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Twinmomma
02-12-2012, 06:32 PM
Hi!!
I need to some help on trying to decide if a sprinter van is for us. We currently drive a Honda odyssey which I love but we have sadly outgrown it :frown: We are looking into getting a new(er) Mercedes sprinter van but I have a ton of questions( we also have just started to look so there is probably a lot of silly questions that I am going to ask)
I am just going to list them and hope you guys can help me out!

1- how well does it really handle in the snow? We live in Connecticut and drive up to Vermont a lot so we need a car that can handle the snow. I just want to make sure we won't get stuck on a hill or something

2- can you get a option to have two sliding doors on both sides? That would be a nice touch:thumbup:

3- how is it to park it? Can you actually park it at all in a parking garage? We are looking into a standard roof.

4-how is it on gas? I heard it was better then the ford or gmc 12 passenger vans

5- I had also heard that the sprinter vans are safer then the 12 passenger ford or gmc vans- they seem to have more accidents ------ not sure if you heard anything about this or not

6- options----- do you know if we can get a DVD player factory installed or do we need to do that on our own.?

7- last bUt not least is there any options you would tell us to get or any to avoid?


Thanks so much ! We need all the help we can get!!!!

flman
02-12-2012, 10:30 PM
Hi!!
I need to some help on trying to decide if a sprinter van is for us. We currently drive a Honda odyssey which I love but we have sadly outgrown it :frown: We are looking into getting a new(er) Mercedes sprinter van but I have a ton of questions( we also have just started to look so there is probably a lot of silly questions that I am going to ask)
I am just going to list them and hope you guys can help me out!

1- how well does it really handle in the snow? We live in Connecticut and drive up to Vermont a lot so we need a car that can handle the snow. I just want to make sure we won't get stuck on a hill or something

They are no better or worse then any other 2wd vehicle.

2- can you get a option to have two sliding doors on both sides? That would be a nice touch:thumbup:

You should be able to get this with factory order.

3- how is it to park it? Can you actually park it at all in a parking garage? We are looking into a standard roof.

Our 140WB Sprinter fits into all standard parking areas.

4-how is it on gas? I heard it was better then the ford or gmc 12 passenger vans

Figure on 17 to 18 MPG.

5- I had also heard that the sprinter vans are safer then the 12 passenger ford or gmc vans- they seem to have more accidents ------ not sure if you heard anything about this or not

Mercedes makes some of the safest vehicles on the planet.

6- options----- do you know if we can get a DVD player factory installed or do we need to do that on our own.?

No problem, my base cargo van came with a DVD player standard.

7- last bUt not least is there any options you would tell us to get or any to avoid?

Back up camera and GPS would be nice.


Thanks so much ! We need all the help we can get!!!!

Good luck on the shopping.

HappyFamilyVan
02-12-2012, 11:47 PM
Twinmomma,

ConGrats on number 7.

I have only 5 and I cannot imagine how we lived without the Sprinter.
Mine is a 144WB (short) and standard height (short) with rear A/C.
I live in Texas so have not tried it in the snow, but I can only guess it would handle as well as any non 4wd in the snow…since I have a short/short, no issues with parking spaces and most fast food drive-ins. I do not go into most parking garages…but then again my suburban is sometimes too tall.

I just returned from a 2000 mile plus round trip between Texas and Florida. AVG MPG 20 (I will post a separate thread with details)

As far as safety…that was the number one reason we purchased a Sprinter over a US made van. US full size vans do not have head rests for all passengers; they do not have integrated seatbelts (they are connected to the side of the van which is a hassle for the very rear passengers to enter). While they do have ABS, the do not have the extensive ESP braking as the Sprinter. The Sprinter braking system is very sophisticated. There is more info on the brakes in this forum. The van passengers sit higher off the road than the US vans therefore raising the impact/kill zone for most accidents. This is a good thing, so I have been told by an auto engineer. The uni body construction is safer. (Designed to crumple and absorbed impact energy is safer then frame construction which will transfer the energy. – not sure I agree with this one…but that is what I was told) Steering and handling is far superior than any US van hence helps avoiding crashes.

My cargo is my children…I needed the safest vehicle I could get and I needed space. For us only the Sprinter fit the bill.

