San Francisco: This
was a first, a vehicle so large that I was actually worried about
driving it. I am talking about a truck that is almost 23 feet long, 9
feet high, and that has a GVWR of 11,000 pounds!
I am here to tell you
that I thought maybe I had bitten off more than I could chew, or drive.
It ended up that the only difficulty I had was parking the truck, it was
simply too tall to fit in the parking garage at work.
What can I say about
the styling of a big box? Being based on a Mercedes truck, designed
originally for Europe, the Sprinter is narrower than what you usually
see for a truck this size. It is only 79.5 inches wide, which makes it a
lot easier to use on some of those narrow European alleys. It also makes
it a lot easier to drive here, especially for a novice.
There are two
wheelbases available, the shorter 144-inch, and the 170-inch. The short
wheelbase is about 3 feet shorter overall, and with the standard roof it
is a full foot lower. There are a slew of combinations: standard length
(232.5 inches), long (273.2 inches), and extended (289.2 inches),
standard roof, tall roof, higher GVWRs, passenger configuration
I had the long
wheelbase with the long length and the high roof. You know what? It was
a blast! The Sprinter drove almost like a passenger vehicle. The cab on
the model I drove was separated from the cargo area, which made it very
quiet. It had the optional ďsuspensionĒ seats. These are supposed to
help smooth out the bumps but I just locked them in place. There is a
dial to set them for your individual weight but I just could not get it
dialed in. I kept bouncing up and down like I was in an old Buick. The
ride was not that harsh to warrant the seats in my opinion. And if you
need more seating you can get the Sprinter with a front bench seat that
You can equip the
driverís compartment as Spartan or as plush as you want. The version I
drove was pretty plush in a useful way. There was no carpet, but instead
a very easy to clean vinyl floor. There was climate control, cruise
control, auto power windows and power mirrors, a great sound system, and
a ton of storage for all those things you may need to have with you all
The cargo area on the
Sprinter I drove was huge. The cargo area is 14 feet long, almost seven
feet tall, and six foot plus wide (38.5 inches between the wheelhouses).
You could live back there. In fact some motorhome companies are now
building RVís based on the Sprinter Cab and Chassis model.
Bu all that space was
lost on me. I made a trip to the building supply store for an interior
door and some two by fours. I could have put a hundred more doors in the
back and there would have been room for more.
For access into the
cargo area there is a sliding door on the passenger side or two
swing-out doors at the rear. The lift over height into the cargo area is
a reasonable 31 inches, and there are built-in tie downs everywhere to
help keep your cargo in place.
The powertrain is a
front-engine, rear wheel drive arrangement. The engine is a 3.0-liter,
V6, diesel engine. The transmission is a five-speed automatic. Both are
sourced from Mercedes. The new diesels are amazing, quiet, almost
odorless, powerful, and economical.
How economical? Because
these are commercial vehicles, the EPA does not require that the mileage
figures be published, but on a quick trip to Tracy and back on one fine
Sunday I averaged a respectable 19.6 mpg. I think that is amazing. On my
regular commute to work I averaged around 16 mpg. Plus there is a gas
engine available on the smallest versions.
When the Sprinter first
showed up on Dodge dealersí lots there was a lot of concern that no one
would buy them, especially as they replaced the tried and true full-size
Dodge vans. They were slow to catch on but now I see Sprinters and their
Mercedes counterparts just about everywhere.
Their ease of
operation, economy, and large, accessible cargo area are proving their
worth. If you are in the trades you might consider buying a Sprinter.
Thereís enough room back there for all your tools and materials, and you
could still set up a small workshop inside the van.
Prices start at $31,290
for the standard Sprinter and go up to $39,555. Add on some options and
you can get the sticker up to about $50,000, which is not bad for what
you get. If you are in the market for a new work truck you should check
out the new Dodge Sprinter van. Itís the ultimate work truck for a
tradesman. By Bruce Hotchkiss © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Dodge Home Page
content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: The ultimate work truck for the tradesman
Topic: The 2007 Dodge Sprinter 3500 Cargo Van
Word Count: 911
Photo Caption: The 2007 Dodge Sprinter 3500 Cargo Van
Photo Credits: Dodge Sprinter Internet Media
Series #: 2007 - 63
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2007 Dodge Sprinter