Dodge / Ram
Also see our 2007 Sprinter passenger van test drive, with more photos
The Mercedes Sprinter, sold with a Dodge logo in the United States (called a “Dodge Sprinter”), was up-sized for 2007, 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 were now three Sprinter lengths (233, 273, and 289) on two new wheelbases (144 inches and 170 inches), with three interior roof heights: 65 inches, 76 inches, and (new) 84 inches.
Buyers could get a 3.0 liter V6 diesel, or a V6 gas engine, both from Mercedes. Press materials referred to both engines as “high performance,” though Chrysler 3.5 liter engines had long had the same power as the Mercedes gas V6.
The largest model had 600 cubic feet of capacity, a high payload of 5,770 lb, a low side step-in height (19.9 inches), and the widest-in-class rear-door opening (270 degrees) and cargo-sliding door loading width (a pallet-friendly 51 inches). The new top Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) was 11,030 lbs. Oil change intervals were lengthened to 10,000 miles, with maintenance intervals of 30,000 miles.
New standard features included power windows and locks, wide-angle mirrors, tilt- and height- adjustable steering wheel, one-touch triple-flash function turn signals, and adaptive stability control which took payload into account.
All 2007 Sprinters had a load-securing and lashing rail system, power steering and brakes, and headrests for all seats. A front and rear parking assistance system was optional.
Sprinter was then the best selling large van in Europe. It was made in Germany and assembled from kits in South Carolina.
For 2009, Sprinter lost the gas engine and premium sound package, but gained an optional power sliding door, 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 3.0-liter V-6 turbo diesel engine had 154 horsepower (115 kW) and maximum torque of 280 lb.-ft. (380 Nm) at 1,200 to 2,400 rpm. The engine weighed 643 lb (240 kg) and had a particulate filter.
The optional 3.5-liter V-6 Mercedes gas engine had 254 horsepower (189 kW) at 5,900 rpm and maximum torque of 250 lb.-ft. (339 Nm) at 2,500-5,000 rpm. The sole transmission was a five speed automatic.
Shifting was done via Bowden cables; a manumatic was standard.
All tires were secured with six mounting bolts, vs five on the previous model.
Front torsional stiffness was increased 20% and doubled at the rear, and fewer welds in the front end reduced the vehicle weight. The new 16-inch wheels allowed large-diameter brake discs.
The Sprinter had an independent front dual-wishbone suspension. Transverse leaf springs were made from fibreglass-reinforced plastic, lighter than steel leaf springs, with greater stabilizing power. A new type of spring mounting, using mainly center bearings, decoupled suspension and axle-locating components.
The steering gear and transmission cross-member were mounted on the sub-frame. Depending on model, the rear axle also had 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.
The new mega-roof was made of fiberglass-reinforced plastic, painted in body color. An optional transparent plastic skylight was optional.
Upfitters were aided by 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. 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.
High-density headlamps with cornering lights had integrated wide-angle mirrors with turn signals; optional bi-xenon headlamps had glass lenses and solenoid-controlled shutters, with automatic range adjustment and a cleaning system. The Add-Light system used an H-7 halogen bulb that came on at 45 mph, and was also used with turn signals at up to 25 mph.
A front electric windshield heater was optional, as was rear-window heating and wash/wiping.
The new glove compartment was larger and had an air conditioner vent. Passenger van seats had latches for easy removal.
The center console was completely redesigned. Some models had a standard electric heater booster.
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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