Getting behind the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Getting behind the wheel of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter remains firmly in the running when it comes to the best that builders can buy. Professional Builder gets behind the wheel.

In the race to be leader of the pack amongst premium vans the Sprinter continues to perform more like a marathon runner. With the staying power to remain firmly in contention over many years, it has been consistently heralded as amongst the superior LCVs on the market, and the latest iteration will do nothing to detract from that status. 

This is the vehicle investment for the shrewder small building business owner. One that values total cost of ownership and the reputational value the Mercedes-Benz brand exudes to existing and potential clients. What has also consistently attracted the attention of the construction industry is the sheer variety that the Sprinter platform affords. The building sector is amongst the most diverse in the UK, with each trade demanding their own unique set of tools and equipment, and that extends to their trusty workhorse.

With three wheelbases, four vehicle lengths and three roof heights – as well as chassis, chassis crewcab and dropside options – there’s a multitude of configurations to be had. Our test vehicle was the L2 H2 model with vital statistics that stand at a load length of 3,375mm with a volume of 10.5m3. Choose the L4 H2 and that extends to 4,810mm in length and 15.5m3, with a maximum payload of 2,479kg, all of which means that, regardless of what you’re accustomed to carrying, there is a Sprinter for you.

Despite that considerable expanse, however, it never feels like you’re driving a large working vehicle. That’s a reality that’s undoubtedly helped by the 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission, an optional feature on our test drive, which is effortless controlled via the steering wheel mounted paddle shifter. What that delivers on the road is a seamless gear change, with the fuel-saving and comfort gains of lower revs, not to mention less noise. Indeed, the ride quality remains amongst the finest to be had, whether that’s on the motorway or around town.

Our vehicle loan is a rear wheel drive, but the Sprinter is also now available as a front wheel, with the latter providing a slightly higher payload. The Sprinter is supplied with a 2.0 litre, fourcylinder, powertrain as standard with a choice of 141, 148, or 187bhp outputs.

One of the biggest advances in vans in recent years has been the introduction of ever greater levels of connectivity, and Mercedes-Benz claims to have developed one of the most advanced systems on the market. It allows you to access and interrogate all kinds of data, including fuel consumption. There are geofencing and alarm monitoring functions through its Theft Management support, whilst servicing and maintenance can be more efficiently managed.  

Smart features

A user-friendly 7-in. touch is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a DAB radio, with the added convenience on our Sprinter review van of a navigation system, which is an option in the Sprinter range. Just as with heights, lengths and payloads, the Mercedes-Benz concept is very much about tailoring the spec to individual need and there’s a huge range of equipment that can be added to do just that. At the same time, even if you don’t opt to pay more for those added creature comforts the standard vehicle is based on a generous spec that includes Active Brake Assist, Attention Assist, automatic headlights, Keyless Start, electrical power steering, and an adjustable multi-function steering wheel with touch control buttons.  

There isn’t any scrimping when it comes to safety either. Mercedes-Benz has a long and proud history of being first to market with many safety systems and that’s reflected in the current line-up. Active Brake Assist puts the brakes on the vehicle autonomously, which could save you from a rear-end collision or with a pedestrian. There’s an Attention Assist system that detects driver fatigue. Moreover, if the worst does happen, and you’re involved in an accident, Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call will summon rescue services with the Sprinter automatically applying its brakes to prevent secondary collisions. 

The choice is yours

The Sprinter has always been notable for generous levels of room, storage and comfort in the cab and the latest variant is no different. The theme of choice is here again evident with modular compartments that can be configured to your needs. The interior equally achieves the balance of a quality van whilst maintaining the durability and robustness that’s essential for the rough and tumble of a building site. There are three trim levels – Pure, Progressive and Premium – with the Sprinter we experienced sitting in the last and highest of those categories. That includes the bonus of a driver’s comfort seat, air conditioning and the Parking Package, which offers a 360° Camera and parking sensors.

The Sprinter van has been within us since 1995 and there’s certainly no sign that its race is run. In that time, it’s secured enough industry awards to fill its considerable cargo bay and the aura of Mercedes-Benz will in itself always attract admirers  

For further information on the Mercedes Benz Sprinter, including full pricing and specification, visit

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