If any brand has come the closest to making the perfect van, it has to be Mercedes-Benz. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has won countless awards, has legions of loyal customers and has improved like a fine wine through more than 20 years of gradual refinements.
The latest third-generation model is no exception, but in the current digital age the Sprinter, a humble van, is trying to keep up with the trends by adding connectivity and voice control to its repertoire of talents.
Like its closest competition, the Ford Transit and Volkswagen Crafter, the Sprinter has a wealth of body types to choose from and has also now added a front-wheel drive configuration to the existing rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive options. There are four body lengths, three roof heights and – in addition to panel van models – there are crew cabs, chassis cabs, chassis crew cabs, dropside bodies and minibus Tourer versions.
Power comes from a four-cylinder 2.1-litre diesel unit with 111bhp, 143bhp and 163bhp or from a 3.0-litre diesel V6 engine producing 187bhp.
A six-speed manual gearbox is standard across all vans, but a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic option is available on front-wheel-drive vans and a seven-speed 7G-Tronic Plus automatic gearbox is an option for rear-wheel-drive and V6-engined Sprinters.
Rather than having different trim levels, Mercedes allows the Sprinter to be customised with various option packs. Available extras include the Driver Pack, Comfort Pack, Premium Pack, Active Safety Pack, Lane Tracking Pack and Comfort Pack Plus. These include equipment like parking sensors and electric heated door mirrors, right through to less obvious options like covered storage compartments or an adjustable steering wheel.
Read on to find out how the Sprinter compares with its key rivals, and don't forget to check out our New Car Buying section for a great deal on your next car.