Built like an East German shot putter, is the best way to describe Mercedes LWB Sprinter, which arrived at CCV recently with the new Euro6 compliant engine fitted. With MB Commercial dealers still offering the Euro5 variant, if you want to get ahead of the new rules, then the extra cost of having the Euro6 version is £1120. In case your unsure about Euro6 & I was one, the brochure explains it thus. ‘ Complying with Euro6 involves topping up the tank under the bonnet with a liquid called AdBlue every few thousand miles. A mix of two-thirds demineralised water and one-third synthetic urea, it is required by the vehicle’s selective catalytic reduction (SCR) emission-control system. It is sprayed into the exhaust gases to ensure they stay within the legal limits. Fail to keep the tank topped up and a warning light will show on the dashboard. Keep ignoring it and the van will eventually slow to a crawl until you take action.’
Get into the new 3.5-tonne gross vehicle weight LWB high-roof Blue Efficiency 313CDI & the reassuringly well built interior greets you. High quality plastics adorn the dash & the seat fabric is great too. Mercedes has restyled the Sprinter’s front & has made some slight changes to the cab interior to coincide with Euro6’s arrival. The firm has also lowered the vehicle by around 30mm to enhance the aerodynamics making it easier to load & unload. Although there is no steering wheel adjustment, I got comfortable fairly easily & appreciated the commanding vision provided by the deep windscreen. The dash board is simplicity itself, although the single stalk which works the lights & wipers does take a little getting used to.
Extras fitted to my test van were pretty extensive & included; heat-insulating glass with additional sun strip filter on the windscreen, light and rain sensors, a step for the rear door, air conditioning with automatic heater control. There was also a driving assistance package, consisting of collision prevention assist, blind spot assist, lane keeping assist & high beam assist, plus tinted glass & electrically heated & adjustable mirrors, which adds another £2094 to the asking price. What wasn’t fitted though were rear parking sensors. When a delivery arrived at our office from DPD, the courier was driving the same LWB high roof Sprinter & the first thing he asked me was if the van had revising sensors. ” No ” I replied. “Then don’t try & go backwards in it, ” was his reply, as this is a very long van & I found it perplexing that sensors weren’t fitted, being I think far more useful for the driver than any of the above.
Storage space includes, a lockable glove box, a deep bin in each of the doors that is split in two, with a separate section designed to accommodate a large bottle of water. Beneath each bin is a lidded compartment, one of which holds a medical kit. On top of the fascia there are five shelves of various sizes, with the middle one designed for an A4 clipboard. Two shelves also incorporate cup-holders. Flip down the centre section of the middle seat and it turns into a desk with two more cup-holders plus a clip for a pen. On the front of the dashboard is a clip for paperwork. There are also two more shelves, above the windscreen on the driver’s & passenger side.
I only went in the back once, but it is cavernous with access to the 14m3 cargo bay by means of a sliding nearside door or twin rear doors that can be swung through 270°. Size wise, the rear door measures 1565mm wide by 1840mm high while the dimensions for the side door are 1300mm by 1820mm. A grab-handle is provided in each case so that you can pull yourself aboard. There are steps in the front bumper as well. To keep the cabin safe from movable objects, a really high quality full-height steel bulkhead was also fitted & the cabin was indeed brilliantly quiet. To strap down cargo, with 10 tie-down rings set into the floor, which also has a slip-resistant timber cover, plus two at the base of the bulkhead. The maximum load length is 4300mm, whilst overall width is 1993mm & maximum height 2720 mm. Gross payload capacity is 1145kg & this Sprinter could tow a braked trailer grossing of up to 2000kg.
The four-cylinder 16-valve 2.1-litre common-rail turbocharged intercooled diesel engine which delivers 129hp at 3800rpm, never feels inadequate, although I did test the Sprinter unladen.Top torque of 305Nm kicks in across a wide 1200rpm to 2400rpm plateau & the engine is married to a six-speed manual gearbox. Drive is to the rear wheels through a 240mm-diameter single-plate dry clutch, and a particulate filter is fitted. My test van had a limiter fitted which prevented me going much above 80 mph. For a big van it is remarkably manoeuvrable & to my surprise, I didn’t struggle with it’s size at all. Having said that, it is really a motorway performer & needs to be given some respect by the driver around town & in supermarket car parks. In my 300 mile week I averaged 25.6 mpg, some way below the claimed average of 35.8mpg. I drove mostly on the motorway so I found this a little disappointing.
Safety is always to the fore with MB product & this Sprinter was no different. Included in the safety package alongside ABS is an adaptive electronic stability programme (ESP) that takes into account the positioning of the van’s load prior to intervening. The package also embraces Start-off Assist, which should stop you rolling backwards when moving away on an incline. Other features include acceleration skid control (ASR), hydraulic brake assistance (BAS) & electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD). As previously mentioned though no reversing sensors were fitted & I would strongly recommend that of all the extras MB could sell you on this van, they should be your highest priority.
At £29,110, this largest of Sprinters isn’t cheap. However, it’s a really high quality product & with MB’s reliability being second to none, you should get years’ of good work from it if you choose one. Add in a great warranty, a dealer network that offers 24 hour servicing & repairs & your worries should disappear. Competition in this sector is stronger than ever with VW, Renault, Vauxhall, Peugeot Citroen & Fiat Pro all battling for the LWB van customer. In my opinion, the Sprinter is still the best in terms of quality, but on the flip side costs more to buy. Only you can decide.
An anabolic steroid 4/5