A Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Can Actually be a Bold Ride
OK, I'll be the first to admit that a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter cargo van probably doesn't belong on a site like BoldRide.com. It's more appropriate for DieselWeiners.com, or some German fanboy site like that. But then I drove the 2015 Sprinter in South Carolina at its finishing facility – and was my mind changed. This cargo van/passenger van/ambulance – pretty much whatever you can dream up – rocks it thanks to two new features: 4x4 and electronic stability control. RELATED: See pictures of Hyundai's Stratus Sprinter
Lets look at the latter first. What's bold about stability control? Usually nothing, but add 1,400 lbs. of water and an 800-lb. steel cage and suddenly all bets are off. Off as in the stability control was turned off. The test driver cranked it up to 30 mph – and did an evasive maneuver – and we tipped.
Fortunately our rig had support arms welded on the side and we didn't go skidding down the parking lot screaming our heads off.
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Then the same maneuver was done at 44 mph. The difference this time was the stability control was turned back on. The Sprinter lifted the passenger side wheels oh so briefly and then firmly planted themselves back on terra firma.
Disaster averted. The stability genies constantly monitor the vehicle's load and make adjustments. Is somebody going to drive with 1,400 lbs. of water and an 800-lb steel cage? Probably not but it's good to know this ESP is going to save you in an emergency.
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The next bold feature is 4x4. Sprinter set us up on a challenging short course. The Sprinter performed admirably through deep ruts and steep inclines.
Is it going to conquer Moab? Probably not, but its body is lifted by 4.3 inches at the front and 3.1 inches in the rear. The all-wheel drive system can be activated at the push of a button. Torque is then distributed at a ratio of 35:65 between the front and rear axle.
The Sprinter 4x4 can also be equipped with an optional low range gear that makes it even more sure-footed in difficult terrain. When the driver pushes the low-range button, the gearing is shortened by 42%.
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This is the latest evolution in cargo vans. Dare I say it? They're almost becoming cool. Besides, the Sprinter V6 3.0-liter puts out a respectable 325 lb. ft. of torque. It may weigh 8550 lbs. but it's pretty quick on its feet.
Slap some spinners on the tires, lay down flame graphics, and an 800-watt sound system and we're good to go. Sprinter 4x4 goes on sale first quarter of 2015 if you want to order now.
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