2007 Dodge Sprinter passenger van and commercial vehicle
The Mercedes Sprinter, sold with a Dodge logo by Dodge dealers in the United States (called a “Dodge Sprinter” for short), has been up-sized, with width expanded by two inches, interior height by 11, cargo area length by 19 inches, cargo volume by 127 cubic feet, and towing capacity by 2,500 pounds. There are now three Sprinter lengths (233, 273, and 289) on two new wheelbases (144 inches and 170 inches). There are three interior roof height options: 65 inches, 76 inches, and now 84 inches. In addition to the 3.0 liter V6 diesel, there is a Mercedes M272 3.5 liter V6 gas engine. Press materials refer to both engines as “high performance,” though Chrysler has gotten the same power out of its 3.5 liter engines for years, and Toyota is currently getting considerably more. Chrysler’s 3.5 liter V6, which we suspect would have been cheaper, was apparently not considered.
Future powertrains will probably include a plug-in hybrid. 20 Sprinter PHEVs are due to be tested starting in 2008; four are already used by customers.
Features include cargo capacity of the largest model (600 cubic feet), interior compartment accessibility, payload (5,770 lbs.), lowest side step-in height (19.9 inches), widest rear-door opening (270 degrees), and cargo-sliding door loading width (a pallet-friendly 51 inches). The new top Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is 11,030 lbs. Oil change intervals have been lengthened to 10,000 miles, with maintenance intervals of 30,000 miles.
New standard features include power windows and locks, integrated wide-angle mirrors, halogen headlamps, 16-inch wheels, tilt- and height- adjustable steering wheel, CD radio, one-touch triple-flash function turn signals, and ADAPTIVE ESP for improved functionality and safety capability.
New for 2007 is an adaptive stability control system which takes into account the vehicle payload which further reduces the risk of vehicle skidding and loss of control. All 2007 Sprinter cargo vans utilize a load-securing and lashing rail system allowing straps to be attached at multiple locations for enhanced cargo and passenger protection. Other standard safety features include power steering and brakes, three-point lap/shoulder belts (height adjustable for driver and front passenger), headrests for all seats, and an available system which uses ultrasonic sensors in front and rear bumpers to assist the driver when maneuvering or parking.
Sprinter has had worldwide sales of over 1.2 million units in more than 100 countries; it is the best-selling vehicle in its class in Europe. Sprinters are designed and made in Germany, with final assembly of cargo vans for the US market in Ladson, S.C.
Sprinter competes in the 2500 and 3500 series large van segments along with Class 3 low-cab-over-engine (LCOE) trucks. Segment volume forecasts for 2006 were 212,300 units with expected growth to 216,300 units by 2010.
For 2009, Sprinter went on an options refresh, losing the gas engine and premium sound package, but gaining an optional power sliding door, various stereo/phone options, emergency windows, 180-degree rear door opening, two-stage side door opening, wheel chocks, roof rails, and auxiliary fuel tap. Chassis cab options were expanded to include a frame-mounted spare, rear crossmember, exterior mirror extensions up to 96 inches, and lamp failure monitoring delete.
The Sprinter is normally powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 turbo diesel engine with 154 horsepower (115 kW) and maximum torque of 280 lb.-ft. (380 Nïm) at 1,200 to 2,400 rpm. With an aluminum crankcase, a balancer shaft and two overhead camshafts per cylinder bank, the engine has a low emissions rating and comes equipped with a standard particulate filter. The engine weighs 643 lbs. (240 kg).
Optional now is a 3.5-liter V-6 Mercedes gas engine with 254 horsepower (189 kW) at 5,900 rpm and maximum torque of 250 lb.-ft. (339 Nm) at 2,500-5,000 rpm.
All Sprinters are equipped with a standard five-speed automatic transmission. Similar to the previous model, the driver is able to change gears with an instrument panel-mounted gearshift on the center console. The shift commands are transmitted via Bowden cables allowing the shift effort to be further reduced. If desired, the driver may limit the shift range manually by nudging the selector lever to the right or left (plus/minus). In complement to engine braking, this feature is particularly useful on inclines, slopes or downhill gradients.
The suspension was enhanced for improved ride and handling, and new tires and 16-inch wheels are standard on all models, along with a new tilt-telescope steering wheel and a standard tire pressure monitoring system on 2500. All tires are secured with six mounting bolts as opposed to five on the previous model. Aluminum wheels and all-season tires are an option.
Front torsional stiffness is increased 20 percent and 100 percent at the rear, and fewer welds in the front end reduce the vehicle weight. New 16-inch wheels accommodate large-diameter brake discs and provide the foundation for improved brake system performance, while a variable speed-sensitive steering ratio allows for easy maneuvering.
The Sprinter has an independent shock absorber strut front suspension with wishbones. Transverse leaf springs are manufactured from fibreglass-reinforced plastic, lighter than conventional steel leaf springs with greater stabilizing power. A new type of spring mounting, using mainly center bearings, is used to decouple suspension and axle-locating components, significantly improving tuning possibilities.
