The perenially best-selling Ford Transit has carried on mostly unchanged over the past couple of years, save for the recent launch of the all-electric E-Transit. FoMoCo’s popular van has undergone a couple of changes, however, including Ford’s decision to scrap its plans to offer the 2.0L EcoBlue Bi-Turbo diesel engine in the U.S., as well as the addition of an optional SYNC 4 infotainment system. Otherwise, the current, fourth-generation Transit isn’t getting a full redesign anytime soon, as Ford Authority reported back in September, which leaves the door open for competitors like the 2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter to play catchup.
That’s precisely what the 2023 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is trying to do, at least in terms of debuting an all-new all-wheel drive system, as the automaker has announced. The new all-wheel drive system replaces the Sprinter van’s old four-wheel drive system, providing a number of improvements in terms of its seamless transition between two- and all-wheel drive, as well as more “power and endurance.” The new AWD setup provides automatic torque-on-demand with up to a 50 percent split per axle versus the old engageable system, which provided 35 percent of torque to the front axle and 65 percent to the rear axle when in 4×4 mode.
Mercedes says that the new Sprinter AWD van maintains its predecessor’s ground clearance, approach angle, departure angle, and breakover angle to boot. However, the Transit’s intelligent AWD system is still superior in a number of ways, as it’s capable of sending up to 100 percent of the available torque to the front wheels to prevent the loss of traction on slippery surfaces, while the AWD Transit also features a heavy-duty front axle and Normal, Eco, Slippery, Tow/Haul, and Mud/Ruts driving modes.