The 2021 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a talented full-size van with diverse configurability, immense capability, and impressive technology. While the Mercedes is pricier than alternatives such as the Ford Transit and Nissan NV vans, it has an extra level of refinement and more upscale options, including an available 10.3-inch touchscreen. Along with multiple roof heights as well as cargo, crew, and passenger models, the Sprinter can be equipped with a trio of potent engines, including a diesel four-cylinder and a diesel V-6. The latter is the only one that can be paired with four-wheel drive, though. With an array of available driver assists that include adaptive cruise control and a self-parking feature, the 2022 Sprinter is as high-tech as it is hard-working, which should please tradesmen and commercial drivers.
What’s New for 2021?
For 2021, the Sprinter lineup adds several new standard features. These include automated emergency braking, cruise control, a multifunction steering wheel, and power-adjustable exterior side mirrors. A floor cover behind the seat box is also now available.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
With so many variations and price points, your budget and needs should dictate which Sprinter van is right for your business or personal needs. However, we do recommend saving some money for the option packages that include the van’s available safety systems. We’d recommend the Driver Convenience package (blind-spot monitor, driver-attention monitor, power-folding exterior mirrors, etc.) and the Premium package that includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, and more.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Sprinter cargo, passenger, and crew vans all are offered with three engine choices. The standard powertrain is a 188-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a nine-speed automatic transmission. Although that’s not much power for such a large vehicle, it’s more than sufficient for lighter-duty work. Mercedes also offers two turbo-diesel options: a 2.0-liter four-pot and a 3.0-liter V-6. The former produces 166 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, and the latter is rated at 188 horses and 325 pound-feet. Both diesel variants come with a seven-speed automatic transmission, however, only the six-cylinder is offered with four-wheel drive. The Transit is also offered with four-wheel drive.
Towing and Payload Capacity
The Sprinter is capable of towing between 5000 and 7500 pounds, depending on the configuration. The Transit’s maximum tow-rating range starts lower at 4000 pounds and tops out at 6800 pounds. However, the V-8-powered NV’s towing capacity maxes out at 9500 pounds. The Mercedes’s payload ratings are also higher than the Ford’s, with figures that range from 3252 to 7506 pounds versus 2880 to 4550 pounds. The Nissan’s payload capacity maxes out at 3720 pounds, but it’s not available with a dual-rear-wheel axle like the other two vans.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Fuel economy is not estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on commercial vehicles with a gross-vehicle-weight rating (GVWR) of more than 8500 pounds.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Two reasons the Sprinter is so popular are its comfort and refinement. Its interior has a high-quality feel and remains quiet on the highway. Its seats are well-shaped so they don’t break your back after hours behind the wheel, and a Swivel Seat package is available, which makes getting in and out of the van much easier. The Sprinter also offers massive amounts of space. Cargo versions offer as much as 533 cubic feet of space. That’s larger than some New York City apartments—and more than you get in the largest version of the Ford Transit. Passenger versions of the Sprinter with the 144-inch wheelbase seat 12 comfortably, while the 170-inch wheelbase versions can fit 15.
Infotainment and Connectivity
In-cabin infotainment systems are rarely a high priority in this class, which is why Mercedes keeps the good stuff as extra-cost options. The standard audio system is a basic AM/FM radio with a small LCD screen, Bluetooth, and a single USB-C port. Included in the Premium package is an updated system with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, while the Premium Plus package includes a 10.3-inch screen—the largest in this class—navigation and a wireless phone-charging pad. A Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are not available, which is disappointing in such an expensive vehicle.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Mercedes provides the Sprinter with a list of driver-assistance technology, but the majority of systems offered are optional. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Available blind-spot monitor
- Available lane-keeping assist
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mercedes-Benz’s limited warranty on the Sprinter is typical for this class. However, its powertrain coverage is longer than most. Nissan has the longest warranty in the class, covering the NV van from bumper to bumper for five years or 100,000 miles. Mercedes also doesn’t pay for any scheduled maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers three years or 36,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers five years or 100,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance