New Mercedes eSprinter review

Category: Electric Van

The eSprinter electric van can carry big volumes, decent payloads and is good to drive

Mercedes eSprinter front right driving
  • Mercedes eSprinter front right driving
  • Mercedes eSprinter interior dashboard
  • Mercedes eSprinter load bay
  • Mercedes eSprinter interior driver display
  • Mercedes eSprinter right driving
  • Mercedes eSprinter front cornering
  • Mercedes eSprinter front right static
  • Mercedes eSprinter rear left static
  • Mercedes eSprinter interior front seats
  • Mercedes eSprinter interior steering wheel
  • Mercedes eSprinter interior infotainment screen
  • Mercedes eSprinter load bay
  • Mercedes eSprinter front right driving
  • Mercedes eSprinter interior dashboard
  • Mercedes eSprinter load bay
  • Mercedes eSprinter interior driver display
  • Mercedes eSprinter right driving
  • Mercedes eSprinter front cornering
  • Mercedes eSprinter front right static
  • Mercedes eSprinter rear left static
  • Mercedes eSprinter interior front seats
  • Mercedes eSprinter interior steering wheel
  • Mercedes eSprinter interior infotainment screen
  • Mercedes eSprinter load bay
What Car?’s eSprinter deals


What Car? says...

The German word for improvement can also mean a correction, and while it’s safe to say that the latest Mercedes eSprinter is an improvement on the previous one, it also puts right some of its failings.

And that's crucial, because the eSprinter is up against the biggest name in the electric van world – the Ford E-Transit. It’s also a precursor to Mercedes’ ambitions to launch a large van on a bespoke electric vehicle platform. In other words, a lot is riding on it.

For now, the eSprinter remains a reworked version of the diesel-engined Mercedes Sprinter but gets an improved range, more power, a wider choice of body sizes and better payloads than the first-generation model. 

So, is the latest Mercedes eSprinter good enough to compete with the best electric vans and take the fight to its main rivals, including the Renault Master E-Tech and Maxus eDeliver 9? Read on to find out...

Read more: How we test vans

Mercedes eSprinter rear right driving


The Mercedes eSprinter is still very much a Sprinter at heart, and can carry big volumes, decent payloads and has a pleasurable overall driving experience. There’s been a huge improvement to the choice of vans on offer as well as pragmatic real-world upgrades that make it a viable large electric van for a wide range of uses.

  • Impressive real-world range
  • Automatic “smart” regenerative braking mode
  • Improved choice of size and weight
  • More costly than rivals
  • Biggest battery poses licensing headache

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

There’s a good deal more to this second generation eSprinter than Mercedes shoehorning in bigger batteries and a larger motor. It’s had a complete overhaul, with the aim of making it more efficient, more usable and cheaper. 

The first-generation van was introduced as a hurried response to the burgeoning electric van segment. It used components from the eVito (the electric Mercedes Vito) and spliced them into a Sprinter large van – with underwhelming results.

As a large van with the batteries and motor of a medium-sized van, it felt undernourished, did little to bolster the credibility of an electrified Mercedes van range and unsurprisingly did little in terms of sales.

Rejuvenated with the choice of a new 100kW (136bhp) or 150kW (201bhp) versions – both delivering 295 lb ft of torque – the latest version is not only more powerful but also more useable. The line-up now gets 81kWh and 113kWh batteries, increasing the official WLTP range to up to 271, beating the Ford E-Transit's 196 miles.

With such dramatic changes, the eSprinter is already on paper a huge improvement, and when it comes to how the van drives, the new heavy batteries – hanging low along the length of a rear-wheel-drive van – improve it more than you might expect.

The well-distributed weight adds more stability to what is already a very composed and comfortable van to drive. The ride comfort is improved thanks to beefier suspension to cope with a heavier mass, and handling and body control made even better thanks to a lower centre of gravity and better overall balance.

Mercedes eSprinter image
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It's also now every bit as good to drive as an E-Transit, and as well as being quicker than the previous eSprinter, it's also much quieter.

While the van continues to use the same multi-tiered regenerative braking settings found on the previous model, there’s now a new D Auto mode you can select using the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Using its radar systems, the looks ahead to judge which of the four regeneration modes (D-, D, D+ or D++) to select. While it takes the hassle out of selecting a setting and optimises energy recuperation, we found it sometimes refused to acknowledge stationary vehicles. That said, it’s not meant to be used as an Autopilot setting. 

Driving overview

Strengths Clever auto regen setting; handles brilliantly; exceptionally quiet

Weaknesses D Auto regen mode isn’t foolproof

Mercedes eSprinter interior dashboard


The interior layout, fit and finish

Little has changed inside the Mercedes eSprinter, but we welcome that. The standard interior is already one of the best built and most spacious on the market.

It’s made of high-quality materials and the design and functionality have been honed over decades to make it a comfortable and practical place to be.

The range starts with the Pro trim level, which as standard gives you a multifunction steering wheel, a rake and reach adjustable steering wheel, and a heated driver seat with arm rest and air conditioning. A reversing camera is standard along with automatic wipers.

