2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: Connected, and soon, electrified
With telematics out the wazoo, an EV version on the horizon and a new front-drive setup, the Sprinter is prepared to assault the van segment.
Andrew KrokReviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
The new 2019
Sprinter is real, and it's van-tastic.
Not only is it easier on the eyes, it'll be easier on fleet companies' wallets thanks to some new telematics and fuel-efficient drivetrain options. It'll be easier on the environment, too, when the electric eSprinter hits the market in 2019. There's a lot to process here.
Eyes on design
From the outside, the Sprinter looks new, but not by much. Its traditional boxy design returns, but the front and rear ends have been tweaked to look fresher. The front end in particular bears mentioning, as it adapts the latest Mercedes-Benz design language that applies not only to its
, but its passenger cars, as well.
The story's the same on the inside. The Sprinter retains its durable, everything-is-plastic look, but changes were made to bring the interior further into the 21st century. Storage abounds from under-seat cubbies to massive slots on the dashboard. The screen is incorporated into a semifloating part of the dashboard that's tilted upward. Traditional Mercedes-Benz switchgear is everywhere, from the door-mounted seat controls to the same gauge-cluster screen that's on nearly every other new Merc.
But the looks are the least important updates to the Sprinter. While rear- and four-wheel drive are still available, there's a new front-wheel-drive layout available with either a six-speed manual or a nine-speed automatic transmission. Thanks to the FWD drivetrain's compactness, it'll actually grant more cargo space out back.
There are approximately one billion engine options in Europe -- a 3.0-liter diesel and a 2.1-liter diesel with six different outputs (three for RWD, three for FWD) comprise most of 'em. When it comes to the US, expect at least one gas engine thrown in the mix for good measure, but nothing's been confirmed yet.
In 2019, the lineup will expand even further with the debut of the eSprinter. While it hasn't yet been confirmed for the US, the eSprinter will pack a battery-electric drivetrain with a range best suited for inner-city operations. It'll help reduce urban emissions and make the roads a little quieter. Plus, since it has electric motors, it's bound to have gobs of torque. Sounds like a good'un already.
Whatever way you want it
The Sprinter is versatile, in no small part because Mercedes-Benz Vans offers a whole bunch of different body layouts. Whether you and your company need a panel van, a camper, a passenger bus or a chassis cab, the Sprinter's got a body style for your needs.
Throw the drivetrain and engine options into the mix alongside body styles, wheelbases, floor types (metal, plastic, wood) and roof heights, and you have more than 1,700 potential variants. The options are nearly endless, so you can make it as simple or as complex as needs dictate.
Because it's a new Mercedes-Benz product in 2018, the Sprinter is lousy with newfangled tech, whether it's intended for driver convenience, safety or the fleet company.
In terms of safety equipment, the Sprinter's tried-and-true Crosswind Assist system returns to help mitigate the effects strong wind has on a slab-sided van. Distronic will guide the van in its lane on the highway, keeping distance between the Sprinter and any traffic ahead. It'll brake on its own if something gets in the way, and traffic-sign recognition will help drivers navigate unfamiliar areas without running afoul of the constabulary.
LED headlights will keep the road ahead nice and bright, while a new "Wet Wiper" system puts the wiper fluid nozzles inside the wiper arms for better dispersal and less spray-related mess. USB Type C connections allow you to charge devices at amperages up to 1.5A, but there's a traditional 12-volt port in there, too, if you need that.
The infotainment screen can display both the backup camera and a top-down view of the world around the van, for when navigating gets a little tight.
Speaking of infotainment, the Sprinter can also be optioned with Mercedes-Benz's new MBUX infotainment system. With a 10.25-inch screen, MBUX brings new connectivity to the table thanks to a new digital assistant that understands natural-language requests like, "I'm cold" or "The gas tank is empty." It also goes a long way in reducing the contextual-menu clutter that made the previous infotainment system so hard to use.
Order books for the 2019 Sprinter are open now in Europe, with deliveries expected to begin in June. Excluding value-added tax, you can pick up a base, front-wheel-drive Sprinter for €19,990 ($24,765, directly converted).
No word yet on pricing or release information for the US, so we'll bring you that information as soon as we catch wind of it.