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PERFORMANCE | 7 out of 10
easiest and least cumbersome full-size van to drive
surprisingly tight turning circle
modest horsepower but plenty of weight-moving torque
Kelley Blue Book
Reviewers generally would like to see a little more horsepower in the turbodiesel model of the 2008 Dodge Sprinter Wagon for better highway passing response.
The 2008 Dodge Sprinter Wagon is powered by a 3.0-liter CDI turbodiesel V-6 that makes 154 horsepower, along with a much more impressive 280 pound-feet of torque. It delivers plentiful torque to the rear wheels through a smooth-shifting five-speed automatic transmission that comes with a manual-shift mode. A 254-horsepower, 3.5-liter gasoline V-6 is optional, though at a lower price than the diesel.
Edmunds cites the irony in the Dodge’s name; with the diesel, “a dearth of horsepower leaves it with extremely sluggish passing response at higher speeds -- ironic, considering the van's name.” ConsumerGuide felt the “gutsy turbodiesel provides ample around-town power, even with a moderate load, though highway passing power is just adequate.” Kelley Blue Book says "those seeking more horsepower can opt for the 3.5-liter V6, which pulls a bit stronger but also consumes much more fuel." No reviews researched by TheCarConnection.com tested the V-6 engine. Both engines come standard with a five-speed automatic with an automanual mode.
The EPA does not publish fuel economy figures for the 2008 Dodge Sprinter, but most reviewers seemed impressed when comparing average consumption to that of competing vans. Edmunds wrote of the diesel version, “it gets fuel economy in the mid-20s,” while ConsumerGuide tested a turbodiesel as well that “proved impressively frugal, averaging 18.4 mpg.”
Once you get used to the odd driving position, the 2008 Dodge Sprinter feels quite maneuverable for those accustomed to driving large sport-utility vehicles or other vans. The ride is a bit choppy, but handling is surprisingly nimble for such a tall vehicle.
Edmunds echoes the consensus when it notes that the 2008 Dodge Sprinter "handles more like a midsize SUV than a plumber's van," then adds that this attribute isn't surprising since the van "was designed to navigate Europe's cramped streets." It is a bit surprising, however, when you consider that "it's actually just as wide as the GM and Ford" full-size vans. Credit for the relatively agile handling goes to Mercedes, which Edmunds says "engineered the stability control system to compensate for the taller center of gravity and shifting cargo loads." ConsumerGuide, however, feels that the Sprinter’s "high seating and copious lean in corners results in a tipsy attitude that takes some getting used to." Kelley Blue Book commends the 2008 Dodge because "despite its long chassis, the Sprinter possesses a tight turning radius and responds quickly to emergency maneuvers."
The 2008 Dodge Sprinter Wagon is the most agile box around, and the diesel versions get acceptable fuel economy, but there’s no mistaking it for a Viper.