The Dodge Sprinter: For Those Who Want A Small, Well Appointed RV With Good Gas Mileage
The Dodge Sprinter motor home is an interesting vehicle. It has European roots and an American name. Since Mercedes-Benz introduced this chassis in 1995, it has sold well over 100,000,000 units. It is currently being sold in over 100 countries as delivery vehicles, shuttle vans, etc.
Although this vehicle has been in this country since 2003, it is new to the American motor home market. It seems to have arrived at the right time.
Is This Going To Be The Class C Motor Home Of The Future?
Logic dictates that this vehicle will lead the way to the introduction of more fuel efficient motor homes, just as our unpredictable gas prices seem to be approaching the European levels.
Only time will tell just how much impact the high fuel prices will have on the motor home market. If customers want a gas efficient motorcoach, the sprinter RV chassis will provide it.
Conversely, if the customers want a big luxurious gas hog, the RV manufacturers will sell them one. I'm thinking that there will be a good selection for both the small efficient and large luxurious Class C Motor Homes, and this Sprinter chassis will play an important role in this coming market.
There Are Lots Of RV Manufacturers Producing This Motorcoach
There are a number of leading RV manufacturers that are producing various models based on this Sprinter chassis in 2009.
Dodge Sprinter Cutoff Chassis
To name a few, you have the:
Four Winds Siesta
All of these vehicles share the same running gear underneath the glitter and packaging.
The 2008 chassis on this vehicle has a GVWR of 11,030 lbs and a GCWR of 14,530. You should be able to pull a TOAD weighing up to 3,500 lbs.
For 2009 the Sprinter has upped its pulling capacity to 5,000 lbs.
Gas mileage is going to be the "best in the industry" and estimated to be 16 mpg to 19 mpg with this Mercedes Diesel.
In 2010 the Sprinter increased power output to 188 horses @ 325 lbs of torque. This is a big improvement over the 2009's 154 HP and 280 lbs of torque.
You will see some Freightliner chassis like the Coachman Prism shown above. Although it is called International, it also uses the Mercedes 188 Hp diesel.
These vans are sophisticated and get 16 - 18 mpg using a five-speed automatic transmission. They can pull up to 5,000 lbs.
A Diesel Engine May Have Advantages Over Our Traditional Big V8s
Let's talk about the pros and cons on a diesel RV.
First the pros...
long lasting workhorse of an engine.
Less required maintenance.
Usually credited with having better fuel mileage. (20 to 30 percent better than comparable vehicles with gasoline engines.)
A turbocharged diesel performs well in high altitude. (Does not suffer from lack of oxygen.)
Performs well under load conditions. (High torque pulls well)
Has good throttle response.
And now the cons:
When maintenance is performed, it is usually expensive.
Engine noise can be factor.
Exhaust may be smelly.
Not considered to be as environmentally friendly as the internal combustion engine.
Diesel fuel costs more per gallon than regular gas.
One last point... this Dodge Sprinter motorhome is a smaller version of the Class C Motor Homes and will more often than not have less
CCC (Cargo Carrying Capacity)
than the more traditional sized Class C's like the Ford's E-450 series. Therefore, they may be easily overloaded. These are great vehicles for a specific market segment... for those who travel light. If you like a nimble machine, they can't be beat.
Here is a link to an iRV2 forum. It is a good discussion about
weight in a motorhome
along with where this weight is located. It is kind of an eye-opener.