2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Trevor Wild Trevor Wild Author
July 11, 2009

The 2009 Dodge Sprinter is incredibly spacious on the inside and remarkably fuel-efficient. It's a smart choice for any buyer.

Editors at TheCarConnection.com understand what's important to you: information. To bring you this review of the 2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon, experts have combed the Web to find a wide variety of insights on the 2009 Sprinter. This inclusive review lets you head to the dealership with plenty of knowledge.

The Sprinter Wagon is Dodge's full-size passenger van. The 2009 Sprinter Wagon emphasizes passengers and cargo more than the full-sized vans from GM and Ford.

The 2009 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. The engine is paired with a smooth-shifting five-speed automatic transmission that comes with a manual-shift mode.

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As in other full-size vans, the driver and front passenger sit perched high over the front wheels. Behind the front seats, the Sprinter Wagon is as close to a box as you're likely to find in a vehicle. Properly configured, it can seat up to 12 people, as the three different seating configurations in the 2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon offer 9-, 10-, and 12-passenger capacities in up to four rows of seating. Drivers can choose to upgrade to a power-sliding door for easier passenger loading.

The 2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon comes in two different wheelbases—144 and 170 inches—with the 144-inch (233 inches long) model quite maneuverable in the city. Two different roof heights are offered as well. With the seats removed, the Sprinter's tall roof allows awe-inspiring cargo capacity.

The ride is a bit choppy, but handling is surprisingly nimble for such a tall vehicle. Once you get used to the odd driving position, the 2009 Dodge Sprinter feels quite maneuverable for those accustomed to driving large sport-utility vehicles or other vans.

The options list is vast, including courtesy lamps and overhead consoles, bi-xenon headlamps, sunroofs, heated seats, rain-sensor wipers, and a backup sensor system. The 2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon comes with standard keyless entry, automatic climate control, rear ducts, and a 13-speaker sound system; unlike most full-sized vans, the steering wheel tilts and telescopes. For commercial needs, there are several different axle ratios and various heavy-duty components available.

Front-seat side airbags and front side curtain airbags—two other features that aren't typically available in this class—are both optional. Electronic stability control, a feature that's not yet offered in all full-size vans, is standard on the 2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon, as are anti-lock brakes. The Sprinter hasn't been subjected to either of the major crash-test series.

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2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon

Styling

The 2009 Dodge Sprinter isn't built for looks.

The 2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon is Dodge's full-size van, and it emphasizes passengers and cargo more than the full-sized vans from GM and Ford. Translation: All hints of styling have been sacrificed for passenger and cargo space. While most reviewers like the 2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon for its capabilities, they are generally disparaging—or, at the least, quiet—about its appearance.

Kelley Blue Book says diplomatically, "the 2009 Dodge Sprinter isn't likely to win any beauty pageants"; however, they also note "real attractiveness in its efficient design." While not as picturesque in its description, Car and Driver is also less than complimentary, remarking the "flat cargo floor and vertical side walls make it a box on wheels." Edmunds asserts that the Sprinter's "radically sloped front end, long wheelbase and tall body make it look like a good Adam Vinatieri kick could knock it over."

"The Sprinter holds an advantage in regards to interior design," Edmunds observes. "Its new dashboard and steering wheel angle have been greatly improved over its predecessor." ConsumerGuide notes the Sprinter's "simple and logical control placement, though reaching some less-used switch gear requires a stretch. Sprinter's clearly marked gauges are easy to read at a glance." Car and Driver simply calls the interior "Spartan."

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2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon

Performance

The 2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon gets admirable fuel economy. Power and handling are so-so but acceptable.

The 2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon offers incredible fuel efficiency—though at the price of remarkable performance.

The Sprinter Wagon is powered by a 3.0-liter CDI turbodiesel V-6 that makes 154 horsepower, along with an 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.

ConsumerGuide feels the "gutsy turbodiesel provides ample around-town power, even with a moderate load, though highway passing power is just adequate." 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."

The EPA does not publish fuel economy figures for the 2009 Dodge Sprinter, but most reviewers seem impressed when comparing average consumption to that of competing vans. ConsumerGuide tests a turbodiesel that "proved impressively frugal, averaging 18.4 mpg." Edmunds reports of the diesel version, "it gets fuel economy in the mid-20s."

