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Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van road trip – better than a truck?


Wait, isn’t this a truck and SUV site? What is Publisher Tim Esterdahl doing behind the wheel of a VAN? That’s right, this 2021 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 Cargo Van is not a truck, and not an SUV, but it brought him joy nonetheless, and he even took it golfing. Loaded up with just two golf bags and pointed towards South Dakota, Esterdahl and his friend Russ embarked on the least practical road trip test ever of a 144-inch wheelbase, high-roofed cargo van. Watch the video below to see what they learned on the trip, and what surprised Esterdahl about the Sprinter.

What’s so exciting about a van?

As you may have guessed, cargo vans are pretty basic. There’s not a whole lot to get excited about unless you plan to outfit one for a job or home on wheels. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun to drive. Personally, I grew up driving something this big on a daily basis (I’m the oldest of 8 kids) and I’ve actually driven a Sprinter so I know how much get-up-and-go these vans have and I understand the grin on Esterdahl’s face when he’s talking about this being a fun experience.

The interior of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van is basically a shell. You don’t get much insulation or noise cancelation. Behind the driver there are no seats, side windows or charging ports. Its just big empty space. But Mercedes-Benz offers a wide variety of customizations and even wall-pannel kits you can buy to help make this cargo van exactly what you need for your job.

The basics – 2021 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van

This van comes in a variety of engine sizes, lengths and roof heights, but the van Tim drove is a 2500 cargo van with a 144-inch wheelbase and a high roof. This one specs out at $55,647. It has a 3.0-liter turbo diesel V-6 engine which produces 188 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. The Sprinter has a 7-speed automatic transmission, is 4-wheel drive and has a 24.5-gallon fuel tank. The max towing on this van is 5,000 pounds and the max payload is 3,704 pounds.

According to Esterdahl and his friend, Russ, the AC is good. And one thing MB does not skimp on is comfort. This may be a cargo van, but it has nice comfortable power seats with lumbar support and heat for those cold mornings on the job. And while there is no official fuel economy posted for these vans, Esterdahl said he averaged 19-22 MPG on his trip.

Is the technology there?

A few things Esterdahl pointed out that he wished the van had include: a digital rear-view mirror, larger backup camera/screen, and cooled seats. But there were some pros too! The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van comes with a lane departure system that not only steers you back into your lane, but it also brakes is you are leaving your lane. And it has traction control. The Mercedes-Benz steering wheel has some interesting touch controls which can take some time to get used to, but they can help the driver to operate the multimedia screen without leaning over to search the small screen which isn’t particularly close to the driver.

Watch the video. Let us know in the comments if you think this van is Aqua Green (that’s what MB calls it) or teal. And weigh in on whether this van could be better than a truck for moving and hauling stuff.

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Erica Mueller

Erica Mueller is a Texan, which means she believes that trucks are family vehicles and giant SUVs make good second cars. As part-time auto journalist for almost a decade, Erica enjoys driving all kinds of vehicles and sharing her experiences with others. Erica is the secretary of the board for the Texas Auto Writers Association as well as a contributor at A Girls Guide to Cars.

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1 Comment

  1. Tony August 25, 2022

    How does this Van get such a high payload but low tow weight ratings compared to light trucks?


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