New Mercedes-Benz Vito ready to work in SA
THE Mercedes-Benz Vito is a bit of legend, locally, with many from the outgoing generation and the model that preceded it still cruising around our roads. They are used for many things ranging from effective plumbing and work vans, to people-carrying, to bike-carrying and kit-swallowing motocross racing machines.
In and out the new Vito
Now, there is a new one locally and Mercedes appears to have gotten the brief about the versatility of these vehicles. I drove the new model range to see how it stacks up. The Vito is a van so it’s quite difficult to assess the aesthetics because it’s such afunctional thing. However, it does have the Mercedes family grille with the large three-pointed star and massive headlamps, while the side and rear section are typically squared-off and simple.
Inside is where you’ll be spending all your time and is therefore important. In terms of quality the Vito is meant to be a hard-wearing tool so there are hard plastics everywhere with the occasional niceties such as cruise control or an infotainment system, dependent on which model you have gone for. I did note a few rattles though in the models that we drove, which is surprising from a Mercedes-Benz.
Walk me through the model range
The Vito range comes in a variety of configurations to suit different needs with all models being available in both front and rear-wheel-drive, something which I’m told was in demand. The basic model is the panel van, with three front seats, which are isolated from a large rear loading section with a payload of over 1 300kg in certain models.
The next model in the range is the Mixto which, as its name suggests, is able to serve a variety of needs, with the ability to have its rear section stripped and used as a workhorse or to have all theseats up to carry the family. Then there’s the Tourer model, which comes in “Pro” and “Select”trim and is aimed at providing family transport that can be customised to each individual family.
Engines and gearbox
The front-wheel-drive models, known as the Vito 111 CDI, come with an 84kW/270Nm 1.6-litre turbo diesel motor and a six speed manual gearbox, which I have to say, was a big let-down. In two of the models I drove, the cars struggled to go into certain gears. There is a 7G-Tronic automatictransmission but it’s only available on the 114, 116 and 119 models.
The rear-wheel-drive models comprise of one motor with different outputs. The 2.2-litre unit does duty in the Vito 114 CDI with 100kW/330Nm; the Vito 116 CDI with 120kW/380Nm and the Vito 119 BlueTEC, 140kW/440Nm. The benefit of these diesel motors, especially for business owners, is the40 000km service interval of these engines.
I have to admit that driving the new Vito was quite disappointing; the manual gearbox issues and the odd rattle here and there made me question the pricing, whereas, had the car felt exemplary, I’d have reason to justify its price tag. Bugbears aside, I do believe that the Vito is a very well-packaged car with so many options to suit your lifestyle or business.
Warranty and service plan
All Vito models come with a five-year /120 000km service plan