The ride is a bit choppy, but handling is surprisingly nimble for such a tall vehicle. Once you get used to the odd driving position, the 2009 Dodge Sprinter feels quite maneuverable for those accustomed to driving large sport-utility vehicles or other vans. Edmunds echoes the consensus when it notes that the 2009 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." 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."

Kelley Blue Book commends the 2009 Dodge because "despite its long chassis, the Sprinter possesses a tight turning radius and responds quickly to emergency maneuvers." ConsumerGuide, however, warns that the Sprinter's "high seating and copious lean in corners results in a tipsy attitude that takes some getting used to."

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2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon

Comfort & Quality

The 2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon is well built and incredibly spacious.

The 2009 Dodge Sprinter is about as practical as possible. TheCarConnection.com finds that reviewers unanimously like the vehicle for its obvious utility. As Car and Driver declares, "A more useful, practical big van doesn't exist."

A big step up from the usual SUV or minivan, the Dodge Sprinter Wagon can hold an entire soccer team. With "seating for 12 passengers" or room for "a rolling workshop with a ceiling high enough to allow someone over six feet tall to work while standing upright," Kelley Blue Book is impressed with the 2009 Sprinter's "massive cargo bay" and the "wide variety of configurations."

For passengers, a "high roof in standard models means endless headroom and easy entry and exit," says ConsumerGuide, "although testers found flat seats uncomfortable for long rides." However, they add, "available pneumatic seats effectively provide additional cushioning for driver and front passenger." Edmunds.com points out that "four front seat styles with multiple adjustments ensure decent comfort, and overall ergonomics give the impression of driving an SUV instead of a gigantic van."

Edmunds gives kudos to the Sprinter's "Mercedes build quality." Kelley Blue Book praises it as well, saying "the interior cabin exhibits few rattles, even over rough pavement." However, from the command position behind the wheel, "reaching some less-used switch gear requires a stretch," advises ConsumerGuide.

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2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon

Safety

The 2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon hasn't been crash-tested, but it offers a wealth of safety features.

The 2009 Dodge Sprinter has not been tested by either major safety organization—but the wealth of safety measures in places brings some reassurance.

Kelley Blue Book points out that "the tall windshield and long door glass provide the driver excellent visibility, while the short pointed nose improves aerodynamics as well as ease of parking." They also mention the Sprinter's larger "side mirrors include separate convex mirrors to expose objects hidden in the driver's blind spots." Drivers can opt for side mirror extensions in the 2009 Sprinter if desired.

Edmunds calls attention to "optional front and rear parking sensors and a rearview parking camera" for the 2009 Dodge Sprinter, plus such standard equipment as "folding wide-angle heated mirrors" and an "emergency exit window."

Cars.com reports that with the 2009 Sprinter Wagon, Dodge offers as standard safety features all-disc anti-lock brakes and an electronic stability system that "adjusts for how the Sprinter is loaded and adjusts its inputs to compensate." Not standard but available are side impact and side curtain airbags.

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2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon

Features

The 2009 Dodge Sprinter Wagon has a slew of great features that will please most drivers.

The 2009 Dodge Sprinter includes a wide variety of standard and optional features, and most reviewers note that the Sprinter offers more than traditional truck-like full-size vans.

Comfort features "include a tilting and height-adjustable steering wheel, a CD player, and power windows and locks," notes Cars.com, which also touts "an electronic sliding side door" and an "emergency exit window" as options in the 2009 Sprinter. According to Kelley Blue Book, the impressive list of standard features on the 2009 Sprinter Wagon includes power windows and locks, keyless entry, and a manual sliding side door.

Kelley Blue Book also notes options like "front-passenger luxury seating, auxiliary front heater... power rear vent windows...12-passenger seating, speed control, speed limiter (74-mph top) and heated driver's and passenger's seats." An upgraded audio system includes MP3 capabilities for 2009.

Among other optional features noted by Edmunds.com are "bi-xenon headlamps, foglamps, headlamp washers, cruise control, parking assist, a rearview camera...rear air-conditioner and rear heater, rear window washer/wiper, auxiliary battery...steering-wheel audio controls, front and/or rear power sunroofs, cell phone connectivity, [and] trip computer."

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