2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van Review

Even though it's got a luxury badge, the Sprinter is a willing and able workhorse.
author
by Calvin Kim
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

If you're reading this, you're either curious about well-designed and -executed cargo and passenger vans, or you had no idea that Mercedes-Benz, purveyor of luxury cars, also made a big box on wheels. But whatever the case, you're likely to find that the 2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is an interesting vehicle.

Commercial vehicles need to be tough and durable. But they also need to be comfortable and easy to use because the people who operate them sit and work in them for hours on end. The 2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter covers both aspects admirably.

The Sprinter has been proven to be well-built and intuitive to use, and it provides great visibility and maneuverability. The back half of the van, where all the work gets done, is available in multiple configurations. There are two wheelbase choices with different matching body lengths. The long-wheelbase model is also available with an extended body for even more cargo volume. Two roof heights are available. You can even equip it with all-wheel drive.

In addition to the Sprinter's basic configurations, you can also select upfitter options to help with hauling cargo or keeping passengers comfortable. What's not available for 2018 is the four-cylinder engine; only the turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6 is available this year. Most will find its performance perfectly adequate for hauling the Sprinter and up to 5,000 pounds of trailer.

Should the Sprinter be too big for your needs, Mercedes-Benz also makes a much smaller van called the Metris. It shares the same do-it-all attitude and quality construction, but in a more compact package.



What's new for 2018

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter drops the four-cylinder engine, making the six-cylinder turbodiesel your only choice. To comply with federal regulations, a rearview camera is standard on all but the Cab Chassis model. Laminated glass will be used in all side windows, and rear windows will use tinted glass as standard on all models. All 3500 series Sprinters will come in dual rear-wheel configuration, while all Sprinter Passenger and Crew vans will come in the high-roof configuration. The super high-roof option is no longer available.

We recommend

You likely have very specific requirements for a work van. Whether transporting VIP passengers, hauling pallets of cargo, or outfitting your tall-roof, long-wheelbase model with the four-wheel-drive system for some overlanding, there's a Sprinter that's right for the job. Just match the configuration to your needs.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a full-size van available in cargo, passenger and crew configurations. The cargo van features two seats and a large cargo bay, while the crew van adds a three-place bench for five-passenger seating. The passenger van can carry up to 12 passengers. All vans come in two wheelbase lengths. A high roof is standard on Passenger and Crew, while the Cargo can be had with either a standard roof or a high roof. Sprinters are divided into regular 2500 and heavy-duty 3500 models. All are powered by a 3.0-liter diesel V6 (188 horsepower, 325 pound-feet of torque) and a five-speed automatic. Four-wheel drive is optional on many configurations.

Standard equipment on the cargo van (offered in standard and extended-length body styles and 2500 and 3500 configurations) 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, a rearview camera, a 5.8-inch center display, and a 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 adjacent side windows. The passenger van (also only available in 2500 configuration) is similar, but it features three rows of rear seats, rear interior trim and tinted rear windows.

The options list is lengthy, but highlights include 16-inch alloy wheels, a driver-side sliding rear door, a heavy-duty suspension, front and rear parking sensors, xenon headlights, foglights, rear door windows with wipers and washers, an Active Safety Plus package of high-tech safety aids, automatic headlights and wipers, a heated windshield, heated power mirrors, cruise control, a rear cabin heater, upgraded front seats, heated front seats and a navigation system.

Cargo and crew vans can be equipped with driver-compartment partitions, a roof fan, a fixed rear sunroof, roof rails and various interior storage options. The passenger van can be equipped with rear air conditioning. Many of these optional items are available within packages as well.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our test of a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 144 WB Passenger w/High Roof (turbo 3.0L V6 diesel | 5-speed automatic | RWD).

Driving

The turbocharged six-cylinder diesel engine is a bit slow to get up to speed. Low-speed maneuvers create some challenges for this big rig.

Acceleration

This 6,000-pound van did 0-60 mph in 11.5 seconds. The 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 doesn't feel powerful off the line, but once up to speed it's pretty easy to maintain the truck's forward momentum.

Braking

The Sprinter slowed from 60 mph in 138 feet during our emergency panic-stop test. The brakes remained consistent in feel and performance during testing, as well as out on the road in typical driving.

Steering

The steering is precise considering the van's purpose as a pure people-mover. The effort is heavy enough to feel steady on the highway yet light enough for parking lot duty.

Handling

The Sprinter is relatively narrow considering how tall it is. Taking sharp turns at speed is not this van's forte. An assertive stability control system lends a hand if it senses the van going beyond its limits.

Drivability

Despite its dimensions, this conference room on wheels is easy to drive. Tight parking lots can create some stress because of its size, and the modest backup camera is only somewhat helpful.

Off-road

Four-wheel drive is available on many configurations, but given this van's high center of gravity and low ground clearance, the Sprinter is really only suited for relatively graded or well-worn dirt trails.

Comfort

Passenger comfort is a priority for the Sprinter. Occupants will find ample space to spread out. The seats are reasonably comfortable over long distances. The ride quality improves as the passenger head count increases.

Seat comfort

The driving position is upright, but the seats are comfy even during longer drives. The rear seats provide ample leg-, hip- and headroom.

Ride comfort

Without question, rearmost passengers will find the Sprinter's ride bouncier than those up front. Still, it's perfectly acceptable whether empty or fully occupied.

Noise & vibration

Our test van's additional insulation is meant for warmth, but it doubles as sound insulation. Some wind and tire noise reaches the cabin, especially when running empty.

Interior

The Sprinter offers lots of room for people and cargo. Driver aids exist to help maneuver the van in tight quarters. But parking still remains a challenge with such a big vehicle.

Ease of use

All controls are within reach of the driver and functionally intuitive. This is an older version of the Mercedes COMAND system, so the layout is simple.

Getting in/getting out

The Sprinter has a step leading into it, which is necessary considering it sits so high off the ground. The doors are large, so some folks may find them a bit heavy to open and close.

Roominess

The front seats fit most body types fine. Farther back, the large bench seats offer lots of leg- and headroom. Only then does hiproom get tight.

Visibility

The massive windows, an optional parking aid system and a rearview camera serve as needed driver aids. That said, there are still several blind spots with this large van.

Quality

The build quality on our test Sprinter was commendable. We didn't hear any squeaks or rattles. It was solid and true to the level of build quality we expect from Mercedes-Benz.

Utility

Especially in cargo or crew configuration, this is one of the most utilitarian vans available. Whether running a contracting business or a professional mountain biking team, the Sprinter will carry your stuff. But some rival vans can tow more.

Technology

This is about as basic as it gets. There's an optional turn-of-the-millennium navigation system on a small 5.8-inch display. Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, USB and an iPod interface are standard.

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.