Rejoice, influencers who dwell in a van down by the river! Your hashtag van life simply bought a bit of bit simpler, as a result of the 2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4×4 is all-wheel drive, reasonably than four-wheel drive. Which signifies that, if you’re heading to that Insta-friendly tenting spot atop a glacier, on the rim of a volcano, or in the course of a gurgling trout-filled river, you now not need to push a button to interact the entrance axle. Nope, the Sprinter’s full-time switch case will do the job for you, shuffling torque to the entrance axle as wanted. This leaves extra time so that you can attempt on totally different hats, dry your bamboo underwear subsequent to your idyllic campfire, or proposition a camp bathroom firm about sponsoring you so you possibly can cease digging dang holes within the woods day-after-day. Van life is busy.
So it is also good that the 2023 Sprinter diesel might be sooner than the outgoing mannequin. We are saying most likely as a result of we have not but executed any instrumented testing, however it appears to be like good on paper. The outgoing V-6 diesel supplied 188 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, whereas the brand new Sprinter diesel brings 211 horsepower at 3600 rpm and 332 pound-feet from 1600 to 2400 rpm. What’s extra, that elevated output comes from a much-downsized engine, which is now a 2.0-liter four-cylinder reasonably than a 3.0-liter six. The buff four-banger is hooked to a nine-speed computerized rather than the 2022 mannequin’s seven-speed. Due to the nine-speed’s wider ratio unfold, Benz says that first gear is identical as in older Sprinter 4x4s that had a five-speed when their switch case was in low vary. That is good because the 2023 Sprinter would not have a low vary.
Even so, the brand new system really is extra succesful. For example, with four-wheel drive engaged, the prior Sprinter 4×4 solely despatched 35 % of its torque to the entrance axle. The brand new one can ship one hundred pc to the entrance, or one hundred pc to the rear, or divvy it up wherever in between, as wanted. From launch, it will goal for 50-50 front-to-rear, however throughout freeway cruising, it will probably dismiss the entrance axle and run in rear-drive mode till situations name for some front-end help. It is all utterly clear, and there are real-world benefits, particularly on pavement. Say the highway is moist or intermittently dry with icy patches—you don’t have to observe the floor and interact four-wheel drive when issues look slippery. The traction is at all times there.
And that is useful now that there is a little bit extra energy. It isn’t just like the Sprinter offers you whiplash off the road, however the 2.0-liter feels admirably feisty, even with about 1200 kilos of ballast strapped into the cargo bay. Actually, it feels fairly a bit just like the outgoing V-6 however presumably delivers higher gas economic system. (The Sprinter, like heavy-duty pickups, is massive sufficient to flee EPA fuel-economy scores.) 4-cylinder compression-ignition rattle and vibration are largely absent, with little noise making its approach into the cabin. The max tow score of 7500 kilos matches the outgoing mannequin, so there actually would not appear to be any draw back to the Sprinter’s cylinder-ectomy underneath the hood.
As for the off-road chops, Benz had grand plans for us to guage the brand new all-wheel-drive system on trails at a dirt-bike observe close to Stuttgart, however heavy rain turned the terrain right into a soupy mess, such that the route was a lot abbreviated. However we will say that the all-wheel-drive Sprinter dealt with a little bit of mud with aplomb, regardless of carrying winter tires that shortly packed their tread blocks with sticky Swabian clay. As earlier than, this car’s off-road skills are outlined by its dimension greater than its floor clearance or traction—you want a giant path to accommodate a machine that may be greater than 24 toes lengthy and 9 toes tall, relying on configuration.
Regardless of the Mercedes star on the grille, the Sprinter stays a workhorse, with a spartan inside—guide seats, guide handbrake, a lot of arduous plastics. There’s nonetheless a value-leader gasoline mannequin that makes use of a 188-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder and prices $46,795 in cargo-van type. The entry-level diesel is tuned for 170 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque and prices $49,295 as a cargo van or $54,905 as a passenger van. All-wheel drive is a $6400 possibility. That is a major low cost from the outgoing four-wheel-drive system, which was $8500. Evidently, ditching that low vary actually saves a couple of dollars. The minimal worth for a high-roof all-wheel-drive cargo van with the high-output engine and a 170-inch wheelbase is $64,635.
Once we initially heard that the top-of-the-range diesel Sprinter was dropping two cylinders and a liter of displacement, that appeared like folly. However in observe, most individuals will not discover the distinction by some means, despite the fact that the 2023 mannequin is modestly extra highly effective and has a nine-speed transmission. So for those who purchased a diesel V-6 2022 Sprinter, you needn’t bask in any purchaser’s regret. And if you find yourself with a diesel 2023 Sprinter 4×4—which is at sellers already—you should not really feel such as you missed out on the final nice Sprinter engine. The most important distinction, actually, is having all-wheel drive as a substitute of part-time four-wheel drive, however that is an evolution reasonably than a revolution. For the latter, we’ll have to attend for the electrical Sprinter coming subsequent yr.
Within the meantime, we want we may persuade Mercedes to carry the super-funky Sprinter crew-cab 4×4 pickup truck to the U.S. market. Influencers, get working.
2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van
Car Sort: front-engine, rear- or all-wheel-drive, 2-passenger, 5-door van
2500 standard-roof, 144-inch-wheelbase, rear-drive gasoline, $46,795; 2500 high-roof, 170-inch-wheelbase, all-wheel-drive high-output diesel, $64,635
turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter diesel inline-4, 170 hp, 295 lb-ft; DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter inline-4, 188 hp, 258 lb-ft; turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve 2.0-liter diesel inline-4, 211 hp, 332 lb-ft
Wheelbase: 144.0 or 170.0 in
Size: 234.0, 274.0, or 290.0 in
Width: 80.0 in
Peak: 96.0-111.0 in
Cargo Quantity: 533 ft3 max
Curb Weight (C/D est): 5500-6000 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
60 mph: 12.0-13.5 sec
1/4-Mile: 18.0-20.0 sec
Prime Velocity: 90 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Exempt from EPA testing and labeling
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