These are interesting times if you follow the news out of Stuttgart. Mercedes, the brand synonymous with luxury and refinement is shifting gears and becoming decidedly more pragmatic, even utilitarian. Hot on the heels of the news of their stripped down G350D Professional G-Wagen, a model deprived of any lavish appointments, they announced this week that a spartan Sprinter will be delivered to the States. Best of all, it will be positively––cheap.
Available for a paltry $33,000, the new Sprinter Worker model is obviously targeted to the commercial driver and will be quickly snapped up by tradesmen and fleet services, but we all see the potential for a live-aboard adventure mobile. A blank canvas begging to be customized, the Worker will make for a fantastic travel platform.
Fitted with Mercedes’ popular 2.1-liter inline four-cylinder Bluetec turbo-diesel, and paired to a seven-speed 7G-Tronic transmission with paddle shifters, the new Sprinter has a 24.5 gallon tank giving it proper travel range. With 161-hp and 266 pounds-feet of torque, it will provide ample power to move the 3,512 pound payload capacity.
Amenities within the cab are few and far between, but include Bluetooth connectivity, crosswind assist, six front airbags, load-adaptive traction control, power windows, air conditioning, a four-speaker AM/FM radio, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. Beyond that, you get adjustable arm rests and cup holders, but that’s it.
The base model will have a 144-inch wheelbase, but will be available with a 170-inch chassis. Roof heights will be offered in standard (66.5 inches), high, and super-high variations and the Worker can be ordered with the 4×4 drivetrain. Pricing for the added features has not been announced, but there is ample potential for the MSRP to climb to nosebleed digits.
There has been scuttlebutt that a few start-up companies are getting underway to offer pre-cut interior kits for the Sprinter. With the popularity of the German van on the rise, a number of other websites and blogs have popped up with build ideas and plans. With a little creativity and elbow grease, the new Sprinter Worker could be the perfect overland project vehicle.