The all new Mercedes Benz Vito was introduced in the UK in 2015 and is built at the Vitoria plant in Spain's Basque country which also happens to be the oldest van plant in Europe.
Sitting under the more luxurious V-Class the Mercedes Benz Vito Tourer offers up to eight seats and in the long wheelbase model, we were testing it retains full luggage carrying capabilities.
It is based on the Vito commercial van range so it is less luxurious than the V-Class but that does not make it utilitarian - sure the dashboard and some of the trim may look a little commercial but it shares the same platform as the V-Class and therefore has excellent road manners.
There are many variations to suit probably everyone's needs from front-wheel drive configurations to rear-wheel drive here in the UK - there are three wheelbase options as well Compact (4,895mm), Long (5,140mm) and Extra Long (5,370mm) - plus a number of engines and even an automatic transmission.
We tested the Mercedes Benz Vito 119CDI Tourer SELECT X-long powered by a 2.1-litre 190HP diesel engine mated to a 7-speed automatic gearbox which at the time of testing was priced at £38,928 (inc.VAT) plus £535+VAT for the Obsidian Black Metallic paint finish and other extras.Driving and Performance
The model we tested was powered by the Mercedes 2.1-litre 4-cylinder 119 BlueTEC BlueEFFICIENCY diesel unit which produces 190 hp / 440 Nm - it is rear wheel drive in this set up with the 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission as standard.
Currently, it is the most powerful setup in the Vito range - with engines starting with the 109 BlueTEC BlueEFFICIENCY which is front wheel drive and outputs 88hp.
109 BlueTEC BlueEFFICIENCY Diesel 1598cc FWD 6 sp Man 88 hp 230 Nm
111 BlueTEC BlueEFFICIENCY Diesel 1598cc FWD 6 sp Man 114 hp 270 Nm
114 BlueTEC BlueEFFICIENCY Diesel 2143cc RWD 6 sp Man / 7 sp Auto 136 hp 330 Nm
116 BlueTEC BlueEFFICIENCY Diesel 2143cc RWD 6 sp Man / 7 sp Auto 163 hp 380 Nm
119 BlueTEC BlueEFFICIENCY Diesel 2143cc RWD 7 sp Auto 190 hp 440 Nm
On the open road, the Vito is more car-like to drive than we expected, not quite up to the standard of contemporary SUVs but this is probably what it can be compared to.
There are lots of surprises with the Vito - one being that it is quite quick, on occasion, it can get bogged down with changing gear and there is some turbo lag. But it certainly doesn't feel lacking - and will keep up with the flow and is very capable on the motorway, where its commanding view is a boon to progress and safety.
Mercedes quote a 0-62 mph time of 9.0 seconds and a top speed of 128 mph where permitted.
The speed sensitive electric power steering is a little over sensitive and lacks any real feel but it makes it very easy to park and at the safe pace of Vito driving and cornering we had no concerns - in fact, it is easy and relaxing to drive.
The ride quality is excellent especially as it is based on a van - it has comfort suspension which is superb - only feeling unsettled on very poor road surfaces. Yes, there is some body roll if you press on through the bends but it is all very predictable - although it does take some stopping from higher speeds.
The seven-speed automatic transmission is excellent with three drive modes, comfort (standard), eco and a manual mode which allows you to utilise the manual gear levers at the back of the steering wheel - I think you would only do that for pure novelty factor or when descending a steep hill otherwise it is so easy to select drive/reverse/park from the steering column mounted gear lever and off you go.
We were not overly keen on the foot-mounted parking brake and would have preferred an electronic one and foot rest would have been a plus.
We were achieving 34.2 mpg over a mixed route covering a distance of just over 400 miles, which seems reasonable for such a large vehicle. There is auto stop/start technology and for once it is not intrusive and works well with the auto gearbox - you can switch it off should you wish.
In summary, the Mercedes Benz Vito is very easy and relaxing to drive - when taking into consideration its length and width.
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