• A Sprinter 4x4 drives along a forest track

    Off the beaten track: An off-road guide for the Sprinter 4x4.

    The Sprinter with all-wheel drive is the perfect combination of safety and driving pleasure even off-road. The driving trainer, Helmut Hengst, explains how to handle almost every off-road situation with the Sprinter 4x4.

Off-road training with the Sprinter 4x4.

The Sprinter 4x4 offers more than just exemplary safety in demanding road and weather conditions. Even off-road, there are almost no limits to the driving pleasure. The 4ETS traction control and other functions offered by the ADAPTIVE ESP electronic stability programme provide reliable support when tackling rough terrain. But anyone planning to go off-road in the Sprinter 4x4 for the first time needs a few pro tips and instructions before they head out. The driving trainer and off-road specialist, Helmut Hengst, explains the right way to handle specific driving situations.

Multiple Sprinter 4x4 drive down a steep decline, following the instructions of the driving trainer in the foreground
A close-up shot of sandy terrain with an approaching Sprinter 4x4 in the background.

Preparation is the key.

Good preparation is essential for a safe and successful off-road journey. Park the vehicle on a level surface and explore the terrain on foot beforehand. The driver needs to know how firm or loose the surface is. Using off-road tyres is also strongly recommended. These have reinforced flanks, protecting them against sharp and pointed objects. The coarse profile also provides the optimum grip.

Ready to go? A few last tips before you head out.

Before setting out, drivers need to make a few final preparations: the driver should sit in a higher position than usual to have a better view of the terrain. The windows should be closed at least two thirds during the journey to prevent injuries from whipping branches. The thumbs should be kept on the outside of the steering wheel spokes to prevent any injuries from abrupt steering wheel movements.

According to the expert, attachments on the Sprinter such as steps have no place off-road. These reduce the ramp and driving slope angles, restricting the vehicle’s freedom of movement.

A Sprinter 4x4 drives up a forest track and tilts to the side

The golden rules of driving off-road.

When driving off-road, Hengst recommends observing the following golden rules: “Always drive as slowly as possible and as fast as necessary.” If the vehicle ends up at an angle, it is essential to steer down the slope.

It is also essential to ensure that the all-wheel drive has been activated. Other optional features can also be switched on: the low range translation gear along with Hill Start Assist and the Downhill Speed Regulation for assistance with hill starts and driving downhill.

Up hill and down dale off-road.

The key to driving up slopes is to gain momentum and keep the vehicle moving. People and following vehicles need to keep a safe distance as loose stones can be kicked up to the rear while driving up the slope. If there is no way to make it up the slope, taking the same path back down in reverse gear is recommended. Once at the top, take a moment to stop, think and find the right path for the descent. The drive back down should be made at a constant speed and using the brakes. The most important rule when driving downhill? Never depress the clutch!

A Sprinter with all-wheel drive drives up a stony track.
One of the rear wheels of the Sprinter 4x4 hangs in the air as it drives out of a waterhole

Off-road special: waterholes and twists.

Do not drive blindly through waterholes. Find out roughly how deep the water is and what the surface is composed of beforehand. When driving through a waterhole, it is important to enter slowly, keep moving and get out again swiftly.

Twists are one special case. Occasionally, one wheel on each axle may be suspended in the air. With its 4ETS traction system, the Sprinter 4x4 reliably detects when a wheel has no traction and brakes this wheel. The best way to handle a situation like this is also slowly, while keeping the vehicle moving. These tips and tricks are a good start for any off-road experience with the Sprinter.