All round vision is very good, bar over the right shoulder vision which is hampered by the thick ‘B’ pill ...
What's It Like to Live With
It has a footprint of 5370mm long x 2244mm wide x 1890mm high – so unsurprisingly it is big – for example, a long wheelbase Range Rover is 5199mm x 1983mm x 1915mm - but it can carry a payload of 785-960 kg in the X-long guise with ease.
Getting in and out is an easy affair and although you step up into it – the high headroom makes it easy and there is an integral step which is revealed when opening the doors. The driver’s seat although not electrically powered (there is an option) is easily adjustable and you can even tilt the bottom cushion – the lumber support is powered and is adjustable in four directions. The front seats are perhaps a little hard – and on long journies, this was noticeable but not too worrying.
The rear is accessed via two electrically opening sliding doors which run down the side of the Vito –there are switches on the dashboard for remote operation, and one door can be opened from the key fob. Passengers can control access via the door handle and an internal switch to open/close the door. It is not too apparent if they can be locked out of operation to stop children playing.
In the version, we were testing there are eight seats, - with the two rear rows of seats both have two seats with Isofix child seat fittings – so four in total and everyone gets their own seat, rather than a shared bench. This version of the Vito makes the ideal school run mini-bus albeit an expensive one but if you have a large family then it is ideal.
All of the passenger seats bar the front fold flat turning them into tables, but that is about it – they do slide and can be moved around on a flexible floor system but they are extremely heavy and you will need help (it is not too easy) – ideally they would all be independent and perhaps have the ability to swivel around. According to Mercedes, you can set the Vito up as a 5-seater, 4-seater or 2-seater – this is something we did not test as the weight of the seats made this difficult plus the manual was not that easy to understand.
There were two 12v sockets in the rear on either side and two optional cup holders to fight over. There are cup holders for front users, but you do have to lean forward a fair way to reach them. There is also storage on top of the dashboard, otherwise there is a smallish glove compartment and storage in the doors which is hard to reach because of the seat height.
You can have the two rows of passenger’s seats facing each other should you wish – there is plenty of headroom and reasonable legroom – you would easily fit a five-a-side football team in with three-reserves plus their kit without much complaint but we doubt that the taller players could stand up.
The tailgate is heavy and shorter users may find it hard to close – do not park too close to any vehicles at the rear as you won’t be able to open it – ideally, it should be powered. One other thing is that you have to open the passenger's front door to open the fuel flap where you will also find the ad-blue filler to meet with Euro6 emissions on this model.
Our test van was fitted with the optional £950+VAT park assist package which comprises front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera and autonomous parking. Although expensive it is an option that we would highly recommend.
All round vision is very good, bar over the right shoulder vision which is hampered by the thick ‘B’ pillar, otherwise, vision when parking is good as you see out down the length of the vehicle. There are parking sensors front and rear – with visual indicators on the dash and rear headlining to show how close you are to the impending obstacle. The reversing camera is clear with guidelines which show the predicted line of travel according to the steering wheel input.
The autonomous parking is more hit and miss – well it did not hit anything – it can measure parking spaces both parallel and perpendicular to work out if the Vito will fit into the space and if so it will take control over the steering – all you need to do is control the accelerator and direction of travel in accordance with the instructions on the instrument cluster. You use the indicator stalk to specify what side you want to park, the problem is that it is all a bit sluggish and I am sure you will alienate other road users with the speed of it all – it is probably quicker in most cases to park yourself – given the chance it does work well including automatically braking should it feel you are about to hit an obstacle.
One thought whilst here – if you drive a car you probably do not pay too much attention to height barriers on car parks – the Vito had us worried on some occasions but it will go under a 2m bar – but it still concerning, not too sure how it would cope in some multi-storey car parks.
Our Vito came with another must package, especially if you do a lot of driving at night and that is the intelligent LED lighting system at £1,716+VAT. It comprises LED indicators, LED daytime running lamps, as well as LED low-beam headlamps and main beam with cornering light function. It adapts the beam to match road speeds and can vary the beam on country roads and extend/widen it on motorways it was excellent especially out in the country where it can give a near daylight wall of light. It could also flip between low and full beam adapting to other road users.
Again surprisingly for us, bearing in mind the length and width of the Vito – it is very easy to live with.