2006 Dodge Sprinter Review

Pros & Cons

  • High cargo capacity, stellar fuel economy from turbodiesel engine, relatively nimble in urban environments.
  • Can't get a V8 for serious towing and hauling, lacks high-speed punch, higher initial cost versus competitors.
Other years
List Price Estimate
$8,307 - $11,996

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Although underpowered when compared to traditional domestic full-size vans, there's still plenty to like about Dodge's Sprinter. In terms of refinement, utility and value, it's hard to beat.

Vehicle overview

On sale at Dodge dealerships since 2003, the Dodge Sprinter is actually a rebadged version of a Mercedes-Benz van built in Germany. By tapping into the resources of parent DaimlerChrysler, Dodge has come up with an alternative to the more traditional passenger vans from Ford and General Motors. Compared to these vans, the Sprinter is much more focused on passenger comfort, ease of use and driving dynamics. It's available in a comprehensive selection of configurations that makes it easy to meet specific needs. Not much flash or prestige can be expected of such a boxy van, of course, but the upright and narrow styling endows the Sprinter with near-flat interior sidewalls, a huge cargo capacity, easy urban maneuverability and plenty of flexibility. In addition to a selection of wheelbase lengths, the Sprinter is available with a choice of two roof heights. High-roof models make it possible for owners to stand up inside their vans when loading or unloading passengers or equipment. Families interested in converting their van into a camping vehicle will find this aspect of the Sprinter appealing as well.

The Sprinter's diesel engine is its weakest aspect. With just 154 horsepower available, the Sprinter's acceleration is rather meek at highway speeds, more so when the van is heavily loaded. Additionally, towing and hauling abilities are not as robust as those provided by the Sprinter's competitors. Maximum towing capacity tops out at just 5,000 pounds. In comparison, the V8-powered Chevrolet Express and Ford Econoline can tow anywhere between 6,000 and 10,000 pounds. The only bright spot here is fuel economy. Combined driving should result in about a 25-mpg average, significantly higher than that of the domestic V8s. Overall, we think large families or businesses in need of a passenger van should certainly consider the 2006 Dodge Sprinter. Its strengths certainly outweigh its weaknesses, particularly for buyers who require maximum interior space.

2006 Dodge Sprinter models

The Dodge Sprinter is a full-size van. For the passenger version, only the 2500 style is available. (A heavy-duty 3500 is offered for the Sprinter cargo van.) The 2500 has a wheelbase measuring either 118, 140 or 158 inches. Additionally, there is a high-roof version. The extended roof height provides additional capacity and allows an average-height person to stand up inside the van. Standard equipment is limited to the bare necessities. A comprehensive range of options is available that allow buyers to fully customize the Sprinter to their needs. Highlights include aluminum wheels, upgraded heating and cooling, a sunroof, heated windshield, rear park assist, sliding rear windows, upgraded seats, cruise control, an alarm system, a CD player and power windows, mirrors and locks.

2006 Highlights

Minor additions this year include a rear park-assist feature, headlamp washers and wiring for hands-free cell-phone use.

Performance & mpg

An inline, five-cylinder 2.7-liter turbodiesel engine powers all Sprinters. It's rated at 154 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard and sends power to the rear wheels. Extended maintenance intervals and an estimated average 25 mpg help reduce overall operating expenses. Properly equipped, the Sprinter can tow 5,000 pounds.

Safety

The Dodge Sprinter comes with standard four-wheel antilock disc brakes, traction control and stability control. Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has crash tested this vehicle.

Driving

While far from nimble, the Sprinter handles more like a midsize SUV and is better than any other van in the full-size class. The ride is also surprisingly smooth, and the Sprinter's turning circle is smaller than those of other full-size vans. In spite of the engine's low horsepower rating, its generous torque and minimal turbo lag result in adequate acceleration at low speeds. Highway passing ability is not as impressive.

