The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (formerly known as a Dodge) is one of the best commercial vans on the market today. Since the departure of the Ford E-Series, it is one of the best values in the segment. However, many contractors, workers and delivery services stay away from this vehicle for a very simple reason: in our winter wonderland, a rear-wheel drive with little to no weight on the back axle is useless when you move away from the big city, and you have to be on the road before the snow plows. They usually end up in pickup trucks with 4WD. Mercedes realized this oversight was leeching sales away from them, so they decided to offer a 4x4 version of the Sprinter (already sold in Europe for the past couple of years) in North America.
Only available with the 3.0L Bluetec engine (188 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque) and the 5-speed automatic transmission, the 4x4 Sprinter feature a locking central diff with low-range, just like a good old-fashioned Jeep! At the touch of a button (okay, maybe not EXACTLY like a Jeep), the low-range is activated, shortening the gear ratio by 41 percent. As you can see in the picture, the van is also a little higher than the rear-wheel drive models, featuring a (11 cm up front and 8 cm at the rear) body lift.
- Also: 2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: A Garden Shed on Wheels
- Also: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Arctic Drive Diary - Day One
When the 4x4 system is engaged, torque is split with a 35/65 ratio from front to back. From there, the ESP system monitors each wheel and applies individual brakes to ensure optimal traction in all situations.
Almost all versions of the Sprinter will be available with four-wheel drive, except the chassis-cab and heavy-duty (3500) models.
With our everlasting winters (this one especially!), the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 will be a welcome addition to commercial fleets, which until now had to haul people and cargo in multiple smaller vehicles.