Cost…Loaded Sprinter passenger van can be less than a loaded Suburban.
What I am about to say will probably set off a lot of replies, but I will say it anyway. Sprinters are NOT hot selling items. Dealers want to move them off their lots…especially passenger vans… they do not like stale inventory. I do not care what a sales man says …you can find dealers that will take off between 8 and 12 k off whatever the sicker says. But it needs to be on their lot…so you can not pick how it is outfitted. But you can look in dealer inventories around the country till you find what you are looking for. How do I know this… two weeks ago I hooked up a friend of mine with a passenger van. Not the first time I hooked up a friend (Sprinters are the new soccer mom/dad van) Note: note sure the dealers on this forum will be as aggressive in pricing… But there are in dealers in Florida, California, and Louisiana who are. Two weeks ago…Sticker 52K, sales price 40.5K plus TT&L plus $800 shipping to Texas. ..not a bad deal for a fully loaded 144 WB stand height (short/short) awesome van.

Most passenger vans come with lots of options already on them but here are some must haves...
Park sense…not till I had it did I ever think I would need it….love it
Steering wheel controls with highline dash read out…nice to control radio and the 2012 you can control the phone….plus you get easy access to all the computer read out stuff…
Auto wipers- detects when it rains and auto turns on...love this.
Rear A/C …I live in Texas…it’s a must here…would assume based on your climate that you would want rear heat as well

Good Luck!

cahaak
02-13-2012, 12:40 AM
Well. I have 7 kids and I also own a 2001 Honda Odyssey. First, there is a wealth of info on this forum for you to read up on.

Some of the decisions that you make will depend on your financial situation as a family, your family style, and how long you will need to have a vehicle like this (ages of your kids and when they will start leaving the nest).

I adopted 4 kids in the spring of 2010 to get seven and I had a bit of time before that happened to weigh all of the pros and cons of the decision process. At the time I bought the van, I was going to need to get 8-10 years out of it based on my kids ages. I try to drive all ov my vehicles for at least 15 years - this one being no exception. Our family like to do a lot of traveling and camping and so on. With seven kids, flying is pretty much out of the equation due to the $ involved and then the issues with finding a vehicle once you get there. So, I figured that I would be doing a lot of driving and in fact we do. I have had this van 2 years and we put about 25K+ miles on it each year, so MPG was important to me. Before I bought my van, I had borrowed a friends very large Dodge Ram (older van). 14 mpg all the time. I currently get about 22 summer and 20 winter on my Sprinter. Mainly came down to we are going to put a lot of miles on, like to take family trips and was looking for economical long term costs and comfortable travel vehicle. We have taken trips where we put 1089 miles on in one day (youngest was 7 at the time), and it worked great, plenty of room during the drive, you do not feel trapped.

Now, on to my van. Initially I as looking for a new Sprinter. Dealer just down the road had a 2008 demo with 2K miles on it in the fall of '09 for cheap (30.5K) due to dodge getting out of the sprinter selling. Thought I had a deal with him (on phone), stopped in the dealership - he sold it (financed by them of course - I was going to pay cash. Great blessing in the end. Found a 2006 on Craigslist down in Houston with 113K miles on it. Talked with the seller, and had a friend down there take a look at it. Long story short (and there is a lot longer story on the forum here), bought the van for $15K and drove it home. Had a few things to fix on it, but we love it. My wife would rather drive it than the Odyssey. We have rear AC and it is 140". With the AC on the rear, just shy of 8' 6" tall. Very difficult to find parking garages that are that high here in the Twin Cities, but I rarely need that. We live in MN and do not have rear heat, but we have the ESPAR diesel heater wired to run from a switch and we prewarm the van when needed (like before church this morning). We do not have a DVD in our van, but that is a preference, we make all our kids read or listen to things on CDs and so on.

If you are going to need this vehicle for some time, I highly recommend it. I happen to be very handy with vehicles and I do all the work on my own van, but you can have it serviced by the dealer, it will just cost a bit more.

I'm not really familiar with the newer Sprinters and what they offer as I have a T1N. We currently have about 160K on the it and I fully expect to get close to 400K before we are done. We will be taking a long trip out East this summer and passing through your neck of the woods with our pop up camper. Probably 6K miles and not worried about the van, it is fun. My plan is to have the van get us to 2021 (15 years total from model year) and by then the remaining kids are home should be manageable in a smaller vehicle. My wife is almost a professional chauffeur for the kids and she loves the van. Only took her about 45 minutes to love it.

