Having introduced the current third generation Sprinter only two years ago, the local arm of Mercedes-Benz has introduced a new taxi derivative aimed straight at the recently re-introduced Toyota Coaster.
Based on the long wheelbase Sprinter 516 CDI, and providing seating for 23, the same as the Coaster, the Inkanyezi (“the star” in isiZulu) is the result of Benz’s ongoing support for the taxi industry with the newcomer being converted at its plant in East London.
Fitted with so-called hard-wearing Marley floors as well as a standard side-step, the Inkanyezi is motivated by the long-serving 2.1-litre OM 651 turbodiesel engine instead of the new 2.0-litre OM 654 introduced in the updated European model two months ago.
The amount of twist is routed to the rear wheels, same as the Coaster and Volkswagen Crafter, through a standard six-speed manual gearbox or an optional 7G Tronic automatic.
Despite Mercedes-Benz not divulging standard specification, it did announce a slew of optional extras, namely a 10.25-inch MBUX infotainment system, a tow bar and multi-function steering wheel, surround-view camera system, Active Distance Assist Distronic, Lane Keeping Assist, Active Brake Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Park Assist and Blind Spot Assist.
Priced from R945 000, the Sprinter 516 CDI Inkanyezi is covered by a two year/unlimited kilometre warranty.