The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Driving Notes

2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 Van

The Sprinter offers room for everything under the sun, and a fun and surprisingly low-cost drive.

April 17, 2014, by Stephane Babcock - Also by this author

Photo by Vince Taroc.
Photo by Vince Taroc.

When a small fleet of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans made their way to the Bobit Business Media offices in late March, many of the editors were impressed by what they saw, but most were a little wary to take any of the test vehicles home.

As a father of four, the chance to drive something that resembled a small shuttle bus was something to jump at. When I stepped up to my seat behind the wheel, I soon learned that the large-looking exterior was more of an illusion when the key was turned, and it started to make its way down the road.

The 2014 Sprinter features a 2.1L four-cylinder BlueTEC diesel engine as standard equipment, which quickly picked up to highway speeds as soon as I made my way onto Southern California's San Diego (405) Freeway.

The stop-and-go traffic was no challenge, with the Sprinter responding quickly to each and every reaction. Changing lanes was assisted by the Sprinter's Blind Spot Assist, which warns the driver with a red flashing triangle on the side-view mirrors, as well as with an audible alarm, if someone is sitting just out of your line of vision.

Photo by Stephane Babcock.
Photo by Stephane Babcock.

After spending a week driving a couple of the Sprinters through the sometimes narrow streets of Long Beach, I decided to really put it to the test — a weekend camping trip with my wife and kids. After loading the gang, a night's worth of camping equipment, and two surfboards into the Sprinter, we started on our hour-and-a-half journey to Malibu.

As before, the Sprinter took to the 405 like fish to water, and when we made the transfer to California's Pacific Coast Highway, it was no different. Even with the winds whipping us from the ocean, the Sprinter's Load-Adaptive Electronic Stability feature helped keep us in our lane and moving closer to our destination.

With plenty of room for ourselves and our equipment (one night's worth of equipment is more than you think for a family of our size), there were no "Are we there yets" coming from any part of the van. When we finally arrived, the kids actually seemed upset that they had to get out (probably since it meant we had to set up camp).

The Jupiter Red Sprinter turned more than a few heads as it made its way to Leo Carrillo State Park. Most people wanted to see the inside and had questions about drivability and, most important to many of us, fuel economy.

There are numbers that I could list from the Mercedes-Benz website, but instead I'll give you some real-world math: The trip from Long Beach to Leo Carrillo, and back, cost me a quarter tank of gas. Not bad for a 120-mile drive.

Automotive Fleet Group Publisher Sherb Brown treated his daughter and her friends to a birthday ride in the high roof, extended Sprinter passenger van — decorations not included in final MSRP.

Photo by Sherb Brown.
Photo by Sherb Brown.

Editor's note: View our photo gallery, "Sprinter 2014-MY Walkarounds," for detailed photos of the vehicle. Read a news story about Mercedes-Benz USA's plans for the 2015 model.

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Author Bio

Amy Winter-Hercher

Senior Editor

Amy is an associate editor for Auto Rental News and Business Fleet.

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Chris Brown

Executive Editor

Chris is the executive editor of Business Fleet Magazine and Auto Rental News. He covers all aspects of the fleet world.

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Chris Wolski

Managing Editor

Chris works on Automotive Fleet, Fleet Financials, Work Truck, and Green Fleet. He edits the Global Fleet Management eNewsletter.

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Mike Antich

Editor and Associate Publisher

Mike has covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and entered the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010.

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Paul Clinton

Senior Web Editor

Paul is the senior web editor for Automotive Fleet, Fleet Financials, Government Fleet, Green Fleet, and Work Truck.

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Thi Dao

Executive Editor

Thi is the executive editor of Government Fleet magazine. She is interested in maintenance management and alternative fuels.

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