There have been a few times in the history of the Mercedes-Benz company where they failed to put out a vehicle that truly lived up to the Mercedes name. In fact most of the vehicles they put out become the envy of car making world. Of course over the last ten or so years they have lost some of the luster that used to put them to the head of the class on every level. It seems as though they have hit their stride again and coming back with excellent vehicles that are changing the way people look at the various classes. First the changed how people looked at family hatches with the nearly perfect A-Class and B-Class and now they are changing the luxury MPV class with the release of the Mercedes-Benz Viano.
Mercedes has scrapped their good selling, but much maligned V-Class MPV with the Mercedes-Benz Viano that perfectly combines the fact that the car maker is world renowned for strong engines and luxury interiors. The only complaint that people may have is that it is more MPV than it is Mercedes, but at the end of the day it has enough to appease people looking to have their cake and eat it too.
The company is offering the Viano in two different wheelbases and three different body lengths. The wheelbases measure in at 3,200mm and 3,400mm and can be topped with bodies that start at 4,748 to 5,223mm. Mercedes has aptly named the different sizes Compact, Long and Extra Long. Available seating starts out at 6 and can go all the way up to 8 seats. The 6-seater comes with 6 individual seats that include 3-pint safety belts and personal armrest.
Under the bonnet are two diesel options and one petrol powered machine. The oil-burners com in the shape of a 2.0-litre 16-vlave 4-cylinder CDI that produces 136bhp at 3,800rpm and also a 2.2-litre 16-vlave 4-cylinder that runs on 163bhp at 3,800rpm. Both engines get an estimated 38.7mpg in combined driving. Of course the petrol engine offers the most power of the lot with an impressive 231bhp emanating from a 3.7-litre V6. Depending on the engine and both size the Viano is available with a standard 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic.
The Mercedes-Benz Viano comes with two trim level choices called: Trend or Ambiente. Overall the cabin is what you would expect from a Mercedes vehicle. There is a level of class rarely found on the inside of an MPV. The seats sit on a system of rails that allow for a seemingly endless number of seating arrangements. The seats can even be adjusted for a fact to face configuration which might be nice for a long trip for a game of cards. Every seat in the back can be folded completely flat or tumbled forward to increase cargo space.
As always safety features are abundant with ESP dynamic handling electronics, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, ASR traction control and hydraulic brake assist system. Front seats get airbags with side and thorax airbags to protect the neck in a serious accident.
The Mercedes-Benz Viano may not be the exactly what one would expect from the German luxury kings, but it is exactly what is needed in this sector. Rarely is an MPV equipped with such practical features like the seating system. The Mercedes design team should be proud.
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