Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dodge Revamps Sprinter


Long and lanky may best describe the Dodge Sprinter van, which has been embraced by commercial users—FedEx and DHL come to mind—since its introduction into the U.S. market in 2003. Having gained some insight from buyers, Dodge has reengineered the 2008 Sprinter, which features a new chassis, body and interior. Dimensionally, Sprinter carries a bigger footprint thanks to its 2-in. increased width, 13-in. increased exterior height, 30-in. longer body and 127-ft3 larger cargo capacity. Power is provided by a choice of two new engines: a 3-liter V6 diesel with 154 hp or a 3.5-liter gasoline engine producing 254 hp. Built on unibody architecture, engineers revised Sprinter’s suspension bearings to improve vibration isolation; the transverse leaf springs are manufactured from fiberglass-reinforced plastic, resulting in reduced weight and improved stability. New spring mountings, using mainly center bearings, are designed to decouple the suspension and axle-locating components to improve tuning. Front torsional stiffness has been increased 20%, whereas rear stiffness is up 100%. A focus on weight reduction resulted in a reduction in the number of welds used in construction of the front end.—KMK

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