Notable upgrades over the first generation eSprinter have been made, with new wireless smartphone mirroring with wireless charging, and a revamped version of the MBUX infotainment system that’s geared towards the electric van.

While that doesn’t sound like much, the ability to really see what the van is doing through a well-presented 10in touchscreen display and full colour digital trip cluster is definitely preferable to the previous van’s simplistic LCD displays. It’s not quite as impressive as the 12in screen in the Ford E-Transit but it is streets ahead of the Renault Master E-Tech’s 7in screen.

Select trim level (the higher of the two choices) adds just a few extras including a leather steering wheel, a Comfort driver’s seat with lumbar support, a covered compartment in the top of the dashboard and new more convenient cupholders in the central storage compartment at knee height.

The eSprinter has the smartest-looking cabin in terms of the materials used, and while the touch-sensitive steering wheel controls are less practical than the Ford E-Transit’s physical buttons, it has a practical layout to the cabin, has great visibility and is easy to get comfortable in. There’s a lot to like.

Still, there are niggles. The normal position for the cupholders is in the top of the dash, which is a bit of a stretch forward to reach from your driving position, and Mercedes’ insistence of having one column stalk to control almost every conceivable function is stubborn to say the least. There are also fewer storage options close to the driver than you’ll find in an E-Transit or Renault Master E-Tech.

Interior overview

Strengths High build quality; wireless smartphone mirroring; increased comfort

Weaknesses Odd position for standard cupholders

Mercedes eSprinter load bay

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

The first-generation Mercedes eSprinter was not blessed with an extensive portfolio of bodies and sizes. In fact, there was just one – a long-wheelbase standard roof height van that was designed to capture the attention of mostly fleet parcel couriers.

While the latest eSprinter is aiming at the same core market, it’s added a few more options and now comes in two lengths and a choice of panel vans or chassis cabs. 

Focusing on the panel-van variants, it will launch as a long-wheelbase L3 variant (to accommodate the 113kWh battery). The L3 is capable of carrying up to 14m3, with a maximum payload of 1,002kg for the Pro trim and 995kg for the Select.

It's worth noting that the largest eSprinter is only available with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 4.25-tonnes, which if you're transporting other people could require an HGV licence.

Smaller versions using the 81kWh battery will be available with load volumes of 11m3 and around 800kg of maximum payload.

The high GVW option means the eSprinter can just about stand on an even footing with the Ford eTransit in its ability to transport more than a tonne. However, the largest e-Transit, with a 4.25-tonne GVW, can carry a massive 1,758kg. 

As with all large vans, space in the front of the cabin for passengers is plentiful, and there’s room for a middle-seat passenger. Cross-cab access is good too, because although there's a storage compartment where a gearstick would be on a manual vehicle, it doesn’t stick out too far. 

Practicality overview

Strengths Choice of lengths and bodies; decent payload on biggest version 

Weaknesses Ford E-Transit has a higher maximum payload

Mercedes eSprinter interior driver display

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Mercedes is well known for its safety systems and the eSprinter is no exception, with a high level of standard features, including Crosswind Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and Intelligent Speed Assist as part of its many systems.

So comprehensive is the standard offering that the only noteworthy addition to the Select trim level is the inclusion of automatic high-beam headlights – which get upgraded to LEDs. 

Charging speeds have been improved further over the first-generation eSprinter, with a new maximum charging speed of up to 115kW on a DC charger. There’s also an 11kW onboard AC charger included as standard. Using a 115kW rapid charger, the 113kWh battery can be charged from 10 to 80% in just 42 minutes. 

Servicing intervals are every year or 40,000 miles, while the warranty is for three years and with an unlimited mileage. Further cover on the battery extends to eight years with a 100,000-mile limit, which has become the standard amongst large electric van competitors.

With so little benefit to be had from the higher Select trim, we would recommend the entry-level Pro version. Although the idea of a very large battery might sound appealing to owners with a degree of range anxiety, it’s hard to recommend it to anyone other than fleets prepared to deal with the licensing headache a van over 3.5-tonnes brings.

The smaller 81kWh battery would likely be suitable for most needs anyway, and comes with the added benefit of a lower cost. Due to the very large battery, the top-spec eSprinter is around 50% more expensive than the largest Ford E-Transit.

That’s not to say the eSprinter is expensive overall, as you are getting a lot for your money, but owing to the larger batteries it is also 50% more than the first-generation van was marketed at.

Costs overview

Strengths Lots of safety equipment; unlimited-mileage warranty

Weaknesses Higher trim levels don’t add much value; expensive with a big battery

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  • The charging times using a 7kW wallbox is around 17 hours, which is reduced to 11 hours for a full charge from 0-100% on an 11kW supply. Rapid charging with a 115kW DC supply should take 42 minutes from 10-80%.

  • The eSprinter has a launch price of £72,360 ex VAT for the 113kWh eSprinter 414 Pro which rises to £76,920 for the Select trim level.