TORONTO – Chrysler Group’s Dodge division unveils the all-new ’07 Sprinter van at the auto show here.

For ’07, Dodge offers consumers more variations of the popular Sprinter, which saw a sales increase of 26.8% to 2,475 units in Canada last year vs. like-2005, according to Ward’s data. In the U.S., Sprinter posted an 11.7% increase of 11.7% on 21,961 units in 2006 compared to prior-year.

The new Sprinter can be had in three lengths: 233 ins. (592 cm), 273 ins. (693 cm) and 289 ins. (734 cm). There also are two new wheelbases: 144 ins. (366 cm), 170 ins. (432 cm) or 170 ins. extended with a 15-in. (38 cm) longer overhang, which Dodge says is longest in its class.

The ’07 Sprinter is powered by a 3L V-6 turbodiesel mill that produces 154 hp and 280 lb.-ft. (380 Nm) of torque. The new engine replaces a 154-hp 2.7L I-5.

“This fuel-saving Mercedes-built diesel engine is another step in DaimlerChrysler’s diesel offensive,” says George Murphy, senior vice president - Global Brand Marketing, Chrysler Group. “It’s the first time a diesel particulate filter been fitted as standard in Sprinter’s weight class.”

A 3.5L V-6 high-performance gasoline mill that cranks out 254 hp and 250 lb.-ft. (339 Nm) of torque will be available in the U.S.

Both engines will be mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.

Also for ’07, Dodge is offering three interior roof height options: standard, 65 ins. (165 cm); high, 76 ins., (193 cm); and mega, 84 ins. (213 cm).

“For these (Sprinter) customers, the ability to stand up in their vans is absolutely critical,” Murphy says of the decision to offer height variants.

New standard features include power windows and locks, integrated wide-angle mirrors, halogen headlamps, 16-inch wheels, tilt- and height-adjustable steering wheel, CD radio, one-touch triple flash function turn signals, and electronic stability control.

The success of Sprinter, which bowed ’01 under DaimlerChrsyler AG’s Freightliner brand, has spurred speculation that Ford Motor Co. is readying a North American debut of its Transit work van, currently available in European and other foreign markets.

Should Ford decide to bring its Transit to North America, it wouldn’t necessarily be detrimental to Sprinter’s ongoing success, says Reid Bigland, President and CEO – DaimlerChrysler Canada.

“I’ve heard them (Ford) talk about that for the last 8 or 9 years,” Bigland tells Ward’s. “If they come with the Transit, I think you’ll see the segment size grow, which for me is good for both of us.”

The ’07 Dodge Sprinter Cargo Van bases at $31,290, while the Sprinter Passenger Van is $33,490. Both prices include $980 for destination. Both models go on sale this spring.

bpope@wardsauto.com