Sportsmobile Sprinter 4WD

April 30, 2007
Filed under Trailer Reviews

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Many RV manufacturers are building Class B van conversions based on the Dodge Sprinter van,
but Sportsmobile has gone a step farther by making 4WD optionally available on its
Sprinter-based vehicles. As of press time, Dodge has investigated offering factory 4WD on
its 2008 Sprinter vans. In the interim, Sportsmobile is moving forward with its 4WD
conversion plans until such time as the factory-supplied complete vehicle is available.
“When the Sprinter van came out, we had this large customer marketing base, and we started
getting phone calls asking when we’d do a 4WD Sprinter. To design one on this new van would
have been a real challenge because it’s a unibody,” explained Alan Feld, president of
Sportsmobile West. He continued, “Everybody told us they make those with 4WD at the
Mercedes-Benz factory in Europe. They come from the Düsseldorf plant, but all the
components are supplied by Oberaigner. We did a strategic alliance with them because all
this has been tested by Mercedes in Stuttgart, which is really important. The product was
already available; it just wasn’t available in the United States. We went to the source,
got the original components and, the good news is, they all bolt on, so it’s a factory
installation.” Unlike the company’s Ford-based 4WD conversions, the Sprinter 4WD is billed
as a rig designed for driving on road surfaces with poor traction. Feld explained, “This is
not going to be a rock crawler, like the Ford is with its body on frame. It’s a different
application than the Ford.” A 4WD Sprinter isn’t going to be cheap. The base msrp for a 2WD
Sportsmobile Sprinter Class B is in the mid-$50,000 range. The 4WD conversion parts add
about $14,950 as an option, and a base Sprinter 4WD conversion is about $70,000. The unit
that’s shown on the previous page would be stickered at about $92,000. “It’s a concept show
vehicle,” Feld explained, “It’s got a diesel-fired furnace and water heater, and that’s
$2,000. They’re Espar heaters, European products used for marine applications. It has
in-motion satellite TV, satellite radio, GPS and surround sound; it has $12,000 just in
audio/video gear. That’s a $3,000 roof rack, carbon-fiber dash – we loaded this one up.”
Although touted as a loaded show vehicle, it’s also available as a retail model and can be
outfitted with as many or as few extras as a customer wants. From interior amenities to
exterior kayak or bicycle racks, spare fuel tank and tire carriers to heavy-duty bumpers
with winch mounts, virtually anything a customer can dream of can be incorporated into a
Sportsmobile. Sportsmobile takes a flexible design approach. Customers can choose from
existing floorplans or start with a blank sheet of paper and, with the company designers,
plan the best vehicle for their needs and wants. Sprinter-based vans are available on 140-
and 158-inch wheelbase variations with both standard and high-roof bodies. Living
accommodations can range from spartan, with an icebox and portable-toilet storage, to fully
self-contained, with the best furnace, refrigerator, upholstery, custom-designed cabinets
and top-end construction materials. Dodge is releasing a restyled Sprinter for the 2007
model year, and although details were sketchy as of our press date, a 3.0-liter V-6
gasoline engine and a V-6 diesel engine will be available. Likewise, “We’ll have a pop-top
available on the ’07 Sprinter,” said Feld. Sportsmobile West Inc., (559) 233-8267,
www.sportsmobile.com

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