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Mercedes Benz Sprinter 9

Mercedes Sprinter Passenger Van Review: How Does This Popular People Hauler Stack Up?

Mercedes Benz Sprinter 15
Sprinter Passenger Van
In Our Opinion:
During our travels for work, we have been shuttled around countless times in a Sprinter Passenger Van. It seems like every hotel or airport utilizes the popular van for getting people where they need to go. More recently, Ford, Nissan, and Ram have appeared to challenge the Sprinter's long track record. Although we feel the Sprinter is still as viable as ever, especially after a few key updates in 2019.
Pros
Safety Features
High Roof Option
Diesel Engine Option
Cons
Rough Ride
MSRP Adds Up Quickly
89

If you have lots of people to haul, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Passenger Van is a vehicle you need to look at. Our tester this week offers 12-passenger seating, a high roof so you can walk through, and a turbocharged V6 diesel engine with lots of pulling power. Mercedes-Benz says this van is born to run, and we would agree. 

This week, we drove a Mercedes Benz Sprinter 2500 4×4 Passenger Van in the Colorado mountains to see how well the diesel performs at altitude.

Sprinter Passenger Van: What’s New?

Mercedes-Benz says the Sprinter is new as of 2019, but beyond getting new LED headlights and taillights, it’s basically the same vehicle underneath. Some of the biggest updates for 2019 included a gasoline option for 1500 and 2500 Cargo, Crew and Passenger Vans, increased GVWR on 2500 and new 4500 models, and an optional 10.25-inch touchscreen display. A window and thorax-pelvis airbag is now standard on all Cab Chassis models.

Sprinter vans cans be upfitted specifically for HVAC and plumbing, electrical and telecom, goods delivery, food refrigeration, and other general services.

How Many People Does The Sprinter Seat?

The Sprinter Passenger Van can seat up to 12, although Mercedes-Benz does offer a 15-seat configuration (14 seats for the passenger, plus one for the driver).

Sprinter Passenger Van rear seating area.
Sprinter Passenger Van rear seating area.

Features & Options

Our Mercedes Benz Sprinter 2500 4×4 Passenger Van came with a push-button start, 13 speaker audio system, rearview camera, USB charging ports, warm/cool vents in the rear, a roof-mounted A/C unit, a fuel-fired heater booster, 180-degree rear opening doors, and a 9,050 lbs. GVWR rating.

Our Sprinter Passenger Van was optioned with safety features like Active Brake Assist, Blind-Spot Assist Mirror, Attention and Traffic Sign Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, and a 360-degree camera. Other options included the Jet Black exterior, leatherette interior, comfort driver and passenger seats, and low and high range 4×4 package.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Pricing

Total MSRP, including destination, for our Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 4×4 Passenger Van was $61,333. The chart below shows the starting MSRP for the entire lineup.

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Lineup
Configuration Wheelbase Roof Starting MSRP
Cargo Van 144″ Standard $34,495
Cargo Van 144″ High $37,270
Cargo Van 170″ High $41,050
Cargo Van 170″ Extended High $47,800
       
Crew Van 144″ Standard $39,395
Crew Van 144″ High $42,170
Crew Van 170″ High $45,245
       
Passenger Van 144″ Standard $41,095
Passenger Van 144″ High $43,870
Passenger Van 170″ High $54,700
       
Cab Chassis 144″ Standard $40,595
Cab Chassis 170″ Standard $41,370

Interior Highlights: Plenty of Room

The Sprinter Passenger Van sits up high, and it could use a step to get inside. After we pulled ourselves up, the view is commanding from the driver’s seat. The cabin is not plush, but this van is ideal for commercial use, and you don’t need more. We walked through the cabin because this van had the high roof option for extra headroom.

Our passenger van could accommodate 12, and there’s plenty of room for luggage, cargo, and storage behind the rear seat. The rear doors swing open 180 degrees making it easy to load. The side doors slide open to reveal an easy entry for a passenger to climb in (minus the high step-up).

Sprinter Passenger Van interior layout.
Sprinter Passenger Van interior layout.

Interior Highlights: Tech & Comfort

The windshield is huge, and the driver can see well with the big side mirrors and rearview camera when backing this big van up. Drivers can also use the new MBUX infotainment touchscreen while on the job. There are two optional sizes, including the 10.25-inch display on our test model. The MBUX system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and includes Sirius Satellite Radio.

The large side windows offer an extra dark tint to keep the sun out and passengers comfortable. Passengers will stay toasty warm in the winter with the fuel-fired heater and cool in the summer with the A/C unit on top. The black leatherette seats throughout the interior are reasonably comfortable and should be sufficient enough for shorter trips. If there are spills, the leatherette seats should be easy to clean.

Sprinter Passenger Van interior layout from the passenger side.

Sprinter Passenger Van: Engine & Powertrain

The Sprinter Passenger Van we drove this week came with the optional 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine producing 188 horsepower and 325 lb-ft. of torque. It comes mated to a seven-speed G-Tronic automatic transmission. Our tested also came with four-wheel drive with a high range transfer case with a low gear. 

Max payload capacity for the Sprinter Passenger Van 2500 with a 4×4 configuration is 2,877 lbs. That number increases to 3,142 lbs. with a rear-wheel drive configuration. Max towing capacity is 5,000 lbs. and the fuel tank capacity is 24.5 gallons.

The standard four-cylinder gas engine produces 188 horsepower and 158 lb-ft. of torque. It’s standard with rear-wheel drive and a nine-speed G-Tronic automatic. Max towing capacity for the four-cylinder Sprinter Passenger Van in a 2500 configuration is 5,000 lbs. Max payload is 3,417 lbs. while the max GVWR is 9,050 lbs.

Sprinter Passenger Van.
Sprinter Passenger Van.

Driving Dynamics

As we mentioned, the Sprinter Passenger Van sits high off the ground in its 2500 configuration, giving the driver a commanding view of the road. When you start the engine, aside from the wait after you push the keyless start, you would never know it’s a diesel powerplant. It’s extremely quiet, and you don’t smell the exhaust inside or outside the vehicle, which is nice for the passengers.

We drove the big passenger hauler in the mountains west of Denver for a good test of the van at altitude. The optional turbo-diesel gives the van plenty of pulling power going up I-70 into the mountains. Even with a full load of passengers, the van should have the power to stay with traffic, especially with the diesel engine. Although we were not expecting the typical Mercedes-Benz ride quality, some may find the Sprinter Passenger Van really lacking in this area.

We also drove the Sprinter Passenger Van in the city to get a feel for its size. The van is surprisingly maneuverable on city streets and when parking. Seasoned shuttle drivers should have no problem pulling into hotel parking lots or getting around a busy airport, especially with the 360-degree camera.

Sprinter Passenger Van 360-degree camera.

Conclusion: An Ideal Candidate

The Sprinter Passenger Van is an ideal candidate for commercial and industrial applications. When it comes to people hauling, we see many of these Mercedes-Benz vans running passengers to and from Denver International Airport and the ski resorts in the winter. The best upgrades, considering where this automotive journalist lives, are the diesel engine and four-wheel drive. If you can budget the extra money for these upgrades, it’s worth it.

Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his firsthand reviews are archived on our test drives page. Follow Denis on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy

Photos: MBUSA.

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