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2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Freshening

USA sale of the 2014 Mercedes Sprinter will begin on September 1, 2013 via 218 dealers in the USA.  161 are Mercedes Benz dealers and the remainder is Freightliner dealers.  About 80% of the 20,969 Sprinters sold in the USA in 2012 were Mercedes.  The only difference between the Mercedes and Freightliner is the grille texture and badging.  Prices are the same.

What is new for 2014?  Front-end sheetmetal is the big news.  A fresh pedestrian-friendly snout has been styled that is more Mercedes-like, but also more SUV-like.  The grille opening is more aggressive.  The headlamps are more stylish and more contemporary.  The whole front end goes better with the new Mercedes family style.

While the front-end style is the big news on the outside of the otherwise carryover Sprinter, the vehicle gets a new base 2.1L 4-cylinder twin turbo diesel with 161HP and 265lb-ft of torque mated to a 7-speed automatic. This engine is projected to get 18% better fuel economy than the optional 3.0L V6 diesel that has improved from 7.3l/km to 6.3l/km.  You would expect this smaller base four banger would be a slug, but at urban speeds it is more than adequate.  The question is whether MB will lower the base price with the new engine or maintain base pricing and increase the price of the V6?

On the interior, the Sprinter gets a complement of new safety features as standard or optional.  Crosswind Assist will be standard equipment beginning in 2014.  Optional as part of the safety package will be collision prevention assist, blind spot monitoring and lane keeping assist.

Overall driving 2014 Sprinter was a very enjoyable experience.  The big van handles as you’d expect is very quiet, very  comfortable and will be very competitive in the US Full Size Van market.  It expected that the Sprinter will hold its own in the face of new entrenched competitors like the new Ford Transit and new-to-market Ram Promaster both coming in the Falla, 2013.

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