Anyway, that is my take, you can pm me via the forums if you need to. We know several other larger families that have Sprinters and it is really the way to go for larger families.

Chris

glasseye
02-13-2012, 04:10 AM
...We need all the help we can get!!!!

You'll get it here. This forum hosts some of the most knowledgeable, friendly and helpful people I've never met.

In daily use, it's a pussycat. Parking (other than the obvious height issues) is breathtakingly easy. The Sprinter is designed to negotiate narrow, congested European backstreets. Maneuverability is its forte. Vision outwards is superb. On the open road, it is without peer.

Those other guys must be driving 'em like they stole 'em. :rad: My 2004 Sprinter consistently delivers over 25 mpusg on the highway. The newer ones (2007 and later) have a larger engine that's not quite as frugal.

Besides, your kids will flat-out LOVE it. :thumbup:

flman
02-13-2012, 10:32 AM
In daily use, it's a pussycat. Parking (other than the obvious height issues) is breathtakingly easy. The Sprinter is designed to negotiate narrow, congested European backstreets. Maneuverability is its forte. Vision outwards is superb. On the open road, it is without peer.


Your right, I forget to mention the short radius the Sprinter can turn in, as long as you don't get the 170WB model. :thumbup:

Twinmomma
02-13-2012, 12:46 PM
So if we want to add the rear AC that will go on top of the roof right? Does anyone know how much height that will add? Thanks again!

MillionMileSprinter
02-13-2012, 02:36 PM
Hi!!
I need to some help on trying to decide if a sprinter van is for us. We currently drive a Honda odyssey which I love but we have sadly outgrown it :frown: We are looking into getting a new(er) Mercedes sprinter van but I have a ton of questions( we also have just started to look so there is probably a lot of silly questions that I am going to ask)
I am just going to list them and hope you guys can help me out!

1- how well does it really handle in the snow? We live in Connecticut and drive up to Vermont a lot so we need a car that can handle the snow. I just want to make sure we won't get stuck on a hill or something
I have 6 kids and we went from a VW eurovan up to the Sprinter when the 6th was born. I personally have had BAD experiences with my Sprinter in the snow. Last year at this time I hit a patch of ice and lost total control and slid off the road. Then, just two days ago, I was on the same road (going very slow) and almost slid off the road again, but the Sprinter's traction control brought the van back in line. I have snow tires BUT NOT ON THE VAN RIGHT NOW :bash: We've had such a mild winter here in Philly that I haven't needed them... until I went up to the mountains to go snowboarding. I personally won't EVER go out in the snow or up into the mountains in winter without my snow tires anymore. But that's not really a drawback of the Sprinter per se, I saw plenty of other cars in that had slid off the road or even flipped as I was driving home on Saturday.

2- can you get a option to have two sliding doors on both sides? That would be a nice touch:thumbup:
There's a guy on the forum from West Virginia who has double sliding doors on his Sprinter that he ordered, so I know it's possible to get them. I think his name is BillWV or something like that.

3- how is it to park it? Can you actually park it at all in a parking garage? We are looking into a standard roof.
I also have a standard roof, and I can't park in most garages. You have to look for parking garages that can handle buses or campers. In Philly, this is not common, but they do exist. Because you most likely won't be parking in a garage, you will NEED a backup camera. I have one and can't live without it. It makes parallel parking a breeze. The vans maneuver easily, it's just hard to know where your bumper is because the back windows are so high.

4-how is it on gas? I heard it was better then the ford or gmc 12 passenger vans
My neighbor has 5 kids and has a GMC van. We both left our houses fully loaded with kids and ski/snowboard gear and drove up to his dad's house in the mountains this weekend. He got 12mpg and I got 20mpg.
5- I had also heard that the sprinter vans are safer then the 12 passenger ford or gmc vans- they seem to have more accidents ------ not sure if you heard anything about this or not
Mercedes Benz is known for it's safety. That said, there are more domestic vans on the road than there are Sprinters, so they will likely have more accidents.
6- options----- do you know if we can get a DVD player factory installed or do we need to do that on our own.?
DVD is an option, but you can customize all you want. Sprinters are like a blank canvas, you just need to add in your colors and accessories. There are TONS of posts from members who have done beautiful and creative custom jobs on the interiors of their sprinters.

