My wife and I are very pleased with our Sprinter thus far. We have already logged some trips. The first trip was about 3 hours in awful traffic from Oakland Airport to Sacramento, Ca. and then a straight 7 hours (plus) back up Interstate 5 to Eugene, Oregon before finally heading back (2 hours) to our home on the Coast in Coos Bay.
Not long after that trip we had another trip, this was our first trip delivering boxes to Portland. However we had to drive past Portland to and continue our 6 hour trip up to The Dalles, Oregon to deliver 4 studded tires on wheels, before then driving back to the LBC terminal at the Portland Airport to drop our 14 LBC cargo boxes, destined for the Philippines. That was the easiest delivery of LBC boxes I've ever made, thanks to the ample room in the Sprinter and the heavy duty build quality. Unlike deliveries of the past in my previously owned and capable Sequoia SUV, there was no vehicle sagging, or squashy handling, in fact there really wasn't any indication that I had a large load of boxes in the back. I know the Sequoia is a 1500 equivalent and this Sprinter is a 2500, apples to pears you'll say, but this really handles more like one ton in the van realm, as it out hauls the Ford Transit T-350 diesel. Despite pushing our 9' tall van into the wind, (with a heavy foot) loaded with 14 heavy overseas boxes, 4 heavy duty truck tires on wheels with my family and all of their belongings we still averaged better fuel mileage (17+ mpg) than our previous Sequoia workhorse, all thanks to the benefits of the Sprinter 6 cylinder diesel. The 4 cylinder diesel, according to Mercedes should return approximately an extra 18% fuel savings.
The weather, as is typical this time of year has been very windy and very wet each time we've have had to drive more than an hour out of town. To my surprise the Sprinter has been nothing but rock solid thus far; concealing strong wind gusts and deep, rain filled rutted highways into a smooth, calm, no-drama drive. In fact I remember saying after the last 6 plus hour trip in the miserable rain and wind storm that this is my vehicle of choice in bad weather. This Sprinter (and all 2016's) are equipped with the "Cross-Wind Assist" feature that under certain circumstances applies the brakes on certain wheels to keep you in your lane. While that feature gives me some comfort, I have not seen that feature activate in my instrument cluster. It's really all the more impressive to me that such a high profile vehicle has handled so well without the use thus far of this extra safety feature.
We like our new rig, but that isn't to say that there haven't been issues. The first of which is that I learned how vulnerable that large windshield really is to rock damage, its like a rock magnet. On day one, driving back from the Oakland Airport to Sacramento, in awful rush hour traffic I was somehow able to get a small rock chip on the bottom of the window that resulted in a large crack snaking itself up and across the windscreen the next morning and through the next days drive. The good news was that the repair bill for replacement was a much better than expected $310.00. The next day however, driving up Beaver Hill, just south of Coos Bay on Highway 101 a passing Ford Explorer added rock chips on my one day old windshield. My conclusion; this won't be my last windscreen replacement.
The quirky and the annoying things I've noticed thus far:
1. I noticed that the fuel light kicks on at the 1/4 tank level. which is the earliest I've ever seen a fuel light kick on. No big deal, just a little odd to have it kick on with 100 miles left.I can see why all my test drives were done with this alert on the instrument display.
2. The factory horn is a beep-beep horn. Mine now carries a proper Freightliner (air) horn. No Freightliner branded vehicle should ever beep for a horn. C'mon Mercedes, Freightliner's image is your concern.
3. There was no rear view camera mounted on my van, despite having the stereo with the GPS which is typically paired together. Stranger still, some Sprinters are pre-wired for adding a camera and some (mine) are not. Why would they put in the proper monitor and add the factory hitch and not just pre-wire this vehicle? Why don't they pre-wire or add cameras to all of them?
4. The bench seats are for the most part heavy, but not complicated to remove; with the big exception to the rear-most, four-passenger seat. For a reason I cannot figure out, Mercedes deliberately made the rear most row an extra pain in the neck to remove. I seldom look in my driver's manual, but I made an exception for this purpose and it failed me, terribly. The drivers manual simply said to take the vehicle to a specialist to remove. Hmmm, my nearest dealership is a 2 hour drive one-way and not open much on the weekend. I searched online, in the Sprinter Forum to learn that a claw hammer was needed and applied in the same way the other seats are removed. Mercedes, if you are listening, fix this nonsense. Mercedes should've had the same release mechanisms on the rear seat as they do on the others. The rear seats are also bolted to the walls, so make sure to not lose the bolts. When you use the hammer you will unlock one side of the bench seat from the floor only to have the other side lock, an exercise in frustration unless you have another person to help hold it in the unlocked position. This explains why I have seen used Sprinters with scratched up rear floors. I assume it has to do with removing this rear passenger seat. Be sure to not let the rear row slide on the floor when you remove it.
5. My last quirky or annoying observation is that the exterior door handles all appear as though they were designed to pinch fingers.
My vehicle has Parktronic, which is a feature that makes you aware of your front and rear bumpers proximity to objects by way of colored lights on the exterior mirrors and the front center dashboard and accompanied by sound. I previously thought this was a nonsense option and it probably is if you buy the whole package, just because of its cost.. However, broken off the package it has proven to be a very useful option; especially if you don't have a rear view camera to count on. Do not count on Parktronic to inform you of your roof proximity against low clearance roofs, such as garages, as the sensors are located in the bumpers. Roof sensors is something that Mercedes should work on, as it can be easy to forget that you're driving a van that is over 9 feet tall. No incidents for me to report thus far though.
I enjoy the automatic passenger stair, located on the sliding door entry. This is a $1,000 option that I would have normally avoided on a new order, but it has proven very useful for loading/unloading my son in his wheelchair. It's something to help me out until we gather our funds to install the wheelchair lift.
I haven't mentioned it in this post, but I really love the higher driving position and the large, bus like windscreen view of the road, despite rock damage. It took awhile to figure out the front seats, but they have proven comfortable on long trips.The sound of the diesel engine is also something I love to hear, which is absent on my 2014 VW Jetta diesel.
Due to my vehicle having aged one year prior to me owning it, I followed Mercedes/Freightliner service guidelines and had the oil changed at a Mercedes dealership in Sacramento. My next oil change/ service is scheduled at 20,000 miles.
I will keep you posted.