Cargo vans are great for businesses that need to make deliveries or transport large items from one location to another. In fact, many businesses purchase cargo vans for a variety of reasons, and two of the most popular ones are the Dodge Sprinter and the Sprinter made by Mercedes-Benz.
They are named the same, so many people assume they offer the same advantages and disadvantages, but is this really accurate? Are both vehicles alike, or are they simply two vehicles that just happen to have the same name? Let’s take a look at some of the answers.
What Is the Sprinter?
The truth is that the Dodge Sprinter and the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, for all practical purposes, are the same vehicle. The Sprinter was produced by Dodge from 2003 to 2006, just as it was manufactured by other companies in other years, including Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and Freightliner. That being said, the van did differ in some ways when it was produced by Dodge.
In fact, starting in 2003, the Sprinter could be purchased under either the Dodge name or the Freightliner name in the United States and Canada, though not in Mexico. When the Dodge Sprinter was introduced in 2003, it mimicked the Freightliner Trucks version, with some differences. These included both badging and some minor details regarding styling.
The Sprinter was introduced by Daimler-Chrysler and based that vehicle on their Dodge Ram van, which they had produced since the 1970s. In 2003, rather than discontinue the Dodge Ram, they replaced it with the Sprinter.
One interesting note about the Dodge Sprinter: from 2001 to 2006, all cargo vans, including the Sprinter, were manufactured in Germany, then disassembled and sent to a plant in South Carolina, where the vans would be reassembled. Why? Because if they were complete units, they were subject to a 25% tax when they came into the country.
What Are the Differences between Dodge Sprinter and Mercedes Sprinter?
Interestingly, this cargo van was altered a bit when it started being manufactured by Mercedes-Benz. Below are some of the differences from one company to the other:
- A/C: standard in both vehicles
- ABS: standard for both vehicles
- Adaptive cruise control: N/A (Dodge) / optional (Mercedes-Benz)
- Air bag – driver: standard for both vehicles
- Air bag – passenger: standard for both vehicles
- Brake assist: N/A (Dodge) / standard (Mercedes-Benz)
- Climate control: standard (Dodge) / optional (Mercedes-Benz)
- Cruise control: optional (Dodge) / standard (Mercedes-Benz)
- Drivetrain: rear-wheel drive in both
- Engine: 3.0L V6 diesel (Dodge) / 2.0L Turbo inline-4 gas (Mercedes-Benz)
- Front wheel size: 16” x 6.5” for both of them
- Fuel tank capacity: 25 gallons (Dodge) / 22 gallons (Mercedes-Benz)
- Heated front seats: optional for both vehicles
- Height: 96.3 inches for both of them
- Horsepower: 154 HP @ 3,400 RPM (Dodge) / 188 HP @ 5,000 RPM (Mercedes-Benz)
- Keyless entry: standard for both vehicles
- Maximum towing capacity: N/A (Dodge) / 5,000 lbs. (Mercedes-Benz)
- Maximum width: 79.7 inches (Dodge) / 79.5 inches (Mercedes-Benz)
- Navigation system: N/A (Dodge) / optional (Mercedes-Benz)
- Power mirrors: optional (Dodge) / standard (Mercedes-Benz)
- Rear wheel size: 16” x 6.5” for both of them
- Seating capacity: both are two-seaters
- Stability control: standard for both vehicles
- Standard exterior colors: a total of six colors for the Dodge; a total of seven colors for the Mercedes-Benz
- Standard interior colors: gray, black, or gray cloth seat trim (Dodge) / black, Maturin fabric upholstery (Mercedes-Benz)
- Steering type: power rack and pinion (Dodge) / rack and pinion (Mercedes-Benz)
- Steering wheel audio controls: optional (Dodge) / standard (Mercedes-Benz)
- Tire pressure monitor: standard for both vehicles
- Traction control: standard for both vehicles
- Transmission: N/A (Dodge) / 9-speed automatic (Mercedes-Benz)
- Turning diameter: 47.6 feet (Dodge) / 40.7 feet (Mercedes-Benz)
- Type of wheels: steel wheels on both of them
- Warranty – basic: three years or 36,000 miles for both vehicles
- Warranty – drivetrain: N/A (Dodge) / five years or 100,000 miles for Mercedes-Benz
- Warranty – roadside assistance: three years or 36,000 miles for both vehicles
- Wheelbase: 144 inches for both of them
In the above example, the 2006 Dodge Sprinter and the 2021 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter were compared, since these are the two newest versions of these vehicles. As you can see, most of the differences are minor or cosmetic in nature. With some of these features, the Dodge is the better deal, and with other features, the Mercedes-Benz offers the best options.
Either way, if you keep in mind that these two vehicles are essentially the same cargo vans with just a name change, it can help you understand the differences between them. In addition, many of the advantages that the Mercedes-Benz Sprinters offer are simply because they are newer and, therefore, are more likely to be updated and advanced.
In both cases, the Sprinter is a large cargo van that has also been used as a minibus, pickup truck, and chassis cab. In addition to Dodge, Volkswagen also manufactured the Sprinter for a while, but now they are made exclusively by Mercedes-Benz. Toyota also makes a vehicle called the Sprinter, but it is a compact car and not a cargo van.
The model designations for the Sprinter are based on the gross weight rating and are known by the letter W, with W901 through W905 being the five models offered with this van.
The Sprinter has been made by many different car companies. Even though it is currently manufactured by Mercedes-Benz, it was made by the Dodge Company from 2003 to 2006, where it differed slightly with certain features. Most of the differences, however, were very minor and therefore the car has essentially been the same since it was introduced.
The new Sprinter boasts of being more economical, safer, more attractive, and more eco-friendly than before, and for 20 years or more, it has stood out because of its reliability and its high quality. Although the Mercedes Sprinters are still on the market and the Dodge Sprinters are not, you can still find used versions of the latter if you try.
Regardless of who makes them, Sprinters are such good cars that they are very likely to still be on the road 20 years from now, maybe even longer, so they are worth researching if you need a good commercial cargo vehicle.