Wind tunnel, endurance testing or winter trials – The vans with the star have to master many challenges before going into mass production. But this is not the end of the testing marathon. A special testing program exists to find out how the new vans handle hard day-to-day work: KFE, customer drive testing. Tradesmen and companies from a range of different industries have the opportunity to extensively test and then purchase new models. From May 2013 until September 2014 37 new Sprinters were tested day in and day out under real conditions. The tests took place worldwide: in the USA, Canada, Switzerland and Germany. This year emphasized the powertrain, in particular. The developers placed a special focus on combustion calibration, exhaust gas after treatment, engine cooling and air intake. Every KFE Sprinter is equipped with a data logger. It records all of the information and transfers the data to a central computer. The test results are analyzed by the development engineers.
Whether carrier, courier or construction company – a broad range of industries are involved in the test program, subjecting the vehicles to unique demands. Holger Aukam, Managing Director of Espas in Kassel, tested the Sprinter as a platform vehicle. His company manufactures playground equipment and urban furniture. Reliable and comfortable transport is the most important thing for day-to-day business: "All of the assembly teams were absolutely satisfied with the new delivery vehicle. Handling, noise and the sense of value – on the long distances you simply notice the difference when you drive a Mercedes", he reports. Long distances are also part of the job for Manfred Orlowski's courier service. The employees drive to up to 50 delivery destinations per shift. So a high-performance vehicle is absolutely essential. "I have driven Sprinters for 14 years and the van just keeps getting better from generation to generation", explains Mr. Orlowski enthusiastically. When you spend so much time on the road, safety plays a major role. The new Sprinter also distinguished itself in this regard during customer testing. "The Crosswind Assist as a standard feature convinced me through its interaction with various safety systems", explained the courier service owner. The positive customer feedback makes one thing clear: the Sprinter is ready to handle any job and every requirement.