Extreme cold-weather testing.
This simple sentence strikes fear into the hearts of diesel-engine vehicle manufacturers across the industry, which makes it all the more impressive that I was flown to Anchorage, Alaska by Mercedes-Benz in order to put the 2013 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van through what could only be described as a 1,200 mile torture test that will stretch to the Arctic Circle and beyond.
In fact, the nine vans that made up our Sprinter convoy had already been forced through the wringer once, having recently completed the first leg of what Mercedes-Benz labeled the Sprinter Arctic Drive. Over the course of almost a week these hard-working passenger and cargo models had been driven from Edmonton, Alberta to Anchorage through mountainous terrain and snowy, freezing temperatures. It fell onto us to finish their brutal journey by punishing them with weather that the vast majority of Sprinter owners will never, ever have to deal with.