7- last bUt not least is there any options you would tell us to get or any to avoid?
Traction control is standard, so you don't have to worry about that. Like I said before, a backup camera is a MUST. Factory installed or your own installation- there are hundreds of choices out there.

Thanks so much ! We need all the help we can get!!!!

Welcome to the Sprinter world. People here are really nice and helpful. Keep us updated! :thumbup:

sikwan
02-13-2012, 03:04 PM
I don't think you can get a passenger with dual sliding doors. A cargo yes, passenger no. This is the same with a factory DVD. None the I can see from a build my own.

A couple things I would recommend is rear heat and rear a/c.

doghaus
02-14-2012, 02:35 PM
If you're worried about height--don't get a high roof. I purchased a short (144) high roof passenger van with rear AC in the fall and it is about 9 feet 5 inches tall. That is way too tall to fit in any parking garage that I know. The standard roof with rear AC may even be too tall for many parking garages. I live in New Hampshire and have a house in Vermont --driving it in the snow hasn't really been an issue this year since we really haven't had any so far. The little driving I've done in the snow, I will say what everyone else has said, it is no worse than any vehicle with 2 wheel drive. What options? With all the windows--rear AC. A backup camera really helps too. I did not get a backup camera as a factory option so I just installed one--it is really helpful to see what is directly behind that bumper. BTW it was far less expensive to get the camera and a new radio installed than get them as factory options--I believe the backup camera alone was an $800 option. :2cents:

david_42
02-14-2012, 05:03 PM
Can't call on snow handling, but mud ... A Sprinter has a relatively light rear, because all of the engine weight is in front. Can't backup a hill for beans. Once in a while, my wife has to walk to the back of our cargo van to provide a little extra traction. With nine people in it, you won't have any trouble. The handling, even in windy conditions, is amazing good.

My family had six and we had one of the early Ford Falcon vans (1962). The Sprinter is far, far better.

danirions
02-14-2012, 08:00 PM
Hi!!
I need to some help on trying to decide if a sprinter van is for us. We currently drive a Honda odyssey which I love but we have sadly outgrown it :frown: We are looking into getting a new(er) Mercedes sprinter van but I have a ton of questions( we also have just started to look so there is probably a lot of silly questions that I am going to ask)
I am just going to list them and hope you guys can help me out!

1- how well does it really handle in the snow? We live in Connecticut and drive up to Vermont a lot so we need a car that can handle the snow. I just want to make sure we won't get stuck on a hill or something

2- can you get a option to have two sliding doors on both sides? That would be a nice touch:thumbup:

3- how is it to park it? Can you actually park it at all in a parking garage? We are looking into a standard roof.

4-how is it on gas? I heard it was better then the ford or gmc 12 passenger vans

5- I had also heard that the sprinter vans are safer then the 12 passenger ford or gmc vans- they seem to have more accidents ------ not sure if you heard anything about this or not

6- options----- do you know if we can get a DVD player factory installed or do we need to do that on our own.?

7- last bUt not least is there any options you would tell us to get or any to avoid?


Thanks so much ! We need all the help we can get!!!!

We have a NEW 2010 Sprinter 144 passenger van in stock with rear A/C and heat that I can sell for $39,000.00 if you want to come to Tampa Florida. My email is dirions@tampaftl.com if interested.

glasseye
02-14-2012, 11:24 PM
If you're worried about height--don't get a high roof.

doghaus, I see this as a non-issue. Correct me if I'm wrong, but even the "standard" roof vans won't be able to access many parkades. For me, the "high" roof is a significant reason to own a Sprinter in the first place.

doghaus
02-15-2012, 12:11 AM
Glasseye,

Yes, I do have to agree that the standard roof with rear AC is probably too tall for parking garages. There may be some out there with enough clearance but I have never seen one. I own a Sprinter for that extra headroom and space--there is nothing like being able to move around without ducking your head. As to clearance going through "drive-thru" restaurants--or your local bank, I never worry about it, I park and actually walk in.

