About two months ago we reviewed the 2014 Sprinter 2500 Passenger Van, which is not a vehicle that gets a lot of reviews. It’s a tall, long cargo van that focuses more on function and utility than form or comfort. It appears that Mercedes-Benz is moving forward with plans to bring the smaller, luxury-oriented V-Class van to the U.S., but until that happens the Sprinter will remain the only van under the Mercedes-Benz marquee in the States. To supplement our review, we’d like to draw attention to Road & Track’s recent review of the 2014 Sprinter.
Mercedes-Benz is all about luxury. Whether considering a roadster, coupe, sedan, wagon or SUV, this brand is all about providing an excellently-crafted experience with premium materials, controls, technology and design. Beneath all of that there happens to be precisely-engineered machinery and mechanics, but the utility aspect of a Mercedes-Benz is usually overshadowed by the carefully-sculpted surface. Watch any commercial by the automaker and you’ll get this sense: a soothing voiceover, a remarkably composed vehicle, an actor wearing just the trace of a smile, and something to suggest rewarding yourself.
The Sprinter is not about luxury. It’s a vehicle for business, not pleasure, and though a very nice business vehicle—Mercedes-Benz gave it a glossy remake for 2014—it is something of an anomaly for the brand. Business owners need to get things done, and they need the following values from a vehicle: reliability, low cost and spaciousness. That’s it. The Sprinter van therefore reflects these values, but being a Mercedes-Benz, it also comes with things that don’t fall strictly within those categories.
There’s a technologically advanced LCD screen for navigation, communication, mobile connection and camera vision. There are safety systems that MB has poured years into developing: Lane-keeping assist, forward collisions alert, blind spot alerts and crosswind assist soon. There’s a highly-efficient and robust four-cylinder diesel that is exceptionally well-made and capitalizes on a seven-speed transmission. Drivetrains this well-made are not typically found in business-class vehicles, which is the point.
We highly recommend Road & Track’s review of the 2014 Sprinter, and that you come by Leith, Inc. Authorized Mercedes-Benz Sales and Service to try one for yourself. As the review notes, they’re remarkably easy to drive and open many possibilities for drivers dissatisfied with the familiarity of coupes, sedans and SUVs.