What's New for 2007
The 2007 Dodge Sprinter has been completely redesigned. This full-size van is now longer and wider, and Dodge is again offering a high-roof variation that provides more than 6 feet of interior stand-up height. The previous-generation Sprinter's five-cylinder turbodiesel engine has been replaced by a more powerful turbodiesel V6, and an optional 3.5-liter gasoline V6 has been added for those looking for more highway-friendly horsepower. The exterior has undergone evolutionary changes, but the interior has been brought into this decade with new Mercedes-Benz switchgear, larger rear windows and a tilt/telescoping steering column.
While most cars, SUVs and minivans last roughly five to six years between generations, full-size utilitarian vans are like those 100-year-old crocodiles that live on while the rest of the animal kingdom dies away. When a new van shows up, such as the 2007 Dodge Sprinter, it's a rare occasion. Although the last-generation Sprinter arrived in the U.S. in 2003, it had previously been sold around the world as a Mercedes-Benz since 1995. That vehicle was already a revolutionary step beyond its aged General Motors and Ford competition, and the new model increases that disparity even more.
The 2007 Dodge Sprinter's clear advantages are in the realms of passenger comfort, cargo capacity, body configurations and driving dynamics. Just a quick visual inspection of the Sprinter reveals how different it is. Its radically sloped front end, long wheelbase and tall body make it look like a good Beckham kick could knock it over, yet it's just as wide as the GM and Ford models, and handles more like a midsize SUV than a plumber's van. A further examination of the Sprinter's dimensions reveals a standard wheelbase longer than the Econoline's extended wheelbase, and at 273 inches, the largest Dodge Sprinter is almost 2.5 feet longer than the biggest GM van.
As before, the German-built Sprinter is the only full-size van to offer a choice of factory roof heights. The high-roof option provides an impressive 76 inches of height, allowing a 6-foot-3-inch person to walk upright. To accomplish the same task, Econoline and Express/Savanna passengers would have to be no taller than 4-foot-4, which is why these vans require an aftermarket conversion for use as a passenger shuttle.
One of our few complaints about the previous-generation Sprinter was its weak diesel inline-5 engine and limited towing capacity. Although that engine had enough torque for city driving, its meager 154 horsepower caused it to quickly lose its verve at highway speeds. A new 3.0-liter diesel V6 is standard this year. It only increases torque by 29 pound-feet (horsepower remains the same), but a newly optional 254-hp gasoline-fueled V6 should be adequate for those who do more freeway driving. Towing capacity remains the same 5,000 pounds, which is about half of the max for the domestic vans.
Overall, we think the redesigned 2007 Dodge Sprinter should be an appealing choice for many full-size van buyers. Despite being a little underpowered and pricey compared to the V8-powered GM and Ford vans, the Sprinter's multiple large body styles and quality construction make it an excellent choice in this segment, especially for commercial use or urban-based customers looking for the most maneuverable and fuel-efficient full-size people mover.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2007 Dodge Sprinter is a full-size passenger van. Body style choices are numerous, with two wheelbases (144 and 170 inches), two body lengths (233 and 273 inches) and two roof heights (standard and high). In addition to the driver and front passenger, seating arrangements include a two- or three-passenger first row, a two-passenger second row and a three-passenger third row. All body styles come standard with 16-inch steel wheels, a passenger-side sliding door, wide-angle mirrors, a tilt/telescoping steering column, automatic climate control, rear heating ducts and a CD player.
The Sprinter is designed to be customizable for an individual buyer's needs, so a long list of options in à la carte and package form are available. These include cruise control, bi-xenon headlamps, foglamps, automatic headlamps and wipers, power-folding mirrors, 90-percent rear window tint, sliding rear windows, power window vents, a sunroof, a rear parking camera, front/rear parking sensors, multiple styles of driver seats, front seat heaters, passenger armrests, rear-seat cupholders and an upgraded audio system with integrated phone connectivity.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2007 Sprinter comes standard with a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 making 154 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque. It gets fuel economy in the mid-20s, which is dramatically better than its competition. New for 2007 is an optional 3.5-liter gasoline V6 with 254 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come standard with a five-speed automatic with an automanual mode. Properly equipped, the passenger version of the Sprinter can tow 5,000 pounds.
All 2007 Dodge Sprinters come standard with stability control, traction control and antilock disc brakes. Dodge says that it's specifically tailored the Sprinter's stability control system to compensate for shifting cargo loads and the vehicle's tall center of gravity. Optional safety equipment includes front-seat side and head curtain airbags, front and rear parking sensors and a rear parking camera.
Interior Design and Special Features
With the exception of the Dodge logo on its steering wheel, the Sprinter's interior is pretty much identical to the Mercedes-Benz version sold elsewhere in the world. Build quality is, therefore, far better than anything else in this class and actually superior to some other Dodge vehicles. Four front seat styles with multiple adjustments ensure decent comfort, and overall ergonomics give the impression of driving an SUV instead of a gigantic van. The old Sprinter's city bus steering column has been thankfully replaced with a new tilt/telescoping setup.
For passengers, the 2 additional inches of width increases shoulder space, while the new high roof option with its 6-foot-4-inch cabin height makes the Sprinter an ideal choice for passenger shuttles. There are multiple seating arrangements available depending on body length and the desired passenger capacity. With its 51-inch sliding door opening and class-leading 20-inch step-up height, getting in and out of the three possible rows is easy.
We have yet to drive the new 2007 Dodge Sprinter. However, if its previous version is any indication, we fully expect this vehicle to be the best-driving full-size van available. Handling and maneuverability will likely be better than you might expect given its high profile and large size. The only disappointment will likely be engine power. Though both engines are certainly adequate around town, a full load of passengers will overtax the modest capabilities of the engines at higher speeds.