Trucks are very popular in the automotive world – with good reason. The flexible bed sizes and high towing capacities of these vehicles are perfect for physical laborers and drivers with trailers to move. However, MotorTrend thinks there’s another vehicle you should consider for your next job: the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van.
There’s a reason why delivery companies like Amazon are buying these models by the thousands. These vans can easily haul tons of boxes and aren’t as cumbersome to maneuver as a long truck. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 is even more capable on the road, but could it outsell popular trucks?
Just like you can buy a heavy-duty version of a truck, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van comes in different sizes. The most powerful option is the 4500 model, which can haul 6,636 pounds. Depending on the body style, that figure could increase to 7,430 pounds.
That’s only 200 pounds less than the hulking Ford F-350’s payload capacity. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter still can’t beat any pickup when it comes to towing, with a max capacity of 7,500 pounds. Fortunately, the two-seat Sprinter Cargo model has an expansive luggage bay to make up for this. This model also has a steel floor, which makes it easier to install shelves or carry heavy items without damaging the interior.
Powertrain options for the Mercedes Sprinter van
The bigger diesel engine is the option you’ll need to unlock the Mercedes Sprinter van’s highest hauling capacities. It’s a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 capable of 188 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. A smaller turbodiesel option is available that makes 161 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque.
It’s also worth noting that the Mercedes Sprinter is the only cargo van that even offers diesel options. The gasoline motor is a 2.0-liter turbo-four that makes 190 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. While it can’t tow as much as the diesel engines, it has a nine-speed automatic transmission instead of a seven-speed.
However, the gasoline engine is only offered in front-wheel drive, with the diesel motors get AWD and 4WD options. Not only that, but MotorTrend felt that the shorter transmission doesn’t really affect the Sprinter’s performance. It provides quicker gear changes than the old unit, especially during downshifts.
MotorTrend was also impressed with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter’s athletic road manners. The steering and brakes operate smoothly. Turbo power is available just after 1,000 rpm, even with a fully-loaded cargo bay. Kelley Blue Book also praised the Sprinter’s performance, noting that the ride is smooth and body roll is minimal.
MotorTrend tested a Mercedes Sprinter with the optional 4×4 package, which adds a two-speed transfer case and a suspension lift. While MotorTrend editors didn’t take the van off-road, the low-speed gearing is plenty sufficient for any rough terrain. Since winter is such a busy delivery season, the standard AWD will no doubt aid drivers over snowy roads. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 is also faster than any other Sprinter model from last year.
Is the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 better than a truck?
For towing heavy trailers, a truck is still your best bet. The Ford F-450 Duty reigns supreme with a maximum towing capacity of 37,000 pounds with its powerful turbodiesel engine. Still, while it has substantially more power, the massive dimensions of this truck would make it difficult to navigate neighborhood delivery routes.
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has better hauling capability, including a high roof for safely transporting tall items. When it comes to price, the Sprinter is on par with most heavy-duty trucks on the market. Combined with the Sprinter’s smooth ride and available 4WD power, it’s a more well-rounded alternative to a truck.