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The Sprinter has been gracing Britain’s roads in a variety of formats since 1995 and was for several years the fastest panel van available in the UK (until it was surpassed by the Mercedes-Benz Vito 123, which boasts an outrageous 3.7-litre V6 petrol engine). The three-pointed star on the front of the Sprinter speaks volumes and ensures Mercedes-Benz levels of build quality and handling. It also means that used models hold their values well, so buyers must expect to pay top prices for vehicles in reasonable condition. Gross vehicle weights vary from 2.8 tonnes to 4.6 tonnes and in addition to panel vans with three load lengths and roof heights, there are numerous chassis-cabs, crew-cabs and minibuses. When the Sprinter was first launched it was the first van to offer ABS brakes as standard on models of 120bhp and above, and was made standard across the range in 2003. Stability control (ESP) was also added as standard in 2003.
The cab of the Sprinter is a very pleasing place to be. The seats are firm and supportive and adjust in all directions, the dash-mounted gearlever is slick and smooth and the whole van exudes an air of quiet, calm efficiency. There is plenty of room behind the wheel for six-footers plus. A radio/cassette player comes as standard and there are plenty of cubby holes dotted around the cab.
Buyers of used Sprinters will be pleasantly surprised by their road manners. Five engines are on offer – a 2,295cc petrol variant offering 143bhp, a 2,151cc four-cylinder common rail diesel offering 82, 109 and 129bhp and a 2.7-litre five-cylinder common rail diesel offering 156bhp. Even the 82bhp versions don’t struggle for power and 156bhp variants are little short of hooligans and have been widely blamed for 'white van man' syndrome, such is their power and turn of speed.