2.2L diesels sold in Europe. You must have your head up your ass if you think otherwise. Case in point. The 3.5L gasoline engine with the in and Edmunds test of the 2008 Dodge Sprinter (Mercedes Sprinter) achieved 0-60 in 10.5 seconds, the Diesel 3.0L crawled to 60 in a meager 14.1 second. Edmunds called the 3.0L gutless themselves. Just imagine how slow these European style vans would be if they used a cute little 2.0-2.3L engine in a 0-60 test.

@ AgentOrangeFortWorth
It appears Chrysler maybe ONLY going with the Pentastar, which would be travesty if that is the case. Yes they have smaller diesels in Europe but even those are far better than the 3.6 and 3.7 litre gas engines. Good for Mercedes to being the 2.1 Diesel.

@RobertRyan

The 3.6 and 3.7 will feel a little sluggish because they don't have turbo-diesel torque, but they will accelerate quicker due to the gasoline high-end HP. Of course MPG will suffer.

"Yes they have smaller diesels in Europe but even those are far better than the gas engines."

No here they aren't, they are more expensive to buy and maintain, worse on performance and cost more to fill up. Get your head out of Europe's assss.

@Denverspin,(AgentOrangeFortWorth )
No you have the problem understanding the basics. You have a big problem with diesels and "midsize trucks"?
You have NO idea about IVECO etc in fact you have little idea about the outside world. All terrifying to you.

BTW in fairness the 3.0L that Edmunds tested was the old version with less power, the new 3.0L is a lot quicker. However. Compared to a 2.2L engine.....

@Denverspin (AgentOrangeFortWorth) (James)
The Pentastar is pretty weak in anything other than a Jeep Wrangler.

I know everything there is to know about the Iveco Daily now called the EcoDaily), it's a piece of trash with a heavily inflated weight carrying capacity and underpowered POS engines.

The 3.6L might be slow in a full-sized van, but it will blow away the 2L diesels sold in Europe.

@RobertRyan

I love European vans, all but the Iveco "breaksdown" Daily I would rather have a Merc Sprinter or Fiat Ducato which are much easier to upfit according the the U.K. van magazine

@Denverspin(AgentOrangeFortWorth)
You really have a paranoid fear of diesels , I cannot understand why.

@RobertRyan

LMAO, I'm not Denverspin. True. The U.S. doesn't have a diesel love affair like Europe does, but we use Diesels in our larger vehicles.

@Denverspin(AgentOrangeFortWorth) etc,
So far only 3 alias's this thread, must be slowing down. Your experience of the outside world is zilch. So your comments are meaningless.

I just hope the Promaster, Sprinter and eventually Transit make a bigger impact on the US Commercial scene.

Personally If I were to buy the Fiat or Transit, I would get the diesels, better reliability, low-end torque, and fuel economy

@RobertRyan( Lou )

RobertRyan get your head our of your ass. I don't even know who the hell denverspin, because no "Denverspin" posted a comment on this page.

I could say the same about you're opinion on U.S. engines. The Transit will probably be the best selling van as the Econoline was, that is possible after the GMC Savana and Chevrolet Express end production. They'll probably be replaced by an Vauxhall Movano.

@Denverspin(Fortworth)
4th Alias this thread. The Econoline was a "gas" engine Van wasnt it? couple of aberrations ,they did offer diesel versions.

Transit and US Movano will be good sellers

RobertRyan (Lou)

Nope, Just shortened it to FortWorth, so if you want to be technical 2 aliases.

Right, The Econoline (E-Series) had a 7.3L V-8 Diesel in the 90's, a 6.4L V-8 Diesel till 2010, but in 2010+ It uses 4.6L V-8, 5.4L V-8, and 6.8L V-10 gasoline engines. It never picked up the 6.7L Diesel, so right now it's Gas-only yes.

interesting that Ford doesn't intend to offer a diesel extended body, long-wheelbase Transit. Maybe they should offer the 4.4L V8 diesel for that version.

I was under the impression Europe and the third world countries use diesel because of the high price of gasoline. Not as big a problem in the US and should be getting better as the years go by. I do agree that Americans will not be satisfied with sluggish diesel engined powered vehicles. I drive a diesel, and am pro diesel, but that $3.25 per gallon gasoline looks pretty good.

The real reason we in America do not have the choice, and in most cases even the option of diesels here is because of our very own EPA and all their much stricter emissions limits in the diesels than in the rest of the world, and the real reasons have nothing to do with true engineering, and science, but junk science and politics. Yes you can do more work with an equivalent sized diesel engine as opposed to a gas engine, but, with the newer tech coming down the road, the gas engines are getting better, but so are the diesels, it is all over politics.

I have driven A 2.2 Transit bus, its not the best for Acceleration, but acceptble. I had è passengers and it sqt on 130-140kmph.

As for power, like Australia its universal.

DlM aka-AgentOrangeFortWorth
You reqlly qre incredible, but not in a positive sense.

