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Blog: Smaller Sprinter Van on Tap for U.S.?

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May 24, 2011 by   Leave a Comment

The following is an article from Autoblog, authored by Chris Paukert, examining a smaller Sprinter van platform.

Mercedes-Benz has been sufficiently pleased with the performance of its Sprinter van that it is now seriously considering importing a smaller sibling for its full-size load lugger.

Benz has offered a smaller commercial vehicle, the Vito, in various world markets since 1996, and the second-generation model underwent a mild facelift in 2010. Available with a range of CDI diesel engines in both cargo and passenger-carrying configurations, the Vito has recently been testing in all-electric E-Cell guise. If the Vito does make it to North America, we’re unlikely to get the complete range – this light commercial vehicle is available in three lengths, two roof heights and in both rear- and all-wheel drive.

While the Vito is indeed smaller than the Mercedes/Freightliner Sprinter carryall, it’s not as diminutive as the Ford Transit Connect we’ve come to know in the States. In its smallest form, the baby Benz spans 187.5 inches, nearly seven inches more than the Turkish Ford. In extra-long format, the Vito rings up at 206.2 inches, which is still well shy of the aged Ford E-Series van (216.7 inches in its shortest form), making the Vito something of a tweener in size.

For the moment, our source tells us that the idea of importing the Vito is in “an early stage,” and even though consumer clinics have been held to judge market interest, the van has not yet been given the green light.

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