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Mercedes Sprinter Maintenance: Fuel Economy (Miles Per Gallon / MPG)
Photographer and cyclist and Mac expert and software engineer Lloyd Chambers is available for consulting on general Sprinter considerations at his usual consulting rates via phone, or in person in the Palo Alto, CA area. Save yourself hours and mistakes by discussing issues up-front. More about Lloyd....
The 3.0L 6-cylinder engine in the 2017 Mercedes Sprinter is highly fuel efficient, meaning that given the 5140 pound weight of an empty cargo van and the frontal area of the High Roof Sprinter, the mileage is remarkable.
Mileage numbers will vary greatly depending on load, altitude, driving style, total vehicle weight, etc.
Observations with a brand-new 2017 Mercedes Sprinter 3.0L with total cargo (including driver) of about 400 pounds (total weight of ~5540 pounds):
- The analog fuel gauge is highly inaccurate for the first several gallons used from a full 26.4 gallon tank—it still reads full after using 3 gallons. Distance to empty can help, but don’t get too excited about this misleading behavior.
- Driving from 4000 to 10500' elevation for 13 miles, mileage was 10.8 MPG. That’s low, but it’s a far sight better than the 7 MPG or so that my 2008 Porsche Cayenne Turbo delivered for me with its twin turbo 5.0L V8 engine.
- Idling appears to take very little fuel.
- There was never any diesel smell; the Sprinter engine is extremely clean-burning even at 11,500'.
- Power output at 11,500' elevation was minimally affected due to the turbo. Other SUVs are having a lot of trouble up there, but not the Sprinter.
Observed mileage, 10500 to 13500 range
For this trip, the Sprinter had about 1200 pounds of extra weight over an empty cargo van: extra large fuel tank (388 pounds of fuel alone, +177 pounds over stock 26.4 gal tank), two 125- pound Lithionics batteries plus all the welding cables, stands, inverters, etc, hickory table, plus Yeti coolers with 300 pounds of water and gear, 3/4" marine grade plywood floor and so on. All that extra weight cuts down mileage considerably up hills.
In addition, the figures below were up and over many a mountain, down dirt roads, severe headwinds up to 40 mph, driving up to 75 mph for some hours, and at least 12 hours of idling. This fuel mileage is off by the ratio of 17" to 16" tires, so it is actually 1.037 times better than shown.
Taking out the 10 gallons from idling leaves (3593/16.3) = 220.4 gallons less 10 gallons idling = 210.4 gallons.
3593 miles * 1.037 / 210.4 gallons = 17.7 mpg.
Not bad for a a van weighing ~6500 pounds laden and having driven many hours in the 65 to 75 mph range and up over many mountain ranges and into headwinds.
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Observed mileage, break-in period
During the breaking-in period, mileage as shown below was observed. This is as per the engine management system, not miles versus fuel-tank refills so the figures assume that the engine management system is reportingcorrect figures. The vehicle was lightly loaded with perhaps 500 pounds of gear—very light.