Interior

Though far from luxurious, interior accommodations are certainly adequate and businesslike. Filled to capacity, the Sprinter can accommodate 10 people. Fit and finish is up to typical Mercedes-Benz standards. Multiple seat adjustments ensure decent comfort, and overall ergonomics give the impression of driving a regular passenger car instead of a hulking van. Some will find the lack of tilt steering to be an annoyance. Storage cubbies abound, but don't expect to put a super-mega-size drink in any of the cupholders. Photos may make the Sprinter look diminutive, but do not be deceived -- it offers up to 473 cubic feet of interior capacity depending on wheelbase and roof height. The Ford E-350 Extended Van offers a comparatively paltry 308 cubic feet. The Sprinter's rear cargo doors open up to a helpful maximum of 270 degrees.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2006 Dodge Sprinter.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2006 Dodge Sprinter Cargo 1st row 2 place seat
Vincent Mordt Rolfe,01/28/2017
118 WB 3dr Van (2.7L 5cyl Turbodiesel 5A)
Bought this Cargo 118"WB from a Sprinter dealer with 9,000 miles and needing a fuel filter change. It had the original expensive tires 15" and wandered a bit in side winds. Tires lasted 105K. Alignment required due to rt front tire wear at Sprinter dealer--setting only toe in. Van continued to wear same tire and second dealer in Chicago, "nothing we can do about that". Put on new set of tires at 106K G-26's. At that time found a camber aluminum wedge to correct rt front camber problem. 1 degree. Installed and too much correction. Hand filed wedges mathmatically to 1/2 degree and reinstalled and reset toe. Now van drove steady in high winds, made sweeping turns with no constant steering correcting and tires quit wearing. Sometimes I drive to east or west coat-5K miles in 5 days: driving is now relaxed. Replaced original ball joints with Moog US designed ball joints with grease zerks and also MB tierods at 50K. Stiff steering and rapid wear went away. Reset toe in with homemade toe jig. One alignment garage refused to try to align van at 50K due to ball joints wear and tie rods loose. Now at 131K steering still tight and using Molylithium grease for ball joints. Four speed heater fan failed at 110K-replaced for $25 using my screw driver. Winter of 2015 Chicago and motor hard to start and not hitting on all cylinders when cold. Checked internet with symptoms and glow plugs-5 Beru-MB brand were questionable. Found electrical resistance on 3 of 5 plugs to be incorrect. Bought deep metric socket at HomeDepot for $4. and removed 3 glow plugs with new Bosch NAPA plugs for $22 each. Not all 5 needed replacing according to testing resistance readings. Van starts at 22 below zero F with no problems using Peak anti gel 1 oz/5 gallons. I replace fuel filters and oil change with Shell T-6 5W40 every 10K. Best mileage on highway before the camber wedge was 34mpg. loaded coming back from St. Louis. After correcting the camber, going to Twin Cities MN, mpg was 36-37 driving at 63-65mph, small load with very little wind. This van does not use oil and I let it warm up to the first temperature gage mark before driving away. I will drive around the block and let it warm up even more if I immediately do highway driving. A neighbor with the longer WB 2500 '06 drove it like a Ford V-8 and blew up the turbo and then the cylinder head gasket, rear axle seal, and a host of other extended warranty items. Heavy foot driver. My van driving in the Smokey Mts and Blue Ridge Mts. with the turbo and that car like handling: I was passing other cars going up and down the long runs and curves. Reminded me of my early 180D's. I change the rear end fluids every 50K and repack the front wheel bearings every 40-50K depending on the noise I hear--set them loose and use Molylith grease. Oil the doors once a month. I installed a 2 place rear seat from a 2004 Sprinter and now can take the kids with me. Or maybe a mother-in-law. Replaced rear doors step plate for $70. This van will probably outlast me. Letting the motor warm up is the secret: don't tell anyone Sheeeee Oh, I do woodworking and extend the bulk head back 2" for increased leg room and seat tilt" helps on short or long drive and wife likes the more seat