The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter can be bought as a cargo van or a passenger van version. Either version can also come with two wheel base size options, 144 inch or 170inch. With the cargo version, the 170 inch wheel base allows for more cargo space, while with the passenger version, the 170 inch allows for 15 passengers but the 144 inch for only 12 passengers.
In the United States the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is very popular in all versions, with 50% being sold as cargo vans and the other 50% as passenger vans. In its passenger capacity, it is used as a family vehicle, limousine, shuttle bus and can even come with wheelchair access.
Entry and Exit for Passengers
Today’s Sprinter offers passengers a sliding door that can be operated by a button on the B-Pillar, consul, or with a key.
To ensure enhanced passenger protection, the sliding door automatically stops if it detects objects or passengers in its way.
The passenger door also features an automatic step which slides out for easy entry and exit.
Sprinter Passenger Van Seating Capacity
Including the driver, a Sprinter with a 144 inch wheelbase can seat 12 people comfortably. The driver and the front passenger sit in bucket seats, while the rest sit in two rows of 3 seats behind them and then a row of 4 seats at the back.
The 170 inch wheelbase Sprinter can accommodate a total of 15 people, including the driver. Once again the driver and front passenger have bucket seats. To the rear of them are three rows of 3 seats followed by a row of 4 seats at the rear.
In both designs, the rows of only 3 seats allow for easy access to the back row of seats.
Pros and Cons of a Sprinter as a Passenger Van
Pros of Sprinter Passenger Van
Comfort – The size and design of the Sprinter means all the passengers are comfortable.
Variety – The Sprinter offers a wide variety of different configurations.
Entertainment – All new Sprinter Passenger Vans come with a 5.8-inch infotainment display, 13 speaker sound system, Bluetooth, and USB sockets.
Cons of the Sprinter Passenger Van
Size – Although providing ample space for passengers, the large size of the Sprinter makes it harder to find appropriate parking spaces.
Towing Capacity – The maximum towing capacity of a Sprinter is lower than for many other types of van.
Price – Sprinter is more expensive than many other types of van.
Sprinter Climate Control
For additional passenger comfort, the modern Sprinter incorporates a ‘thermotronic’ automatic climate system.
This system monitors both the inside and outside temperatures of the van to ensure a constant interior climate.
The Sprinter Cab
There is a clean design to dashboard with a minimum of buttons. Due to the Sprinter height and its tall windows the driver gets excellent outside visibility and plenty of headroom inside.
While the shorter Sprinter passenger van has the option of a high roof or standard roof, with the extended version, a high roof is the standard option.
Price of a Sprinter Passenger Van
Although the initial price of the Sprinter may seem higher than for other passenger vans, the comfort and technology are also higher than for most other vans.
Consistent Driving Practices
By monitoring the driver’s driving patterns, its driver assist system indicates when it senses signs of fatigue.
A safety system also gives a warning if something is detected in the driver’s blind-spot.
A further safety device emits both an audio and visual warning of a potential collision.
King of the Road
With an inventory of 21 different variations for the Sprinter Cargo van and an impressive 10 different variations for the Sprinter passenger van, it is considered by many to be the King among vans.
Although the Sprinter in its standard form has more high tech and safety features than many other vans, it can still come with additional extras at an extra cost.
These optional extras include a 10.25-inch touchscreen, rain sensing wipers, wireless smartphone charging, traffic sign recognition, integrated navigation system, surround view camera, black leatherette seats, and alloy wheels.
Sprinter Engine Options
The standard engine for the Sprinter van is a Mercedes-Benz’s four cylinder, 2 liter turbo gas engine, which can provide 188 hp and 258lb-ft of torque.
This engine is coupled with a nine speed automatic transmission and with paddle shifters. Although it is rear wheel drive, there is a four wheel drive version available for those who intend to drive off road.
A turbo diesel option is also available for better fuel efficiency and power. The diesel option is a turbo charged V6, 3-liter engine which can produce 188 hp and 325 lb-ft of torque. This option will provide extra muscle for steep hills or rugged terrain. This engine is coupled with a seven speed automatic transmission.
The Sprinter Passenger Van 2019
The new Sprinter Passenger Van which has been available in the US since 2019, has comfortable seating for 15 people plus ample storage area.
As well as being available with a nine speed transmission and gas engine it is also available with seven-speed automatic transmission and diesel engine. If requested, there is also a four-wheel drive option available.
Three Generations of Sprinter
Since the Sprinter was first introduced in Europe in 1995, when it was named van of the year, it has gone through three generations of design.
The first generation was introduced in the United States in 2001, after which it was distributed under different brand names until 2006.
Although the second generation of Sprinter was introduced in Europe in 2005, it did not become available in the US until 2007.
In both 2007 and 2008, the Professional Van and Light Truck Magazine named it Van of the Year.
The introduction of the 2nd generation Sprinter in the US saw it available in many different options including two weight classes, two heights and a choice of three different lengths, short, long and extended.
Although the 3rd generation Sprinter was not introduced until 2019, it did see significant upgrades made in 2013, which first appeared in the 2014 International Commercial Vehicles Show.
As well as including a different design for the grill and headlights it also included additional driver assistance systems such as crosswind stabilization and blind-spot monitoring.
The 3rd generation of the Sprinter was introduced by Mercedes-Benz at their Duisburg center in 2018, and it was this generation that was first to introduce a front wheel drive system.
Mercedes-Benz is of course well known for its vehicle’s innovative technology, and reliability.These qualities are not just evident in their Sprinter cargo vans but also in their sprinter passenger vans.
The versatility of the Sprinter is possibly what makes it as popular as it is.
Its size makes it ideal for use as an ambulance in many countries, including the US, and its reliability makes it suitable for use as a police vehicle in countries like the UK and Poland.
While the Sprinter passenger vans have a maximum seat configuration that still allows for ample baggage, the rows of seats are easily removable should you have fewer passengers with extra baggage.
Even with maximum passengers though, the Sprinter offers a comfortable ride, and attention to detail is easily evident compared to other passenger vans.
The Sprinter in both cargo van and passenger van versions has been popular in the US for many years. In more recent years with the extra attention paid to passenger comfort and safety the passenger version continues to increase in popularity.
Whether the Sprinter is used as a family vehicle or a hotel shuttle, its large size and passenger comfort often make it more practical than other passenger vans. Its reliability can be seen by its increasing use as an emergency vehicle of one sort or another in a variety of different countries.
The Sprinter is certainly a van not to be overlooked if you are searching for a van to be used for transporting passengers. Not only will it provide them with a safe ride, but with the Sprinter’s enhanced infotainment system, it will also provide them with a comfortable and entertaining journey.