|Fergus Conheady with the new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van|
The latest range of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter panel vans is now on sale priced from €21,950 ex VAT.
This new generation Sprinter is 100 per cent new from tip to tail and is regarded as a conquest vehicle for the brand.
It is launched with a new design as well as passenger car levels of comfort and safety, a generous load volume and carrying capacity, the addition of front wheel drive, and a new infotainment and connectivity system which will result in better fleet management, lower operating costs and maximum cost effectiveness.
The company say this is ‘an all rounder for any business sector’. The diverse market includes couriers, express deliveries and parcel services operators, those who use their van as a mobile parts store and workshop; food delivery sector, constructions operatives and trades people, shuttle service, minibus and passenger transport providers. Specialist users like ambulance and rescue services are also targeted.
Sprinter can be adapted to almost any requirement as it comes in compact, standard, long and extra long lengths and three roof heights of standard, high and super high roof.
Six different body variants in five wheelbase options range from 3250mm up to 4325mm (rear-wheel drive) or 3924mm (front-wheel drive now offered for the first time and with the 80mm lower floor provides added load space); three body heights from 1,719mm to 2243mm;, five weight classes with load compartment volume increased up to 17cu metres with 5.5 tonnes capacity; three drive configurations of front, rear and 4-wheel drive and with a towing capacity of up to 3.5 tonnes.
GVW is up to 5,500kg; payload starts at 975kg.
Sliding offside access doors and split-opening rear doors give easy access to the load area - rear doors being fitted with self-arresting hinges can be safely opened and closed with just one hand making life easier for the busy operator.
The boot sill is low particularly on vans with FWD. Pallets can be loaded sideways.
The cockpit has also been redesigned; there is improved cabin comfort and driver access; and a new infotainment and connectivity system which will benefit a company’s fleet management.
High tech safety features offered include a Rear view camera which is standard on all vehicles; lights come on automatically in a dark parking area; and the vehicle recognises an accident and locks the brakes. Features include Cross Wind Assist, Active Brake Assist; Attention Assist; Blind Spot Radar Assist, and a wet wiper system that uses less water. There’s just a driver airbag but further airbags are available upon request.
Engines are a 3.0, 6-cylinder unit delivering 190hp and 440 Nm of torque and 4-cylinder units in three outputs for rear and front-wheel drive. The 2.1 engine, with rear-wheel drive, generates outputs of 114hp/143hp or 163hp. With front-wheel drive, the outputs range is from 114hp to 143hp and 177hp. Shifting is done manually via a 6-speed manual transmission or with the 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission.
Customers can model more than 1,700 different units to match whatever corporate or individual requirements they may have.
“Every panel is new, and it comes with proven power units and more variability. We call it our King of Vans,” Fergus Conheady, sales manager for Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles in Ireland said at the recent launch in The Powerscourt Hotel in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow.
He added: “There isn’t another manufacturer out there with a range like this. We have a retention rate of 80 per cent - if we can get people into our product, it’s likely they will stay there’. He said it is difficult to source 5- or 6-year old Sprinters as they continue to work well and that 50 per cent of Sprinters purchased get a fairly extensive upfit.
There’s just a driver airbag, but further ones are available on request.
We got a chance to test drive the Irish vans travelling in convoy on a challenging route around Co Wicklow which included every possible type of road a van could encounter including across the Sally Gap, the narrow and bumpy Military Road to Laragh. In all instances, both the FWD and RWD vehicles we drove proved their mettle; they were easy to drive and manoeuvre and offered great comfort for both myself and my passenger. Loads in each van varied from 450kg - 500kg with spare tyres in one and boxes in others.
First introduced in 1995, Sprinter has sold in excess of 3.4 million units worldwide. Its success is marked here in Ireland by the fact that all previous Sprinter models won the Irish ‘Van of the Year’ award in the years of their introduction. They have become distribution vehicles of choice amongst many high-profile names in food, drinks, courier, parcels and in engineering, manufacturing and servicing sectors.
An e-Sprinter version will arrive next year.
Pictured at the New Sprinter presentation to van journalists were Liam McEntee (Commercial Vehicle Controller), Gerry McDonnell (Area Sales Manager); Rob Dunne (Marketing Coordinator); and Fergus Conheady (Sales Manger) - all from Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles.