2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van

2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Review: A New Breadvan Benchmark

by Roger Biermann

While the truck is undoubtedly the backbone of America, the van is arguably the hardest worker, which is why, for decades, the Ford Transit has been the van of choice - a real blue-collar van, if ever there was one. But its mantle is now under threat from a German assault, as the second-generation Mercedes-Benz Sprinter gave van-goers a viable alternative, since 2006. 2019 sees a new, third-generation Sprinter cargo van introduced, but while it may be freshly restyled, the bits beneath the surface are much the same as before. That's no bad thing, though, as, despite the premium badge on its nose, the Sprinter is as hard-working as they come. Two 188-horsepower engines are made available, one diesel and one gasoline, along with two wheelbases, two roof heights, three body lengths, and the choice of either rear- or all-wheel-drive. With prices from $33,790, the Ford Transit's days may finally be numbered.

2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Changes: πŸš™What’s the difference vs 2018 Sprinter Cargo Van?

Mercedes claims the Sprinter is all-new for 2019, but the bones actually date back to the previous model - we're not complaining. What has been overhauled is the exterior and interior, with the van boasting all-new styling outside, while inside, buyers get access to the latest MBUX infotainment suite. There's a new engine available, too, with a turbocharged gasoline four-cylinder matching the diesel for its 188 horsepower output, despite falling short in terms of torque by nearly 70 lb-ft.

Pros and Cons

  • Large, practical cabin in any configuration
  • Highly versatile cargo bay
  • Maneuverable handling
  • High-tech cockpit is unique for the segment
  • Affordable gasoline motor or powerful diesel available
  • The only downside is a premium price

Sprinter Cargo Van Exterior

The exterior redesign has seen the Sprinter design come more in line with current Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicle styling, particularly in the front fascia - although the black bumpers are deceptive. The Sprinter Cargo is available in a range of configurations, with a low-roof standard-length variant available on 1500, 2500, 3500XD, and 4500 models, as well as a high-roof option in those trims and the standard 3500. A high-roof long-wheelbase and extended length option is available on 2500, 3500, 3500XD, and 4500 derivatives. All models feature a sliding door on the passenger side and double swing doors at the rear, as well as 16-inch steel wheels - although 3500 and higher models get dual rear wheels.

2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Front Angle view Mercedes-Benz
2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Front Angle View Mercedes-Benz
2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Rear Angle Angle Mercedes-Benz
See All 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Exterior Photos

Dimensions

With so many configurations, the Sprinter Cargo varies hugely in size. Two wheelbases are available, either a 144-inch standard wheelbase or a 170-inch long wheelbase. On the former, the body measures 233.5 inches in length, while LWB versions can be had with either a 274.3-inch body or a 290-inch extended-length body. Two roof heights are available as well, a standard roof of 96.3 inches and a high-roof of 107.5 inches; width, however, remains the same at 79.5 inches excluding mirrors. Ground clearance differs by configuration, with the lowest versions claiming 20.9 inches to the lowest ingress step, while higher models - those boasting 4x4 drivetrains - increase the figure to up to 24.8 inches.

2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Exterior Colors

  • Calcite Yellow
  • Sunset Red
  • Brilliant Blue
  • Vanda Blue
  • Stone Grey
  • Graphite Grey
  • Silver Grey
  • Grey White
  • Tenorite Grey Metallic
  • Obsidian Black Metallic
  • Iridium Silver
  • Black Blue
  • Cavansite Blue Metallic
  • Selenite Grey Metallic
  • Jet Black
See all 22 colors

Sprinter Cargo Van Performance

2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Front View Driving Mercedes-Benz
2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Rear View Driving Mercedes-Benz
2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Engine Mercedes-Benz

Engine and Transmission

Two engines, two transmissions and two drivetrains can be combined depending on your choice of Sprinter. On 1500 and 2500 models, a 2.0-liter turbo gasoline four generates 188 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, directing it to the rear wheels via an ultra-refined nine-speed automatic gearbox. From the 2500 model upwards, there's a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6, which matches the gas engine's power outputs but generates more torque at 325 lb-ft. This engine is exclusively paired with a stronger seven-speed automatic gearbox and rear-wheel-drive by default but can be paired with a 4x4 system on 2500 and 3500XD derivatives.

Maximum performance is yielded from the diesel motor in RWD form, ceding a payload capacity of up to 6,735 lbs and a towing capacity of up to 7,500 lbs depending on body style. The gasoline motor allows for towing of up to 5,000 lbs.

  • Engines
    2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 3.0-liter Turbo V6 Diesel
  • Transmissions
    7-Speed Automatic, 9-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, RWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Typically, vans in this class are known to be cumbersome and awkward to maneuver, and while that's still the case with high-roof extended length Sprinters, in general, this van is far more agile than many of its rivals. A lot is dependent on choosing the right engine for the job, but with the correct selection made, it gets up to speed well, and manages to haul loads just as easily. Naturally, the wind catches the Sprinter like a kite on a blustery summer's day, but Mercedes' crosswind assist functionality is more than adept at helping keep things on track. Ride quality is on the softer side for the class, but body movement is generally composed, and the steering is direct, responsive, and the Sprinter generally follows where directed without much fuss. Few vans of this size are as easy to pilot, which is a huge plus for the expensive Merc. Unique to the sprinter is the 4x4 drivetrain, which, while at odds with the long wheelbase of the big van, enables the Sprinter to get through mud and other slippery surfaces better than its RWD rivals.

Sprinter Cargo Van Gas Mileage

While vans don't have to report EPA-estimated fuel consumption figures, real-world figures report the diesel as the most economical engine. In 1500 form it'll generally present combined figures in the 16-20 mpg range, dropping to the lower end of that spectrum on larger trims. The gasoline model is new for this year and thorough real-world testing hasn't yet been conducted, but despite only being available on lighter-duty body styles, don't expect it to best the diesel. The gasoline models are also equipped with a smaller gas tank, taking in 22 gallons of regular unleaded, while the diesel motors are paired with a 24.5-gallon tank.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    24.5 Gallons
* 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van 1500 Standard Roof 144" RWD

Sprinter Cargo Van Interior

2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Steering Wheel Controls Mercedes-Benz
2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Backup Camera Screen Mercedes-Benz
2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Climate Control Mercedes-Benz
See All 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Two occupants can be sat in the cabin of the Sprinter Cargo, in what is one of the most modern, comfortable cabins of any work van. Maturin Black fabric feels upmarket, and both front occupants have manual seat adjustment and an armrest each, while the surfaces can be upgraded with Caluma Black fabric or Artico man-made leather. Both seats can also be optioned with heating, lumbar support, and power adjustment, for the employer who loves to look after their employees, while those that don't can opt for a bench seat, seating three. Space is at a premium, and the driving position is decent, too. Materials in the cabin feel solid and upmarket, which makes piloting the large van feel less dreary.

  • Seating capacity
    2-seater

Sprinter Cargo Van Trunk and Cargo Space

How much cargo space depends entirely on how you configure your Sprinter. By size alone, three body lengths and two roof heights grant you varying amounts of space. Low-roof SWB models get 319 cubic feet while equipping the high roof increases this to 372.8 cubic feet. The change from low to high roof diminishes the amount of weight that can be stacked on the roof, though, dropping it from 660 lbs to 330 lbs. LWB models boast either 488.1 or 532.6 cubic feet of volume in long or extended-length bodystyles respectively. These figures drop for the 3500XD and 4500 models due to their more rugged construction, but this enables payload capacities of up to 6,735 lbs and towing capacity up to 7,500 lbs. The cargo bay is practical and spacious, and can be outfitted with a wooden floor, numerous D-rings, and can be upfitted for your specific needs. Internal cabin storage is similarly capacious, with enough large bins and pockets to store almost anything, a shelf above the windscreen, and a storage compartment beneath the cockpit.

2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Trunk Space Mercedes-Benz
2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Top View Mercedes-Benz
2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Side View Mercedes-Benz

Sprinter Cargo Van Infotainment and Features

Features

Full-size vans are typically devoid of features and creature comforts, but lest we forget, this is a Mercedes. Standard fare is a little thin, with manually adjustable driver and front passenger seats, an armrest per occupant, manual air conditioning, keyless start, automatic headlights, hill start assist, crosswind assist, and a rearview camera. A number of options can be equipped, though, with practical items like power outlets and additional tie-down straps, or occupant-focused features like cruise control, heated front seats, a speed limiter, heated windscreen, glass sunroof, a roof fan, automatic climate control, and wireless device charging. There's even access to a range of driver assists not usually present on vans, like blind spot assist, adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera, park sensors, traffic sign recognition, high beam assist and lane-keep assist.

Infotainment

Few, if any, vans can boast the same level of infotainment as the Sprinter, which receives availability to Mercedes' latest MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) system integrated into a standard seven-inch touchscreen display with the option to upgrade to a 10.5-inch screen featuring full voice control. There's onboard Wi-Fi hotspot functionality, smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and live traffic information for the available navigation system. AM/FM radio, Bluetooth, USB, and auxiliary inputs are standard, but there's the option to equip satellite radio as well. The basic system might not be all that special, but the fact that you can get Merc's latest-generation system is praiseworthy.

Sprinter Cargo Van Problems and Reliability

As many as nine recalls have been lodged for the 2019 Sprinter, ranging from minor issues like final quality checks not being performed and dimming taillights to more severe issues like the potential for the hood to open while driving, airbags that may be deactivated from the factory, a potential loss of steering in some cases, and on 2500 and 3500 models, faulty headlights with high beams that may not deactivate, and headlights that may not be calibrated correctly. Depending on your needs, Mercedes-Benz offers a range of available warranty options, ranging from a basic three-year/60,000-mile complete cover to seven year/140,000 miles of limited cover.

Sprinter Cargo Van Safety

The IIHS and NHTSA do not typically evaluate commercial vehicles like full-size vans. However, the Sprinter gets access to some of the best safety features available, many of which are not found in rival vans. Six airbags are standard (dual front, front side, and head impact), as is four-wheel ABS, crosswind assist, an emergency call system, headlight assistant, hill start assist with hold functionality, and load adaptive stability control. The advanced features are brilliant, however, with available adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, front and rear park sensors, 360-degree cameras, active lane keep assist, and high-beam assist.

Verdict: 🏁Is 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van a good Minivan?

The Ford Transit is widely considered to be the benchmark of the segment, but that doesn't mean it's the best. No, it's a truly tough battle between it and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, which combines the versatility of multiple configurations with class-leading payload capacities, a refined interior, class-leading infotainment, and a robust diesel engine option. The fact that it's got access to the best safety features available in vans, and that there's an optional 4x4 drivetrain just sweetens the deal even more, while a towing capacity playing second-fiddle to only the Nissan NV Cargo is simply exceptional. There's a caveat, though, as for all the incredible capabilities and features the Sprinter can be endowed with, you have to pay dearly for them. It's one of the most expensive van options out there, but as far as we're concerned, the price premium is entirely justified.

🚘What's the Price of the 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van?

At a base-level, the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is comparably priced to the Ford Transit, with the SWB low-roof 1500, powered by the gasoline four-cylinder, carrying a starting MSRP of just $33,790. Things climb quickly from there, though, as the 2500 starts at $34,990, while the 3500 - only available with the diesel engine - leaps to a base MSRP of $44,790. The 3500XD starts a little cheaper at $44,390, while the range-topping 4500 asks $46,390 in its cheapest guise. Opt for the 4500 extended-length model, and this climbs further to $53,390, while if you need all-wheel-drive, the cheapest price you'll pay is $47,590 on a diesel equipped SWB 2500.

2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Models

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
1500
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
9-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$33,790
2500
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
3.0-liter Turbo V6 Diesel
7-Speed Automatic
9-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$34,990
3500XD
3.0-liter Turbo V6 Diesel
7-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$44,390
3500
3.0-liter Turbo V6 Diesel
7-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$44,790
4500
3.0-liter Turbo V6 Diesel
7-Speed Automatic
Rear-Wheel Drive
$46,390
See All 2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Trims and Specs

πŸš—What Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Model Should I Buy?

When it comes to vans, there's no right or wrong answer - you buy the package that suits your needs. If you're a small business owner, the 1500 gasoline is a cheap and viable workhorse, but if you're into hauling heavy loads or traversing rough terrain to get the delivery done, the 3500, 3500XD, and 4500 models with the robust diesel engine are guaranteed to get the job done. Either way, we'd recommend the diesel engine, as even in its cheapest 2500 guise, it offers superior towing ability, brilliant mileage and loads of torque.

Check out other Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Styles

2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Comparisons

Ford Transit Cargo Van Ford
Nissan NV Cargo Nissan

2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van vs Ford Transit Cargo Van

Benchmark breadvan vs premium hauler, the battle is closer than ever with the two popular cargo haulers starting at circa $33,000 apiece, although the Sprinter ends up more expensive once you delve into higher trims and the diesel engine. The Sprinter is the better hauler, with a greater payload than the Ford Transit, despite matching its 7,500-pound maximum towing capacity. But it can't match the Ford's driving dynamics, with the Transit being more nimble, and with the EcoBoost V6 in the engine bay, it's much easier to drive around town thanks to the immediacy and refinement of the power delivery. Ford provides premium entertainment and safety offerings in the Transit, but the Sprinter counters with some of the best safety tech and the fantastic MBUX infotainment system, besting Ford in this regard. Both are exceptional vans, with the Transit providing slightly better value for money, while the Sprinter provides greater comfort, safety, and the option of a 4x4 drivetrain, but at a higher price.

See Ford Transit Cargo Van Review

2019 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van vs Nissan NV Cargo

The Nissan NV Cargo van is a bit of a one-trick pony. The optional 5.6-liter V8 engine can move mountains, and with a towing capacity of 9,400 lbs, it bests the Sprinter by nearly 2,000 pounds. However, the Sprinter strikes back, with payload capacities of nearly 3,000 lbs more than the NV, and the ability to equip a 4x4 drivetrain. The Sprinter's available diesel engine and base gasoline motor might be down on power, but they're vastly more frugal, and they have the torque where it counts, bolstered by better refinement. Inside the cabin, the Sprinter is more practical thanks to two wheelbase options, while it's also more refined and has a greater selection of safety and convenience features. Aside from a budget starting price of less than $30k and an optional monster of a V8 engine, the NV Cargo simply can't compete.

See Nissan NV Cargo Review

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van Popular Comparisons

$33,790 - $59,900
Price Range (MSRP)
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Cargo Van
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