Call it the battle of the vans. The full-size work van market is extremely competitive and important to automakers, and Mercedes-Benz has announced an all-new Sprinter for 2023 that will go on sale in Canada this winter.

While the 2022 Sprinter offers a V6 diesel among its engine choices, the 2023 van will offer only four-cylinder engines, in gasoline or diesel. The new offerings will include a 2.0L diesel from Mercedes-Benz’s car portfolio, with two power ratings of 168 horsepower and 208 horsepower. The engine includes low-friction and exhaust treatment technologies for improved efficiency.

The 2023 van includes a new nine-speed automatic transmission that replaces the previous seven-speed automatic. The automaker said the new transmission has an increased first-gear ratio for quicker take-off, and a greater ratio spread for improved performance. The available all-wheel drive (AWD) system is also all-new. Unlike the current 4×4 system, which provided a 35/65 torque split when activated, the new system operates on demand and can send up to 50 per cent of torque to each axle as needed.

New connectivity features include the introduction of Mercedes Me Connect digital services to the Sprinter, with an app that allows the vehicle to be remotely locked or unlocked. It can also perform a remote diagnostic test, and provide information such as mileage, fuel level and tire pressure. A new digital interior mirror is also available, which provides a clear view of what’s behind at all times, even in a vehicle with no rear windows, or one that has a cargo divider.

mercedes-benz announces all-new 2023 sprinter

2023 Mercedes-Benz 4×4 Photo by Mercedes-Benz

The new van will offer more comfortable driving with lower noise and vibration levels. The Sprinter had been recently updated with other new features, including a “Speed Delivery Door” that automatically opens and then locks when a driver leaves the seat to grab a parcel, and then exits the van to deliver the goods.

Mercedes-Benz was the first to offer a tall, European-style work van in Canada and the U.S. Others that joined in since then are the Ford Transit – currently the top seller in Canada — and the Ram ProMaster. Nissan had an entry with its NV van but has since discontinued it; while new all-electric vans such as GM’s BrightDrop are also arriving on the scene.

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