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vehicle test

the market in 2019. According to Mercedes, it will have a range of over 90 miles between recharges and will be able to handle a 1,000kg-plus payload.

Test drive On behalf of LAPV, I travelled to The Netherlands in April 2018 to test drive the Sprinter, putting it through its paces on the motorways between Amsterdam and Rotterdam with a detour into Leiden. I started by sampling a front-wheel-drive 3.0-tonne Sprinter 314 CDI van with 143hp and a manual gearbox. With a 500kg test load on board, it accelerated strongly through the gears and proved to be more than capable of holding its own at motorway speeds. It also handled well, felt wellplanted on the highway, and clung on well as I pushed it through bends, with plenty of feedback through the steering. Build quality is excellent. Nothing squeaks or rattles and the latest Sprinter looks as though it has been made to go on forever. The sat nav on-screen map is easy to read and the voice instructions are clear and concise. Verbal requests for instructions to be repeated were understood, and the instruction was given again

immediately. Drawbacks? The suspension system was a little bit too bouncy for my taste and Active Brake Assist cut in three or four times despite the fact that there was nothing in front of the vehicle. On one occasion, this may have been triggered by a slightly uneven road surface. On the other occasions, it seemed to be the consequence of other vehicles passing too close while overtaking. The parking brake is electric and set and released by pressing a button on the dashboard. Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but I prefer a traditional handbrake lever, despite the fact that it takes up floor space. I suspect most van drivers will too. On my next run, I again drove a 143hp frontwheel-drive Sprinter van, this time a 314 CDI 3.5-tonner, which was also laden to 0.5 tonnes. This one had the nine-speed automatic gearbox. You engage D for Drive by using a stalk on the steering column. There is no denying that the 9G-Tronic is superb and probably the best automatic gearbox I have ever encountered in a light commercial. I slipped almost seamlessly from one set of gears to the next and I was more than grateful for 9G-Tronic when I was stuck in slow-moving, stop-start

motorway traffic as I retraced my steps and headed back towards Amsterdam. At no point did I feel the need to switch to manual mode. I was more than happy to sit back and let the transmission do all the work.

The verdict Bar one or two reservations it looks as though Mercedes has come up with another winner – a premium product that is built to last.

Thursday 21st June 2018

01732 897431 June 2018 LAPV 41

LAPV June 2018  
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