@FortWorth/AgentOrangeFortWorth - I'm not Robert Ryan.
But I'll take that as a compliment since I like Robert Ryan's posts.

Robert and a few others have been experiencing difficulties with a blogger that frequents this site and another site that they frequent.
They need to rein in their frustrations because it plays right into the hands of their "oppressor".

Sorry about the errors, the keyboards are diifferent here.

@ AgentOrangeFortWorth - I have to comment on your quoting of Top Gear's 0 - 60 times.
That is the biggest difference between USA/Canada and the rest of the world. North American drivers like acceleration in a straight line.
I see it time and time again.
Every traffic light is a mini drag race. People treat the gas pedal like a light switch. its on or off.
I see the same on highways. No planning to pass. A brief opening and mash the throttle. No finesse, no forethought, no planning, no smoothness.
People use HP to compensate for the fact that they do not see further than the hood of their vehicle.
Examples:
I had a red GM van that had an electrical failure as I was approaching a traffic light. I died in the inside lane with a turn lane next to me and a clear lane on the right. I called a hook and waited with my 4 way flashers on.
I watched cars approach and they had at least a 100 yards before closing in on me. I'd say 1/4 of the drivers noticed I was dead and changed lanes right after cresting a rise in the road. At least 1/2 changed lanes within 3 car lengths of my van. I had 1/4 either do some heavy braking and then change lanes at the last minute or actually stop on my ass and then honk their horn at me. This is early morning in very light traffic.

I recall reading a thread where 2 guys were complaining about the Ford 3.5 EB "cutting out" when they went to pass. The one guy said he was selling his truck because of it. The other guy said he used to experience the same phenomenon until he disabled the stability control system.
How violent a pass maneuver are you performing to have the stability control kick in?

Power teaches most people to be poor drivers.

Take another look at the Top Gear results.............. How many "American" badges are in the Top 20 on their test track?
They refer to the Corvette and Viper as "muscle cars". Than means fast in a straight line. Throw a few corners in the mix and it all goes south very fast.

I think it is in error that anyone cite other areas as having different power needs to another; I'm certain European contractors load their vehicles to the max just as they do here. I'm sure they have steep grades to climb, just as they do here. I'd suggest that needs and expectations are two opposite things, and that if the Europeans had been used to driving with big-block performance for decades, they'd be requesting more powerful engines too. Expectations and drivers habits is probably more of a consideration for sales here than Europe where fuel costs probably make operators think more of efficiency.

I'd like one of those old Mercedes Vans, that thing is sharp.

The black one in the first photo is really sharp!

@Lou, not really a fair comparison w/ the TG track. The cars at the top are hand-built, multiple hundreds of thousands of dollar cars, like Pagani, Koenigsegg, and that go-kart like car with the V8, which they made only a few of, I forget the name. But against factory Euro performance cars like the M3, the much cheaper current Mustang GT does quite well against around corners. Even the overly-hyped Veyron is a let down on corners.

At least Mercedes is giving us some choices. The same 2.1 in the E class gets over 200 hp and 369 lbs of torque. I know it is detuned in the Sprinter but it is a capable motor. In the lower power tune I'd expect really good mileage.

It certainly won't work for those who regularly haul 5000 lbs in the van but for some companies that haul large but light cargo this would be a really nice fit.

I hope this prompts Ram and Ford to up the offerings in the Transit Connect and either the C/V or the Promaster. (yes I know the connect is the smaller van and that is exactly what I meant). The Connect could greatly improve the capability and mpg's with a similar 2.0 or 2.2 diesel and if federalized it would give Ford the opportunity to put that motor into a lot of different cars/SUV's to help offset the F150 for CAFE ratings. I tihnk a 2.2 diesel in the Focus would be a riot.

@Lil Al from Oz (RobertRyan) (Lou)

First off, who in the hell is DIM, you morons need to stop pulling names out of your asses that haven't even posted on this page, so I don't even know who the hell they are.

While everyone across the globe WANTS powerful engines, in the U.S. and Canada they lower powered engines don't sell, but in Europe, (and apparently Australia) they do. That means that Europeans and Aussies are willing to use lower-power engines; Americans are not. I clearly explained this in my posts.

@Lou

Okay, but Robert Ryan should assume that I am someone else just because I disagree with him. You're actually wrong for a large part, and right for a large part. In the U.S. we, as you probably know have many cars carried over from Europe. This means we have the same handling cars that you have. We merely don't adopt the slower engines sold in Europe. Although some of our larger vehicles and trucks, have big engines, but might not be the best handlers.

The I have never heard of the 3.5 EcoBoost cutting out. We have millions of them here on the road. They have great fuel economy and class leading torque and acceleration. If you're getting at that diesel engines are more reliable, yes I know that, in fact most Americans who are truck fanatics know that.

If you're getting at that people who drive cars with more powerful engines abuse them so that they are unreliable in the long run, that actually might be a good assessment.