The steering gear and transmission cross-member are also mounted on the sub-frame. In the event of an impact, controlled energy absorption is provided by side members and by the sub-frame, which detaches itself. An front axle provides improved handling and higher payload capacity than the previous model with ratings between 3,970 and 4,080 lbs. Depending on model, the rear axle is also equipped with a stabilizer and new progressive-rate parabolic multi-leaf springs, optimized for easy installation.
Large-diameter brake discs are now used for better stopping. Factory fitting of a trailer coupling eliminates the need for additional technical inspections and alterations. Depending on model, maximum towing capacity is up to 7,500 lbs.
Mega-Roof and Chassis Cab
The new mega-roof is made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic and may be painted in any body color. Available with either fixed or opening skylights of single-layer safety glass, an optional transparent plastic skylight is also available. Supplied by Westfalia Van Conversion, a Daimler subsidiary, the mega-roof is produced in Germany.
The 2007 Sprinter Chassis Cab enables easy body installation and upfit with flat frame rails, a bolted rear-cross frame member, and fuel-filler neck and nozzle integrated with the cab, which eliminates the need for re-routing or to build bodies around the fuel-fill system. Taillight wiring harnesses may be lengthened easily to fit extended utility bodies, or taillights may be deleted if required. Other options include a two-seat front bench and a rear window for the cab, and wiring harnesses for lighting the interior of upfit bodies. 2008 models will likely be similar.
High-density headlamps with cornering light function are coupled with new integrated wide-angle mirrors with turn signals for better visibility, front and rear; the optional bi-xenon headlamps have a glass lens and solenoid-controlled shutter, with automatic range adjustment and a cleaning system. The Add-Light system uses an H-7 halogen bulb that comes on at 45 mph; it’s used when turn signals are on as well, at up to 25 mph.
The optional rain/light sensor adds a continuous variable wiping mode controlled by the intensity of the rain. The sensor measures overall ambient light and light in front of the vehicle and promptly adjusts for different conditions including daylight, dusk, night or driving through tunnels or under bridges. A front windshield heater consisting of thin, wavy, horizontal heating filaments is also available as an option.
All glazed versions of the rear doors may be equipped with a new rear-window heating and wash/wipe system. For added visibility and safety, a heating filament along the wipers' end-sweep position prevents wiper blades from freezing to the window in winter conditions. If the driver engages reverse gear when the front windshield wiper is on, rear wipers are automatically activated.
The new glove compartment is larger and more easily accessible than on the previous model, incorporates two card holders and a pen holder, and, using the air conditioning system, may be kept cool. With the optional bulkhead and mega-roof, there is an available over-cab storage area in the load compartment, ideal for accommodating larger items including bags, tool cases, helmets, rainwear, etc. There is also additional overhead storage above the windshield which is standard.
Passenger van seats are equipped with quick-release latches allowing them to be removed from the vehicle quickly and without tools. Of special interest for the parcel delivery sector is the optional flip-up seat on the front-passenger side, available in conjunction with the bulkhead. The optional bulkhead with a sliding door provides quick access to the cargo compartment. There is also an available two-seat bench with a fold out work surface and under seat storage.
Completely redesigned, the center console features controls for the entertainment and navigation center, air conditioning and heating systems, hazard warning light switch, a note holder, a 12-volt socket and two cup holders.
In addition to a standard AM/FM CD radio, upgraded options include a six-disc CD changer and hands-free telephone systems which may be controlled by the multi-functional steering wheel.
A range of air conditioning systems are available. The front system provides air conditioning for the driver and co-driver and for the first passenger seat row. Air conditioning is also provided for the glove compartment via a separate air duct and slide control. To increase the cooling performance for passenger vans, a roof-mounted air conditioning unit is available.
Now an air-blending system instead of the previous coolant-controlled system, the new standard heating system responds quickly and the temperature may be precisely controlled. Air ducts and outlets have also been revised for uniform ventilation.
Some models are equipped with a standard electric heater booster. It is activated automatically after starting the engine which substantially increases the heater output temperature. When reaching a pre-set outside temperature or interior temperature of 80 degrees, the heater booster switches off automatically.
What we had written before: Tim Massey’s spy shots
The Dodge Sprinter - a Mercedes Sprinter with a Dodge logo - is due for renewal soon, and Tim Massey was able to catch some pictures of the new version on I-70. The Dodge Ram logo was clearly visible under tape between the rear wipers. The driver scooted as soon as he saw Tim’s camera.
This version of the Sprinter appears to be the people-transporter version, aimed at hotels and churches seeking better gas mileage from their full-sized vans. Note the new shape of the rear window glass and what appears to be a larger glass area than current models. Likewise, the front doors have window glass that angle downwards.
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The Mercedes-designed-and-built commercial van, assembled from knockdown kits in South Carolina, were redesigned for 2007 with a more space, speed, and comfort, and a possible passenger version for US sale, pictured here. An advanced stability system prevents rollover, even judging current vehicle weight. This is not a Chrysler product, despite the Dodge grille and nameplate.