Is this diesel-powered van the ultimate overlanding vehicle? How does the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 perform off the beaten path, high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado? How efficient is this turbo-diesel van on the highway with a load of 1,000 lbs? All the answers are here.
This is a Sprinter 2500 4×4 Crew Van. It’s a full-size van with seating for five people, and a large cargo hold that could accommodate a bed, kitchen, and many other amenities for off-the-grid overlanding trips. The 3.0L turbo-diesel V6 sends 188 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels via a 5-speed automatic transmission. This 4×4 version (which costs an additional $7,500) has a hi/low transfer case and a raised ride height for off-pavement capability.
While a van like has a payload of about 2,700 lbs and a maximum towing rating of 5,000 lbs – we decided to load it up with 1,000 lbs of cargo for our highway MPG test, which we run at a constant speed of 70 MPH. Two people plus 1,000 lbs is a load that represents a vehicle loaded for the next adventure. Driving range is very important for the go-anywhere spirit of #vanlife. Our highway test yielded a calculated driving range of about 430 miles with this load. Just feed this van low-sulfur diesel fuel and DEF once in a while, and it will go a long distance in relative comfort.
The suspension is set up for a highway ride that is surprisingly smooth for a vehicle with a GVWR of 8,550 lbs. This Sprinter jump off the line with authority, but acceleration drops off above 40 MPH. This acceleration behavior is typical for turbo-diesel half-ton trucks.
The Sprinter 4×4 is happy to tackle an off-road trail, but the drive must remain mindful that this low-roof version of the van is still over eight feet tall. Watch out for narrow passages or low-hanging tree branches.
Here is the complete and comprehensive off-road and mpg review video of the Sprinter 4×4.