tilt. Replaced MAF due to uneven performance and MPG went up along with adding a rear Kamm style airfoil that is effective from 45mph on up. The airfoil makes head winds more sensitive due to reduced drag at the rear. Added new rear shocks due to total collapse of the original shocks. The shocks and airfoil make highway driving much more stable especially in lane changes and curves. No oil consumption at this time. Update at 150K. I had been out of comish for 5 months due to a bad case of Shingles. Still suffering but datz life. The air foil attached to rear-Kamm style gets me into the upper 30's mpg and takes over at 45 mph. Made of wood with membrane press. Replaced front rotors with Premium NAPA but they not good metal. replaced rear rotors due to build up of crap on sides due to road slush, I guess. Went with $10 more for MB quality and van stops on a quarter. All is well with this van and expect to go another 300K miles if no body shops are involved.? Got a memo from MBenz asking me to have the computer recalibrated due to that year not notifying owner of EGR failure and other MAF failure with not trouble codes. This sounds like a MB-VW spoof and I will not let those boys touch the van to change it. And, now I hear that MB will not be importing Diesel cars any more.? Something sounds off in that request. Will change the rear diff fluid in the Spring '18 and replace front wheel bearings at that time due to some sounds like the announcers make before that prize fights, "rumble rumble". I may start looking for another '06 Sprinter and keep it in the back 40. Rust on the later models of V-6 Sprinters in Chicago is a problem on the side-low. All for now in Feb of '18.
Dodge/Mercedes Sprinter passenger van
BP,08/03/2006
Somewhat spartan in ergonomics, the Sprinter is fairly comfortable in a basic way. It does not compare to American made vans (in the same price range) in technology and creature comforts. More advanced features are not even available. It seems the Euro style is stark functionality over luxury. Functionality is key. I appreciate the economy, handling, and spaciousness greatly. This is where this van beats domestics hands down. I consider the Sprinter passenger van to be a "happy medium" between a bare bones cargo van and a decked out domestic family van. I can't comment on the reliability due to it's newness, but the diesel model has been around for years and the turbo gives it a boost.
Blue Double Short
JC MI,04/25/2006
Looked at Mini-vans, SUVs, and Full-sizers. Minivan was ruled out as it could not pull the boat, SUV was hard on gas, and Ford/GM full size was not too good on gas either and drove like slugs and did not handle as nice. The Sprinter drives much smaller than it is, is easy to park, great visibility, handles well, and hauls 8 very comfortably. I tinited the windows and did the M-B grille and badge conversion and it looks great! It is fun to drive and everyone is always checking it out. Draws a small crowd at the truck stop fueling up. Love those high-speed diesel pumps!
Great
Mike,12/08/2006
This van is comfortable, roomy , and gets great mileage, It is fun to drive for myself and family, and good to carry my tools to do work .

Features & Specs

MPG
N/A city / N/A hwy
Seats 8
5-speed automatic
Diesel
154 hp @ 3800 rpm
MPG
N/A city / N/A hwy
Seats 0
5-speed automatic
Diesel
154 hp @ 3800 rpm
MPG
N/A city / N/A hwy
Seats 0
5-speed automatic
Diesel
154 hp @ 3800 rpm
MPG
N/A city / N/A hwy
Seats 8
5-speed automatic
Diesel
154 hp @ 3800 rpm
See all Used 2006 Dodge Sprinter features & specs
More about the 2006 Dodge Sprinter

Used 2006 Dodge Sprinter Overview

The Used 2006 Dodge Sprinter is offered in the following submodels: Sprinter Van. Available styles include 118 WB 3dr Van (2.7L 5cyl Turbodiesel 5A), High Roof 140 WB 3dr Ext Van (2.7L 5cyl Turbodiesel 5A), 140 WB 3dr Ext Van (2.7L 5cyl Turbodiesel 5A), High Roof 118 WB 3dr Van (2.7L 5cyl Turbodiesel 5A), and High Roof 158 WB 3dr Ext Van (2.7L 5cyl Turbodiesel 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2006 Dodge Sprinter?

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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Dodge Sprinter?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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