If Iron Man had a van, it would be the Mercedes Sprinter
The trusty white (or grey - in my case) van is something we're all accustomed to seeing on the roads, carting things all over the world - covering thousands of miles a month. These workhorses of the world see extremely hard lives, little attention and can fall in to a desperate state of repair at times. But not any more...
May I present to you the 2019 Mercedes Sprinter, the most technologically advanced and connected commercial vehicle in the world. So connected a fleet controller knows who's driving, where they've been, how they've been driving and how soon it is until it's due a service.
"It looks like a normal van?"
No longer is a van just... a van - now it's a work station, an office on the go, simply a home from home. Want to ask 'Mercedes' to put 'Radio 2' on? Easy - just ask (but don't say 'Mercedes' in the cab - or it'll think you're talking to it). Want to surf the web on your break? Yep, it genuinely has a web browser in the infotainment! A connected drive isn't just for passenger vehicles, the bridge has been made - commercials are getting it too, the game has been changed.
The standard technology is industry leading!
Alongside the utility of tracking the service requirements and driving style of the vehicle, the connected drive also gives an extra edge of security. Say your van gets stolen, somehow they rip out the after market tracker you've fitted - you've lost all hope. Worry not, there's an inbuilt tracker which can also immobilise the vehicle and lead the police to the exact location (and show you on a handy portal with a nice map) for recovery! That's not wishful thinking - that actually happened and the person got their van back easy-peasy. Original story: here.
"Mercedes is much more expensive than the competition?!"
Sort of, but not really. In real world terms the Sprinter is a few thousand more to buy versus the competitor vehicles, however the extra standard tech makes up for the extra initial cost. You also get MobiloVan - a free breakdown and assistance service. Got something like a bulb out? They'll come and replace it for free - find me another manufacturer which offers that service.
Also remember, a Sprinter will easily see 500,000 miles and will hold value over-and-above competitor vehicles - the 'rust' issue isn't much of an thing any more either. #rustgate
It drives like a car, a really really nice car!
In 2019 it's such a cliché to say a van drives like a car, because so many are encroaching on passenger vehicle characteristics - however I've never driven one which drives quite so much like a passenger vehicle - to the extent you forget you're in a giant van!
Lovely weighted and precise steering, comfortable seating position with great visibility, a gearbox which doesn't have as much throw as a professional cricketer - close and comfortable to use. The auto-box is also totally smooth and responsive with intelligent selections. It drives in a more refined way than many passenger cars I've had on test over the years - simply not something you expect from a van.
"Is it the best?"
'Bang for buck' I believe it is, no other manufacturer currently offers a standard commercial vehicle with this much 'standard' technology matched with the smooth characteristics the Sprinter gives. With strong residuals, great monthly lease prices and more options than you can shake a stick at to add on - the Sprinter really is the most versatile and for me - the best.
If you're not up for spending that kind of money, there are plenty of other alternatives which give you fantastic facilities - but I would strongly advise the Sprinter above the competition. It looks cool, it drives amazingly, the tech is insane - what more do you want?