Highly practical, spacious and excellently built, the Mercedes-Benz Vito has always enjoyed a well-deserved reputation for quality. Strong on comfort, refinement and technology this mid-range panel van is also provides a surprisingly sophisticated drive, putting it a head above others in its class.
First launched in 1996, the Vito was revamped in 2014 and now comes with a choice of three lengths, five power outputs and myriad seating configurations, as well as with front or rear-wheel drive. Variety wasn't previously the strong suit of the Vito range, but Mercedes-Benz has turned that right on its head: as well as the panel van versions, there are six-seater crew van and nine-seater Tourer minibus variants, plus an Urban version designed for city driving, a stylish Sport version with alloy wheels, and even a six-seater taxi.
Lets take a look at the Vito’s various features in a little more detail:
Practicality is a strong suit of the Vito. The panel van can carry a payload of up to 1,344kg or 6.6 cubic metres, depending on which size you go for, with a load bay 1.4m high, 1.69m wide and up to 2.91m long. Across the range, the latest Vitos are about 14cm longer than older models, and the optional load-through bulkhead allows longer objects to be fed through a flap in the bulkhead and under the passenger seat.
Load-securing rings are standard in both the panel and crew vans, so you can keep your cargo under control while you’re on the move. At the back there's either a tailgate or double doors, offering tailored solutions for a range of businesses, and there's a sliding door, which is typically found on the right side of the van. Wide openings and a low sill make loading incredibly easy, andat just 1.9m high, the Vito can beparked in a multi-storey car park.
the VitoSport Crew van is a versatile option, with capacity to transport five people and their luggage with ease. It’s an ideal option for those running shuttle services, since it can be fitted with a ski and snowboard rack or a tailgate-mounted bike rack.
The cabin is beautifully put together, with an overriding feeling of solid, workmanlike simplicity: the fabrics and plastics are good quality and the dashboard is intuitively laid out, with chunky controls. Twelve buttons on the steering wheel allow you to control things like the sound system and your phone.
Hop into the driver's seat and you’ll find it firm, comfortable and supportive, with plenty of room for adjustment. After all, if you’re spending a lot of time in the van you need to feel relaxed. The driving position is more car-like than in some rivals, and visibility is good, while storage for small items is plentiful. In all, it’s an extremely flexible and contemporary environment that ensure you are in complete control throughout your working day.
Front-wheel-drive Vitos are fitted with a1.6-litre four-cylinder engine – the same one found in the Renault Trafic and the Vauxhall Vivaro. It's allied to a six-speed manual gearbox and available with either 87bhp and 170lb ft of torque, or 112bhp and 199lb ft of torque.
The rear-wheel-drive versions come with a more muscular 2.1-litre powertrain in three guises: 134bhp, 161bhp, or 187bhp. These are perfect if you deall with heavier loads on a regular basis, but the front-wheel drive variants are preferable if your work takes you primarily around town.
Whichever drivetrain you choose, the Vito boasts excellent handling and refinement, as well as capable steering and assured body control. Despite its size, it corners well, minimising body lean and feels settled when cruising on the motorway.
The most economical Vito is the 161bhp version in 116 CDI Blue Efficiency guise, which returns more than 47mpg. Blue Efficiency is standard on rear-wheel-drive models, and incorporates stop-start engine technology, low rolling resistance tyres (designed to reduce the energy loss as the tyres roll and thereby improve fuel efficiency), and aerodynamic panels underneath the van.
Safety, like efficiency, is at the forefront of many brands’ innovations. Mercedes-Benz has a reputation for the volume and excellence of it’s safety kit, so it’s no surprise the Vito has plenty to protect you.
Alongside the measures every driver has come to expect – such as ABS, stability control and driver and passenger airbags, there’s a host of extras. These include Attention Assist, which detects driver fatigue and alerts you to take a break; tyre pressure monitoring; Crosswind Assist, which stabilises the van in crosswinds; and Hill Start Assist for help with pulling away on an incline. This is particularly useful when you’re fully loaded.
The Vito is packed with comfort and convenience technology too. You’ll find cruise control with a speed limiter, an illuminated glovebox, an immobiliser, remote central locking, and an infotainment system with a radio, Bluetooth and USB and MP3 input. The Urban version comes with voice-controlled satellite navigation to get you from A to B quicker, a reversing camera and air conditioning.
If it’s the taxi you need, you’ll benefit from electric sliding doors on both sides, an electrically operated step, leather-finish seats, air conditioning and park assist, which actively helps you steer into a parking space.
In Fleet News' FN50 van reliability survey in 2017, the Vito was ranked sixth – one place higher than the previous year. Recommended service intervals are only every two years or 24,000 miles – the onboard computer will calculate exactly when a service is needed and tell you. The bodywork is fully galvanized and protected by a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty.
If you'd like to test drive one of our used Mercedes-Benz Vitos, you can see the full range of Mercedes-Benz used vans that we have in stock online - then just give us a call at our Maidstone andHarlow dealership.