Driving impression: 2019 Mercedes Sprinter

Mercedes Benz recently launched the all-new Sprinter in South Africa and with around 600 different configurations available, there’s a van for every purpose.

Configured either as a panel van, people carrier or freight carrier, the Sprinter offers a number of variants for countless industries. These include taxi, trade, service and logistics, as well as other applications in the form of mobile homes and speciality conversions.

The famous Sprinter Inkanyezi continues on as before. The new version of this famous taxi conversion comes in three different grades, with options ranging from the basics like three-point safety belts on every seat, through to USB ports in the rear, free flow rear air conditioner, rear speakers and many more customer required additions, including an electric sliding door at the top end.

With the new Sprinter, Mercedes also amped up the safety levels significantly. The standard assistance systems available for the new Sprinter include Cross Wind Assist and Hill Start Assist, which makes it easier to start up hills from a stationary position.

The list of optional features is extensive. It includes Distronic, Lane Keeping Assist, a reversing camera showing its image in the rear-view mirror and a Parking Package with 360-degree camera.

Most impressive of all is the electronic assistance the van gives you in emergency situations. To test these out, we spent a full day at Kyalami with the vehicles, testing them in various emergency situations. They work magnificently, even when the driver is going out of his way to drive like a lunatic. Even with the high roof, the Sprinter inspires loads of confidence and when you mess it up, it’s very good at setting itself straight again.

Power is provided by the proven 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel. It’s available in two output levels – 84kW and 120kW.

The 84kW engine offers 300Nm, while the 120kW unit provides 380Nm of torque.

For more demanding applications, the three-litre, six-cylinder delivers 140kW and 440Nm.

Mercedes claims a reduction in fuel consumption, which inevitably leads to a drop in the total cost of ownership. The new Sprinter 516 CDI records improved fuel consumption of 8.5% (in accordance with prevailing prescribed measuring process Regulation (EC 715/2007) of the European Parliament; and a cents per kilometre reduction of 4.5%. A definite bonus across all industries and applications.

From behind the steering wheel it’s uncluttered and fairly basics, though you do get ergonomically shaped seats, keyless start and an enhanced air-conditioning system as standard.

As always, you can add to the specification. The new MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) multimedia system is available in the new Sprinter. It basically a infotainment system that you can talk to, or operate via a touch screen. It works rather nicely and the MBUX actually understood when we asked it what the outside temperature was.

The range is fairly extensive, but a full breakdown of the pricing and body styles can be viewed above.