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The Sprinter offers that premium feel and responsive drive you would expect from a Mercedes-Benz vehicle. Here at Leasing Options we've got some fantastic Mercedes-Benz leasing deals waiting for you to browse.
When it comes to large vans, one stands above all others across Europe, the Mercedes Sprinter. This is the best selling LCV across the Continent, a superiority underlined since the second generation version was introduced back in 2006.
The conditions under which business people have to operate their vans aren’t getting any easier, so you want a vehicle like this one to be able to ease the strain of everyday motoring. First impressions once you climb up into the cab are pretty good. The steering wheel is set at more of a bus-like angle than the brand’s smaller Vito model, but visibility from the commanding driving position is great and there’s a quality feel to everything around you, underlining the reputation of the Three-Pointed Star that shines out from the middle of the steering wheel.
The driver’s seat’s firmer than the norm but offers good support under the thighs and in the small of the back, which should mean fewer aches and pains at the end of a long drive. Just how long a drive you’d want to undertake, however, will depend very much on the engine you choose for your Sprinter. The powerplant that forms the backbone of the range is a redesigned Euro5 version of Mercedes’ stalwart 2. 15-litre four-cylinder common rail diesel, an engine which has already gained a good reputation for its combination of performance, economy and refinement and, almost uniquely for a four cylinder LCV diesel, is fitted with balancer shafts to eliminate vibration and improve what were already class-leading levels of refinement.
Mercedes has redesigned all Sprinter gearboxes in recent times, adding ‘ECO Gear’ labeling that refers to the way that ratios have now been more widely spaced for efficient running, topped and tailed by a very low-geared 1st for snappier hill starts fully loaded and a long-striding top to massage economy and refinement on the motorway. And talking about snappier starts, if you choose the five-speed automatic gearbox option, it comes with Start-Off Assist, essentially a hill-holder clutch to stop you drifting backwards on uphill junctions. On the move, handling will as usual depend on the load you’re carrying but traction is sure and can be boosted by choosing the 4x4 system.
The look of the Sprinter has changed little since it was first launched in second generation form in 2006, but then large vans in this class don’t tend to be bought for aesthetic reasons. The imposing twin-slat grille complete with its large Three-Pointed Star is sufficient to make the point that yours is a business not prepared to compromise on quality. And to emphasise the practical side, there are redesigned heated wide-angle mirrors and a useful step in the bumper from which it’s easier to climb up and clean the tinted windscreen.
Inside, the links to Mercedes-Benz passenger cars are instantly apparent. The clear, classily penned instruments, the ventilation controls and the stereo installations are all borrowed direct from models like the B-Class and A-Class. This means that the quality is beyond the level that you might expect in a panel van of this kind. Elsewhere, care has obviously been taken to keep things tough and hardwearing while retaining the plush ambience. At the wheel, the revised seats feel supportive and while the steering column isn’t height adjustable, it isn’t much more to specify a ‘Comfort’ driver’s seat that is and the angle of the seat cushion can be altered too.
The three-seater cab is standard and features a middle seat backrest that can fold down and turn into a handy table that can be used to complete paperwork and also features a couple of cupholders and a pen tray. Other storage areas dotted around the cabin include lipped shelves above the windscreen on both driver and passenger sides, this shelf behind the instrument binnacle, large door bins which though a little narrow do have a moulding that will accommodate a flask or a bottle of water, a lockable glovebox and a dash-top shelf that will swallow an A4 clipboard. Nearby is a clip that can hold loose paperwork and there are coat hooks behind the seats.
Despite its European success, the Sprinter still isn’t one of the first vans that many British business think of when their looking for a really large LCV. But, perhaps its should be. It’s as big and practical as any of its rivals, with a more refined powertrain. Plus, crucially, if you specify your vehicle correctly, you’ll get a set of running cost figures that can’t be bettered in this segment.
Yes of course there are cheaper rivals. Some of them feel a little more avant garde too and have cleverer cabs. But when it comes to the things that actually matter when it comes to running a vehicle of this kind, the Sprinter ticks most of the important boxes with the kind of thoroughness that you’d expect from something bearing the famous Three Pointed Star on its grille. All of which means that whatever your business, this could be your righthand van.