Ready To Battle Others Of Its Own Kind
To the casual van observer, there are likely three seminal categories of big-box hauler. 1) The white Ford Econoline. 2) The decades-old conversion vans made by various manufacturers, with a porthole, an angel and a unicorn floating in an airbrushed rendition of the cosmos. 3) The European van, up until recently embodied solely in the form of the Mercedes-Benz (or Dodge or Freightliner) Sprinter.
It’s the latter we flew to Germany to drive, the 2014 model year adding a new standard engine and transmission, new safety tech and a finespun redesign. The fresh elements aren’t just to give buyers a reason to go brand-new, though. With the Nissan “Proboscis Monkey” NV200 having already arrived, Ford about to import its larger Transit cargo hauler and the Fiat Ducato ready to become the Ram ProMaster, the European van that started it all needs to prepare for new competition that actually aligns with its feature set.
If anyone has issues with the 2014 Sprinter, they shouldn’t have anything to do with its performance…