Dave

HappyFamilyVan
02-15-2012, 12:41 AM
I have the standard roof w/ rear A/C and with 5 kids...at times...going through a drive through is required. The standard roof with rear A/C goes through 90% of all drive throughs...if it says 9 feet I go...never have touched...

As I am 5'8" the standard is high enough for me to walk around with a tilted head...I have a passenger Van and the need to work standing in the van is not as critical as if mine was a cargo van ment for work or an RV conversion.

The Standard Van does fine in highwind...but it does catch the cross winds and can surprise you when gusts are very high...I would hate to think what kind of wind a high roof gets.
On the way to Florida last week...a prevailing cold front had high winds...a couple time the gust were so high that I was blown half way into the other lane...but then again I was going 75 MPH...dropped down to 60 MPH...Wind issue declined dramatically

aadsprinter
02-15-2012, 01:24 AM
Hey Guys,
Great points so far.
To help with the tall vehicle wind issue, switch out the rear shock absorbers and get a more robust rear sway bar.
Snow tires a must, get them on a set of dedicated steel rims.
DVD player can be installed after market to your specs.
You NEED rear AC, however some of us have been having leaking issues with the AC unit on the roof top. There are vendors that will put a rear ac unit inside the top rear end of a high roof van . This would eliminate the chance of the roof leaking into the cabin.
Get the heated windshield, I love it ever time I turn it on:rad:
I LOVE MY SPRINTER!!!
I have five children ages 15 to 7 years They love it too, as does my wife when she needs it.
Good Luck:thumbup:

dannmarr
02-15-2012, 09:01 PM
I picked up my new 2011 Passenger Sprinter yesterday. I can share some information that came with it.
The height for a standard is 96'', add 18'' for the top A/C unit
SAFETY
-ESP-Handling control system
-Adaptive ESP- Trailer stability assist
-BAS- Brake assist
-EBD- Electronic brake force distribution
-Start off assist- upclimbing
-Enhanced ventilation
-airbags
-3 point seatbelts
-Latches for baby seats
OPTIONS
-Auxiliary heater & rear A/C
-Tinted Glass
-Rear interior lighting
-Parktronic- sensors
-Reverse warning system
-Back up camera (after market)
-DVD player (after market)
-Sound 5 radio- theater sound
-Cruise control
-Daytime running lamps
-Additional master keys
-Extended warranty
-Bi Xenon headlamps
-Side airbags
I love this vehicle, it drives amazing!:D:

HappyFamilyVan
02-16-2012, 01:16 AM
Dann....Congrats!!

Twinmomma
02-16-2012, 03:27 PM
thanks so much for all of the input!!!

My largest issue would be the rear ac adding too much height --- but it seems like it shouldn't be a large issue for drive thru- which with all of these kids we go thru a lot!!!!

also can you get a slimmer ac? just in case??


My husband isn't totally sold on diesel since it's about 15cents more then unleaded. I told him that the MPG is better but he's still not sold. can you give me reasons why it's better?
thanks again

glasseye
02-16-2012, 04:01 PM
can you give me reasons why it's better?
thanks again

Others will chime in with tons of reasons, but I'll just say one word.

torque.

:cheers::bow::rad:

MillionMileSprinter
02-16-2012, 05:51 PM
Yup, the better MPG is true, but what that translates into is fewer trips to the gas station, fewer stops on the road when you are traveling. And you really won't NEED to make those stops like you did in your minivan because of all the ROOM in the Sprinter. Like I said earlier, we went from a minivan to the Sprinter. Our minivan has the largest interior of all comparable mini-vans: A VW Eurovan. They don't make them anymore, at least not in the same body style here in the US. Friends with Honda, Toyota and Chrystler minivans would all drool over how "big" our minivan felt inside compared to theirs. So we didn't feel cramped, even with 5 kids and two adults and luggage or groceries. But when we stepped up to the Sprinter, it was like a whole different world. I have the low roof, which is STILL higher than any low roofed GMC van, and my wife and I can easily move from the front to the back and the kids can move around if need be. Not so with my buddies GMC- it's a chore to move around for the adults and even their older kids- always stooping and crouching. For this single reason, we have to stop less. No one feels "cramped". Everyone has their OWN, generously sized seat and lots of room for their legs and a backpack full of their own stuff.
Another benefit of the size is grocery trips and thrift store trips. We've recently made it a point to only buy used items, except for food and the odd thing that just can't be bought used. So we frequent thrift stores alot and often come home with multiple large trash bag-sized purchases. We buy most of our food in bulk and try to only go once a month. Before, with our minivan, we would be packed to the gills. Now, with the Sprinter, there's still room to move. No one feels cramped.
My wife is only 5ft tall, so she was worried about feeling dwarfed driving the Sprinter. It only took her 15 minutes to fall in love with it. Although it's big, it doesn't FEEL big. And we live in the city of Philadlephia, so she does most of her driving on city streets. Small, narrow streets, tight turns, parallel parking, etc... No problems at all.
Another plus to the Sprinter over gasoline fueled vans is the longevety of the engines. We have many members on this forum with 2, 3, 4 and 500+ thousand miles on their Sprinters and they are still going strong. This may honestly be the last family vehicle you buy, and you've still got 18+ years to go. There's not many vehicles out there that you can say that about. My youngest right now is 1 and 1/2, and I plan on driving her to college in our Sprinter!

