2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 Bluetec Update 1
Large and In Charge
My first 2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 Bluetec comes as I'm settling into a new place, about 30 miles to the north. I'm closer to the Motor Trend office and closer to the beach, which makes California an acceptable place to live. But the area is compact, hilly, and difficult to navigate for even "normal"-size vehicles.
My worries about living with the Sprinter quickly fade as I begin exploring my new area. The short nose and commanding captain's chair perched over the front axle help while turning from one car-lined street to another. And why shouldn't it? The Sprinter was built for this exact environment. With a full of load furniture and memories securely tied down to the D-rings in the floor, the small diesel engine pulls smooth and strong, never once surging or lunging while slowly creeping uphill. It quickly becomes evident why this van was put on the earth. Being the crew variant, the van has a bench seat positioned directly behind the two cloth-covered captain's chairs. If you need to haul more people than cargo, two levers underneath release the seat for "easy" removal. I put easy in quotes because, while it is easy to release the seat, the thing is so damn heavy you need two people and an ox to get it out. That being said, even with the seat in, there is so much room that only on occasion would it even need to come out.
While functionally the Sprinter is spot on, the lack of a few key options make advanced maneuvering difficult. As predicted, not having a backup camera triples the time it takes to parallel park. The length of the Sprinter brings some serious truth to the words "objects are closer than they appear" and I find myself pulling the e brake and running to the back windows to see how much room I have. I run back to the front, release the brake, drop it into reverse, and mentally calculate about how much room I have. Rinse, repeat. It's not scientific by any means, but it eventually gets the job done.
I can understand the lack of a backup camera, as that optional package will run you north of $1400, but the one feature omitted that surprises me are the proximity sensors. It seems to me that should be standard, especially with the safety requirements of vehicles these days and, again, the enormous size of the Sprinter. Sure, the base price starts at under $40,000, but it would cost close to $4000 in options to get the aids that would take the Sprinter from buslike to minivan-esque.
This is the last I will mention the lack of features because, quite honestly, I find the bare-bones nature of this Sprinter a refreshing challenge. While my colleagues roll around in their fully optioned long-termers with more creature comforts than doggy day care, I'll be rolling from one adventure to the next in primitive fashion. Whether it's navigating a city, camping amongs the redwoods, or loading up for a surfing trip down south, I think the pros will far out weigh the cons.
|2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 Crew Van|
|Service life:||6 mo/9521 mi|
|Avg CO2||1.21 lb/mi|
|Energy cons:||184 kW-hr/100 mi|
|Maintenance cost:||$460.59 (oil change, ad-blue top-off, inspection)|
|EPA City/Hwy/Comb Fuel Econ:||N/A|
|Average Fuel Econ:||18.3 mpg|