It's pretty clear the US has different needs from other countries. See the breaking news report from the AP on the Brazilian designed autos linked in the Colorado Spy Shots blog.

As for the Transit full-size commercial vans, the different engines themselves clearly show the different power needs...

Euro and Aussie:
2.2 diesel (not ideal for the US but it works over there)

US has 3 choices to fit our needs:
3.7 V6 (base engine, will also have a CNG/LPG prep kit, also designed to run on E85, great overall gas engine)
3.2L PowerStroke (the ideal balance of fuel economy and job capability)
3.5 EcoBoost (if you want max capability - the workhorse, proven in the F150)

Diesel.
YAAAWWWN.

Welcome to 1928.

By the way those eurovans are a good bit smaller in europe.

They had to supersize them for our extremely large american butts.

Sprinter is a capable van, but getting it serviced is a nightmare. Anyone who thinks that "Mercedes" means impeccable reliability should go out and put some miles on a Sprinter. Pack a sleeping bag so that you'll be ready when it breaks in the middle of nowhere and you have to figure out who is going to fix it.

I have high hopes for the new Transit. It needs be as or more capable than a Sprinter, but it needs to be as dependable as the E series. And serviceable at every Ford dealer in the nation.

Fortworth is 100% correct.

Diesel engines
2.2L Duratorq TDCi I4 (Europe only)
2.4L Duratorq TDCi I4 (Europe only)
3.2L Duratorq/Power Stroke TDCi I5 (All markets)
Petrol engines
2.3L Duratec I4 (Europe only)
3.7L Cyclone V6 (North America only)
3.5L EcoBoost V6 (North America only)

The little boy gas and diesels are for Europe ONLY. The US gets the big boy engines.

Yep Tom Lemon. Even most European auto enthusiasts would admit that.

They won't admit because a secret pact has been formed When one of their brothers is wrong they have to back their brother up no matter what. It is called the secret Small Truck Brotherhood Euro Aussie Troll Alliance or something like that.

@FortWorth - I'm not European and there is a difference between want and need. Most 1/2 ton pickups sold are not used for work. Even recreationally, most aren't towing at max capacity. High horsepower is a want. It is nice to have a 300 - 400 hp truck, a luxury. I'd rather tow or haul with my current truck (2010 5.4 superCrew) as opposed to my departed 1990 F250 with 5.0. 310 hp versus 195hp. The problem is that fuel prices are going to rise. I'd trade a loss of 100 hp for 5 mpg gain. I'm in no hurry to get where I need to go and I think about how I drive. I routinely get 20.5 mpg highway with my truck. That happens because I think about what lies ahead.

@Alex - valid point. Even if you ditch the million dollar supercars, most beat our cars on a track. The Corvette C6 ZR1 did well. it was in the Top 30. It was panned as a track car. Does the job on the track but you wouldn't want to live with it on a day to day basis. The Boss 302 Laguna Seca runs with the BMW M3. Again, the BMW is not just a track day weapon.

You don't need HP to go fast. Sabine Scmidt ran a diesel powered Transit around the Nurburgring track and was passing sport bikes and sportscars. I used to be involved in Motocross and offroad racing. 125 cc 2 strokes and 250 cc 4 strokes were just as fast on a tight track as a 250 2 stroke or 450 4 strokes. One just needs to think ahead. Open classers would get the holeshot but eventually would get passed as the race progrressed.

I'm not the one who brought up 0 - 60. If accelleration was all I wanted, I'd be riding a ZX12 or Hayabusa. Those rides can go to zero to 100 and back to zero before most vehicles hit 60 .

There may have been a time long ago when Panel Trucks were interesting, they shared the same greasy bits underneath--a pickup that looked like a station wagon. But now? No. These commercial vans are BOORRRRRRRINNNNG except to the diesel boys and the hybrid boys. Can we have a decent truck story, please?

@Lou
My point was simply stating that the U.S. only sells the higher-powered engines. I never mentioned anything about peoples needs, and I never started any stupid Euro cars vs American cars thing. Euro vans are more practical, it's true, some people prefer the American style body on frame, and large V-8. About the handling, current U.S. compact cars are re branded European cars, so they will handle exactly the same. That still doesn't mean we carry over the weaker engines, as I have stated many times only the higher power models are carried over. I have said all this before.

Also just because your not looking to buy a supercar or a motorcycle doesn't mean you don't want power in you're economy car or truck. This is why the smaller engines don't sell in the U.S. and Canada. Whether a truck buyer should save money and be more Eco friendly is another story.

To recap, I was stating facts, about vehicles in Europe and North America, only when others made it some dumb Europe vs America thing, did I play devils advocate.

The old sprinter is mad cool!! dont think it does so well as a RV though

@FortWorth - point well taken. Too many bloggers just want to stir the pot. It makes it hard sometimes not to default to an aggressive stance. My apologies.



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