Sprinter is more of a rester

Sprinter is more of a rester

I ambled along to the Mercedes Sprinter (re)launch yesterday. I don’t usually go in for van launches because we don’t cover vans, but in this case it was worth it to see what technology Merc is carrying over from its passenger cars into van-land. Before I detect the faint vacuum of you yawning, let me just say that the cab of a Sprinter van is better than the majority of cars on the road, which is important as van-men (and women) will sometimes do a quarter of a million kilometres or more in a year! That’s a lot of butt-in-seat.

And it was a hugely comfortable suspension seat that I dropped my butt into to try out the most interesting and potentially impactful new features: the start-stop motor. This isn’t new in cars, but it is in vans. Roll to a stop, take the van out of gear, and  the engine stops after 3 seconds. Press the clutch and it starts. Mercedes reports average fuel savings of 5-8%, and on some trips up to 20%, and it won’t be pumping unburned diesel into the atmosphere while idling at the lights.

Passenger safety is also much improved with passenger cell deformation around 90% better. And then there’s the ubiquitous raft of acronyms that keep the van from going off the road in adverse situations – ESP, EBA, ASR, etc. The most interesting is the load-sensing electronic stability program and roll-over mitigation, which detects the centre of gravity of a load and adjusts the braking accordingly to avoid the van tipping over in extreme maneouvres.

The Sprinter is one of the most expensive vans on the market, but according to Brian Carr who heads up Mercedes-Benz’s commercial division in New Zealand it has one of the lowest total life cost of ownership. Certainly with the inclusion of ESP and the fuel saving, government and organisations accountable to the public for environmental performance are snapping them up.

I ambled along to the Mercedes Sprinter (re)launch yesterday. I don’t usually go in for van launches because we don’t cover vans, but in this case it was worth it to see what technology Merc is carrying over from its passenger cars into van-land. Before I detect the faint vacuum of you yawning, let me just say that the cab of a Sprinter van is better than the majority of cars on the road, which is important as van-men (and women) will sometimes do a quarter of a million kilometres or more in a year! That’s a lot of butt-in-seat.

And it was a hugely comfortable suspension seat that I dropped my butt into to try out the most interesting and potentially impactful new features: the start-stop motor. This isn’t new in cars, but it is in vans. Roll to a stop, take the van out of gear, and  the engine stops after 3 seconds. Press the clutch and it starts. Mercedes reports average fuel savings of 5-8%, and on some trips up to 20%, and it won’t be pumping unburned diesel into the atmosphere while idling at the lights.

Passenger safety is also much improved with passenger cell deformation around 90% better. And then there’s the ubiquitous raft of acronyms that keep the van from going off the road in adverse situations – ESP, EBA, ASR, etc. The most interesting is the load-sensing electronic stability program and roll-over mitigation, which detects the centre of gravity of a load and adjusts the braking accordingly to avoid the van tipping over in extreme maneouvres.

The Sprinter is one of the most expensive vans on the market, but according to Brian Carr who heads up Mercedes-Benz’s commercial division in New Zealand it has one of the lowest total life cost of ownership. Certainly with the inclusion of ESP and the fuel saving, government and organisations accountable to the public for environmental performance are snapping them up.

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