I do wonder about your "thinner A/C unit" question. I suppose you could get a Sprinter without rear A/C and then find the thinnest A/C rooftop unit from an RV dealership and get that installed... I dunno :idunno: It actually might be cheaper than getting it as an option straight from the stealership, I mean Dealership.
Good luck and keep us updated. :thumbup:

sikwan
02-16-2012, 08:00 PM
My husband isn't totally sold on diesel since it's about 15cents more then unleaded. I told him that the MPG is better but he's still not sold. can you give me reasons why it's better?
thanks again

Don't buy a Sprinter because the mileage is better (an NCV3 is marginally better than a gas variant), because overall owning a diesel is going to be much more expensive; diesel, filter, oil changes, etc.

Buy it because of the safety aspects of it (No other full size van has a better ABS/ESP system on the market)and that you can stand up in it (if you buy the high top). I don't know how tall you or your husband are, but if we went with the standard (low) roof, I would be the only one slouching around. I cannot tell you how important it is to be able to walk upright while tending to kids needs. :2cents:

Try contacting user SprinterUSA, I believe he has an A/C system very similar to the SCS Frigette system where the evaporator is underneath the van rather than adding height to an already tall high top Sprinter. Of course this has to be added after the van is purchased. I have the SCS Frigette system and would do it again in an heart beat because I didn't like the unsightly dog house on the top of my already tall high top.

HappyFamilyVan
02-16-2012, 08:42 PM
Don't buy a Sprinter because the mileage is better (an NCV3 is marginally better than a gas variant), because overall owning a diesel is going to be much more expensive; diesel, filter, oil changes, etc.

Buy it because of the safety aspects of it (No other full size van has a better ABS/ESP system on the market)


Nicely said:thumbup:

dannmarr
02-17-2012, 09:05 PM
Here is the company that installs slimmer A/C units for Sprinters. They are in PA.
www.cicioni.com

cedarsanctum
02-18-2012, 12:23 AM
I'll chime in here with my own experience with a Sprinter. Though i have had a few issues with reliability, overall it is a great van. Lately i am getting 21.4 MPG, with half that going 65, and the other half 55 and less. That has become very consistent. But it's not this mileage claim, something no gas engine could pull off in this size vehicle, that does it for me. It's the easy driving, safe feeling, comfortable road ride (thanks to the long wheelbase), and best of all the size. I live in this full time now, and am quite comfortable walking around inside. I have a Honda minivan that sits most of the time now, i use it when i got to town, and i have camped in it a lot, but sleeping in a tent isn't anywhere near as nice as this.
As for driveability, i have upgraded the rear shocks and added a heavy duty sway bar. I don't feel much pull any more from winds, and it handles more like a car than ever, flat and tight in the corners. Driving in snow hasn't proven difficult for me, it's like any rear drive car. I have driven through packed snow, loose snow, slushy snow, clumps of hard packed icy snow broken and re-frozen, and i have never needed to install chains, yet. Maybe it's the way i drive, very slow and carefully, maybe it's the plowed roads i drive, but i haven't had much trouble with bad conditions. No more than i do with any other car. I drive past lots of 4x4er's in the ditch.
Just my 2¢
Jef

Twinmomma
02-18-2012, 01:29 AM
Thanks do much you all have been a huge wealth of info!