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Mercedes-Benz Vito

IN A CLASS OF ITS OWN? (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

If there can be such a thing as a workhorse with a pedigree, Mercedes' revitalised mid-sized Vito van is surely it, as Jonathan Crouch reports.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 73

The revitalised Mercedes Vito van offers an efficient range of powerful frugal diesel engines, smart styling, a quality cabin and decent levels of equipment. Buyers get a choice of 1.6 or 2.1-litre diesel power and there's the option of either front or rear-wheel drive. As a result, Stuttgart's medium-sized Crew Van contender looks better equipped than ever to take the fight to an increasingly impressive array of Volkswagen Transporter and Vauxhall Vivaro-sized rivals.

Backgroundword count: 220

One of the things you learn early on in business is that the cheapest options aren't always the best ones. And that the way you deliver your goods says plenty about them. Both things explain the appeal of the Mercedes-Benz of medium range vans, this model, the Vito, which slots in just below the larger Sprinter model in the German brand's LCV range. Well over a million examples have been sold since its original launch in 1996 but in a tougher, more eco-conscious commercial market, this design now needs more than just badge and build quality to stave off competition from less prestigiously badged but arguably more complete rivals. Hence the improved Vito model we're looking at here, smarter, more practical, better to drive and crucially, less costly to run. All of which it will need to deliver if it is to be a credible alternative to tough rivals as diverse as the Vauxhall Vivaro / Renault Trafic design, the Peugeot Expert / Fiat Scudo / Citroen Dispatch collaboration, the Volkswagen Transporter and of course the ubiquitous Ford Transit, primarily in 'Transit Custom' form. All these alternatives claim to match this Vito's all-round excellence for less money but Mercedes reckons that it won't take operators very long behind the wheel to appreciate the difference that the Three-Pointed Star can make.

Driving Experienceword count: 252

The big news with this modernday Vito range is the option it offers of front-wheel drive, a format that comes mated to a 1.6-litre diesel engined borrowed from Renault's Trafic. There's the choice of it in either 88hp '109 CDI' form or in 114hp '111 CDI' guise. Beyond that, as before, the powerplant that forms the backbone of the range is a redesigned version of Mercedes' stalwart 2.1-litre four-cylinder common rail diesel borrowed from the larger Sprinter model, an engine which has already gained a good reputation for its combination of performance, economy and refinement and, almost uniquely for a four cylinder LCV diesel, is fitted with balancer shafts to eliminate vibration and improve what were already class-leading levels of refinement. As with previous Vito models, this 2.1-litre unit comes in three states of tune, the options beginning with the 136hp '114 CDI' entry level version. Beyond that, there's a 163hp '116 CDI' model and a 190hp '119 CDI' flagship diesel variant. The latter model comes only with 7-speed '7G-TRONIC PLUS' automatic transmission, the most sophisticated auto gearbox in the segment. It's an option for '116 CDI' customers. And over bumps and around corners? The ride might be a slightly firmer than you're used to but it's an undeniably supple and well-controlled one you'll quickly adapt to and appreciate. There's also the fact that, a little unusually in this class, this van is rear rather than front driven, meaning more rewarding handling than you might be expecting and a tighter turning circle.

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Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)

Min

Max

CO2 (g/km):

190

Extra urban mpg:

30.7

44.1

Height (mm):

1900

2328

Length (mm):

4760

5238

Urban mpg:

25.2

32.5

Weight (kg):

1870

2205

Width (mm):

1901

1902

Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: Vans

Performance
80%
Handling
80%
Comfort
70%
Space
90%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
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