The year 2006 doesn’t appear like it was all that long earlier up until you start thinking about it: George W. Bush was still in the White House. Blu-Ray discs struck the market. Pixar’s first Cars film premiered. It’s been a long twelve years since we last saw a brand new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, but the 2018 (2019 for us here in the U.S.) third-generation Sprinter is here, looking likewise handsome from the outdoors and packed with brand-new tech and forward thinking that belie its familiar look.
With an eye towards future growth in metropolitan centers, online retail, and CEP (carrier, reveal, and parcel) services, the new Sprinter is less a brand new vehicle than it is a platform for Mercedes-Benz to position itself as a leader in business fleet logistics support and technologies. The Sprinter’s dashboard and controls are upgraded to bring it in line with current-generation Mercedes vehicles, with the brand-new van being second model to get the company’s impressive MBUX multimedia system. That suggests a 10.25-inch touchscreen alternately controlled from the steering wheel or through voice activation. The setup also consists of USB-C outlets, and iPad-quick graphics.
The cockpit has been enhanced to serve exactly what Mercedes sees as its function as an office rather than merely a chauffeur’s seat. Safety technologies that previously had been appearing only in Mercedes-Benz cars and SUVs will be offered on the brand-new Sprinter. Active brake help, lane keeping help, and an optional parking plan with a 360-degree video camera are alternatives, with crosswind assist and speed-sensitive electric power steering requirement.
Mercedes-Benz has developed the Sprinter to be part of the “Internet of Things” (we can’t stand the term either). To that end, the third-generation Sprinter’s fantastic leap forward is its use of the Mercedes PRO connect system. PRO links fleet managers to all their vehicles, enabling them to reassign drivers on the fly and keep an eye on whatever from location (now precise to simply 10 feet) to fuel levels to maintenance schedules in real-time. Additional packages will be offered to personalize PRO to particular fleet needs: digital logbooks, fleet communication services, and more.
After a 2013 refresh, the cosmetics of the 2018 Sprinter stay relatively undamaged. The new van is much better searching in the face, however slightly more anonymous, too; it’ll be difficult to tell a third-generation Sprinter from a second-generation at a glimpse. In between optional lengths, tonnage requirements, heights, physique (traveler, panel van, pickup, chassis), and powertrains, Mercedes-Benz claims there are over 1,700 various configurations of the third-generation Sprinter. A front-wheel drive option is new to the European market, which will be able to haul an additional 110 pounds, and facilitate future installation of the electrical drive system of the eVito (the electrical Metris van not offered in the US). A second bonus of the front-wheel drive Sprinter is that it permits a minor lower floor, increasing general storage and making loading and discharging simpler– no small thing if you’re making 100-150 stops a day.
Mercedes-Benz has actually verified that due to demand, the U.S. will get an optional fuel engine. It’s safe to presume that the 3.0-liter diesel V6 will stay an option too. Europe will see the 2.1-liter 4-cylinder and 3.0-liter 6-cylinder diesel engines, with the electrical alternative getting here next year. A 9-speed automated transmission will be pertaining to North America, with the 7G-Tronic Plus and a brand-new 6-speed manual available in other markets (the manual being available for front-wheel drive Sprinters). There’s no main word on when we may see the eSprinter in the United States, however reports have it as a near-certainty.
Mercedes-Benz is presently taking orders for the 2018 Sprinter with European shipments starting in June. Look for its U.S. arrival in the third quarter of 2018.