Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van Review
Edmunds expert review
Though pricier than its rivals, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is nonetheless the most spacious and refined full-size van available for commercial users.
What's new for 2015
Buying a Mercedes-Benz for your commercial van needs strike some as a tad excessive, like gold-plating a hammer or adding Dakota leather seats to a forklift. Yet, outside North America, Mercedes makes all sorts of commercial vehicles, buses and trucks included. Of course, there's also the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter full-size passenger and cargo van. Yes, it's a bit more expensive than rival vans, but then the Sprinter is also capable of doing the job better.
Depending on your needs, the 2015 Sprinter can be purchased as a cargo van with the ability to tow nearly 4 tons, or a passenger van that can seat up to 12 passengers via four rows of seating. In 2015, there are a few noteworthy additions: four-wheel drive and a Super High Roof option for cargo vans. The four-wheel drive is an exclusive in the van segment, with an available high-only or high- and low-range drivetrain, for those times when your work van needs to tackle a muddy job site. The Super High Roof is just that: super high. On the outside, the Sprinter with the Super High Roof stands taller than 10 feet, which equates to 7 feet of interior vertical space. Finally, a plumber's van suitable enough for Pao Gasol.
Storage space is another key area where the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter leads the pack. With the Super High Roof and the optional long wheelbase, the Sprinter has a rather incredible maximum storage capacity of 586 cubic feet. And, depending on whether you go with the four- or six-cylinder engine, there's a high payload capacity as well: up to approximately 5,500 pounds when properly equipped.
It's not all about capability, either. The Sprinter is easier to maneuver in tight quarters than old-school vans, while its diesel engine should deliver superior fuel economy. And while you won't find the carbon fiber and fancy leather that are in Mercedes' cars and SUVs, the Sprinter does have higher build quality than most rivals.
As you might expect with leading capability and quality though, the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter comes at a higher price than most rivals, and it's worth considering the competition. The 2015 Ford Transit and 2015 Ram ProMaster are both viable alternatives to the Sprinter, with good on-road manners and large cargo capacities of their own (even if they do fall well short of the Sprinter's best). The 2015 Nissan NV is also worth a look as prices are significantly lower to start, and there's an available V8 engine that boasts a towing capacity near 10,000 pounds. But even if there are more economical choices available, our favorite van for refinement, versatility and all-around capability is the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.
Trim levels & features
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a full-size van available in multiple configurations. The Cargo Van matches two front seats to an empty cargo bay, while the Crew Van essentially adds a three-place rear bench seat to the Cargo Van, raising seating capacity to five. The Passenger Van accommodates up to 12 passengers across its four-row seating. Both are available in two wheelbases and two roof heights (standard and High), with a third (Super High) available on the Cargo Van.
The Cargo Van offers standard and extended-length body styles in 2500 or 3500 configuration. The 2500 can be had with the standard, High and Super High Roof while the 3500 is only available with High Roof and Super High Roof configurations.
Standard equipment on the Cargo Van includes 16-inch steel wheels, hill-start assist, a passenger-side sliding rear door, a wood cargo floor, 270-degree-opening rear doors, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a five-speaker sound system with an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port.
The Crew Van (available only in 2500 configuration) gets the same standard equipment but adds a second-row bench seat and added adjacent side windows. The Passenger Van (also only available in 2500 configuration) is similar, but features three rows of rear seats, rear interior trim, tinted rear windows and eight rear speakers.
The options list for each is lengthy, but highlights include 16-inch alloy wheels, a driver-side sliding rear door, a heavy-duty suspension, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, bi-xenon headlights, a variety of high-tech driver safety aids (see Safety section), automatic headlights and wipers, a heated windshield, heated power mirrors, foglights, cruise control, heated front seats, a navigation system and different front seat designs.
Cargo and Crew Vans can be equipped with driver-compartment bulkheads, a roof fan, a fixed rear sunroof, roof rack mounting rails and various interior storage options. The Passenger Van can be equipped with a rear heater, rear air-conditioning and rear window wipers. Many of these optional items are available within packages as well.
Performance & mpg
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is powered by a choice of two engines. The first is a turbocharged 2.1-liter four-cylinder diesel generating 161 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. A seven-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard.
The second available engine is a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6 rated at 188 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. It is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission and comes standard with rear-wheel drive. Four-wheel drive with either a high-range or high-and-low-range transfer case is also available. There are no EPA fuel economy estimates available, but given the efficiency of diesel engines, expect the Sprinter to achieve significantly better mileage than competitors with gasoline engines.
Properly equipped and regardless of engine, a Sprinter 2500 can tow up to 5,000 pounds and a 3500 can tow up to 7,500 pounds. The Sprinter's payload is similarly impressive. The 2500 Cargo Van is rated from 2,973 pounds to 3,513 pounds, depending on body configuration. The 3500, meanwhile, ranges from 3,895 to 5,585 pounds.
Every 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter comes standard with stability and traction control, front airbags and rollover mitigation. Also standard on single-rear wheel Sprinters is Crosswind Assist, which uses targeted braking at speeds above 50 mph for extra stability control.
Optional safety features include a driver-side airbag, driver- and front passenger-side airbags packaged together, front side curtain airbags, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, a blind-spot warning system, lane keeping assist and a frontal collision warning system that can also prime the brakes for maximum effectiveness if an imminent collision is detected.
There's no escaping the sheer size of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, especially when configured to its maximum size: more than 24 feet long and 10 feet high. In spite of its tour-buslike dimensions and layout, the Sprinter travels well, with its huge windshield and snub nose front end. A manageable carlike driving position and impressive handling make the Mercedes van pleasant and surprisingly maneuverable around town.
We've yet to drive a Sprinter with the new diesel-powered four-cylinder engine or with the optional four-wheel drive available with the bigger V6 engine. But given that this van sometimes struggles to keep up on the highway with the V6 and two-wheel drive, it's safe to say that speedy acceleration isn't a priority here. Indeed, "Sprinter" is an oxymoron. If you require more highway aptitude along with massive interior space, the Nissan NV is a good alternative but the four-wheel-drive option for the Sprinter really makes it stand out in the class as the most capable van for poor weather conditions.
While it is made by Mercedes-Benz, the 2015 Sprinter isn't exactly a paragon of luxury and opulence. That said, build quality is better than other full-size vans and it certainly feels modern. A tilt-and-telescoping steering column and different front-seat styles with multiple adjustments ensure ample driver comfort, while the modern control layout feels more like a midsize SUV than a utilitarian van. Buttons and knobs are a bit basic, but functional and easy to use.
With the standard 144-inch wheelbase and the standard roof height, the Sprinter's maximum cargo capacity is 319 cubic feet. However, in its largest configuration (the 170-inch wheelbase with the Super High Roof), the Sprinter cargo van has a maximum storage capacity of 586 cubic feet. The largest Ford Transit can hold 487 cubes, while the ProMaster Cargo offers 4 cubes. The Sprinter's 51-inch sliding door and 20-inch step-in height also make climbing inside incredibly easy, be it cargo or passenger van.
While the standard roof height on the Sprinter is about class-average at 65 inches, the High Roof option raises the ceiling to 78.2 inches. As if that weren't tall enough, there's now a Super High Roof option that raises it to 84.3 inches. That's more than 7 feet of interior height, and more than enough to be the segment leader.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.