The 2016 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is powered by a 2.1L turbo-diesel BlueTEC engine. The 4-cylinder unit makes 161 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. The optional 3.0L turbo-diesel BlueTEC V6 engine makes 188 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque -- the latter figure explains the Sprinter's surprisingly good acceleration, even with a full load. The four-cylinder engine is mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission, while the V6 is paired with a 5-speed automatic. Mercedes-Benz says that the powertrain gets 30 percent better fuel economy than a comparable gasoline engine and complies with the most up-to-date emissions standards from the EPA and California Air Resources Board.
The Sprinter's upright body, with nearly vertical side walls and a rather low loading floor, is incredibly spacious inside, leaving several feet above most occupants' heads and plenty of legroom no matter the row. There's a choice between standard and high-roof models, as well as a 144-inch or 170-inch wheelbase, and with the taller body, occupants up to 6'-4" can stand in the cabin. There are four rows of seating, with the capability to carry up to 12 passengers. Entry and exit are quite easy, thanks to a wide-opening sliding door that opens to an amazing 4'-3" wide and six feet high. The standard rear doors open 270 degrees for easy cargo loading as well.
The Sprinter has an instrument panel that's a little more car-like than other full-size vans, but its seating position is quite upright. Overall, the Sprinter drives with a more confident, planted cornering feel than might be expected from such a tall vehicle. That's thanks to an independent, coil-spring front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering. Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with brake assist and 16-inch wheels are standard.
Adaptive ESP, a special stability control system that uses Load Adaptive Control to adjust to the load being carried, is standard on all Sprinter Passenger Van models. Several safety technologies have been carried over from Mercedes' passenger car side, including Collision Prevention Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Highbeam Assist and Lane Keeping Assist. Side thorax front airbags and side-curtain bags are available, and they are standard on 2500 and 3500 models.
Standard features on the Sprinter Passenger Van include a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, automatic climate control, front-seat armrests and power front windows. In addition to the V6, options include cruise control, roof rails, a self-leveling system, bi-xenon HID headlamps, a heated windshield, auxiliary rear heating and a rearview camera system. Available Park Assist helps drivers to safely back the vehicle into position. A number of packages are also offered, including a Cold Climate Package, Mobility Package and Trailer Hitch Package. So equipped, the Sprinter can tow up to 5,000 pounds.