The Mercedes Sprinter van is all-new for 2019. It goes on sale in the United States at the end of 2018 with a starting price of $33,790 for a Sprinter cargo van with a 2.0-liter turbocharged gas engine. It’s now American made in North Charleston, South Carolina. The 2019 van starts $205 less than the outgoing 2018 Sprinter Worker cargo van. How is the new van different from the previous? What are all the new features? Here is the first drive review.
Models & Trims
The 2019 Sprinter is still offered in cargo, crew, passenger, and chassis cab configurations. The Sprinter 2500 models now have increased GVWR, and there is a new 4500 model for heavier hauling. All of the weight specs are listed below. The new van is still offered in two wheelbases, three body lengths, and two roof heights (same as before). The overall dimensions of the van are not changing, but it offers more high-tech features than before.
The 2019 Sprinter will not just be diesel-powered as before. A 2.0-liter turbocharged gas engine joins the lineup in the 1500 & 2500 cargo, crew, and passenger vans. If you want a heavier van or one with AWD/4×4, then the 3.0-liter V6 turbo-diesel is still the engine of choice. All diesels come equipped with a 7-speed automatic transmission. The 3.0L V6 turbo-diesel engine is rated at 190 hp and 324 lb-ft of torque. The engine has been retuned, but it offers nearly identical power output numbers as before (the previous Sprinter had 188 hp and 325 lb-ft).
The gasoline option is a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder with 190 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It’s backed up by a 9-speed automatic transmission. This is a slightly different engine than you will find under the hood of the smaller Mercedes-Benz Metris. The Sprinter gets a slightly lower horsepower rating. The gas engine is only available with rear-wheel-drive.
We did not get a chance to drive a Sprinter with the 2.0-liter gas engine. This will come at a later date. The 3.0-liter diesel is as smooth and as quiet as ever. It pairs very well to the 7-speed automatic transmission. The old 5-speed auto is no more.
If you do want the diesel, you will have to pay approximately $6,000 over a comparable gas-powered Sprinter. The new Sprinter gasser is the new low price option. The 2.0L Crew van starts at $41,290 and the passenger version at $42,990. There is more pricing information below.
Payload & Towing
The gas-powered Sprinter payload is not yet rated, but the V6 diesel cargo van can haul up to 6,636 lbs or 7,485 lbs for the chassis cab. This is truly “1-ton” dually heavy duty truck numbers, and this payload capability is class leading by far. Ford Transit’s maximum payload is rated at 4,650 lbs.
Diesel passenger vans are rated at a maximum of 2,862 lbs of payload due to a softer suspension setup and a GVWR of 9,480 lbs. The cargo, crew, and chassis cab vans have a GVWR of up to 12,125 lbs. This is way more than 10,360 lbs for the Ford Transit.
All vans have a GVWR of over 8,501 lbs, which classifies them as a “heavy duty” vehicles and thus not rated by the EPA for efficiency. The diesel vans have a maximum towing capacity between 5,000 – 7,500 lbs depending on the configuration. This is the same towing capability as with the previous generation of the Sprinter.
The passenger vans are set up for 15 people (14 passengers plus driver). The new van boasts increased cargo volume and includes: loadable (slightly lower) wheel arches and some new interior rack and storage options. Maximum interior volume is 533 cu-ft (which is right inline with the Ford Transit’s 542.2 cu-ft of max volume). Sprinter’s rear loading width is 61-inches. The wheelbase goes up to 170 inches with an 170 EXT model that offers additional rear overhang.
2019 Sprinter adds more standard safety equipment than before. Window and pelvis airbags are now standard on chassis cabs. Mercedes says the visibility is increased with new LED headlights and taillights. Rain sensor with integrated Wet Wiper system is there for clearing the road grime. DISTRONIC PLUS is the available adaptive cruise control. Blind Sport Assist (with Rear Cross Traffic Alert). Active Lane Keeping Assist can warn the driver and also center the van in a lane using one-sided brake actuation. Park Assist offers a 360-degree camera view and steering guidance. Traffic Sign Assist can read speed limit, no-entry and no-passing zone signs. Crosswind Assist makes its return to help correct the van’s course at speeds over 50 mph during a cross wind. Attention Assist warns if the driver gets drowsy. Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic function is able to monitor the traffic ahead at slower speed, warn the driver, and apply brakes to a full stop if necessary.
Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) with an optional 7-inch or 10.25-inch touchscreen displays comes to the 2019 Sprinter. MBUX can be operated by voice with natural language recognition “Hey Mercedes” or “Hey Sprinter”, a touch screen, or a touch control buttons on the steering wheel.
The new touchscreen interface is responsive and very easy to use. The reverse camera offers a high resolution view with guidelines for maneuvering or hitching up a trailer. The satellite radio channel scroll interface is visually appealing as you swipe though all of the available channels.
There is a multitude of 12-volt and USB-C charger ports throughout the new Sprinter. There is also a media input for connecting an external music/audio source.
Mercedes PRO connect package includes: Optimized Assistance, Efficient Fleet Management, and Data Interfaces for Vans. The Optimized Assistance is standard with a 36-month trial period. The other two PRO features have a much shorter trial.
There is available Car-to-X communication to warn of bad weather conditions or accidents ahead. Wifi hotspot is now available by purchasing a 3rd party mobile network contract.
The Sprinter Cargo 1500 base model starts at $33,790 for the gas model. The diesel will set you back approximately $6,000 more at $39,790. The crew van adds $7,500 to the price of a gas version, but $6,300 to the price of a diesel. A 4×4/AWD system adds about $7,800 to price of a diesel Sprinter.
The Chassis cab starts at $39,790. If you need it all, the a diesel passenger van with 4×4 will start at $56,790.
How does it compare to the competition? The Ford Transit is the sales leader in the United States. It currently outsells the Sprinter at least 4 to 1. The 2018 Ford Transit cargo has a lower starting price of $32,380. The Transit Passenger starts at $35,100.
The 2019 Sprinter beats the competition on available payload capacity, driver assistance technologies, and overall driver experience. It matches competition on available volume. It is not the most affordable choice out there, but it is also currently the only one with available 4×4.
The new Sprinter will be available at the Mercedes and Freightliner dealerships before the end of the year 2018.
We are working on a 2019 Sprinter video review for you. In the meantime, enjoy this Sprinter crew van loaded MPG and Off-Road review from Colorado.