Over the last 10-15 years the Mercedes-Benz company has started to branch out from the things that made them the envy of the world. Few people ever thought the company would ever produce anything other than high-end luxury machines that were the envy of the world. Then they started making smaller cars to act as an entry point into the brand for the younger set that wanted the three point star on their grills, but couldn’t afford the larger cars. Then came the luxury-styled family hatches which appeased the family set with practical luxury. The largest step was the introduction of a commercial van line they call the Mercedes-Benz Vito.
The Vito was released back in 1996 to a mixture of shock and excitement. Fleet managers and business owners were excited at the prospect of being able to buy a commercial van that conformed to an upscale brand image that also offered higher quality than most other commercial-style vans. By all reports the Mercedes-Benz Vito has been a huge success both for the carmaker and their customers.
One of the most surprising things is that the Mercedes design team was able to make it fit into the rest of the vehicle line-up by giving it a front end that is distinctly Benz. The prominent front end surrounds a grill with an inlaid three-point start would scream Mercedes-Benz even without the branding. The rear end of the vehicle has been left to look like a mini-van on steroids due to the fact that it needs to be practical for the commercial worlds that are the targeted audience.
The Mercedes-Benz Vito is offered in three load lengths that include; compact, long and extra long. There are also two wheelbases of 3,200mm and 3,430mm. The two smaller bodies sit on the lesser of the two wheelbases while the extra long sits on the longer one. Standard load height is 1,902mm, but can be upped if the fleet manager gets the extra long body with the high-roof for a total load height of 2,328mm. The combination of the longer body and higher roof ups the load volume from 4.65 cubic meters to 6.49 cubic meters. That leaves enough room for a fully loaded Europallet. Gross vehicle weight sits at 2,770kg on all models. Payload capacity starts out at 850kg in the extra long body and gets all the way up to 980kg in the compact version.
Mercedes-Benz offers the Vito in the standard commercial configuration as well as two passenger friendly sets ups call the Dualiner and the Traveliner. Both those version get extra seats and windows to appease the passengers. When purchased in either of those two versions the van turns into a luxury MPV.
A true test of a commercial van though is the power under the bonnet. The Mercedes-Benz Vito comes with multiple options derived from the same common-rail direct injection diesel engine and one petrol choice. The diesel engines produce 95bhp, 116bhp, 150bhp or 204bhp while the petrol powers in with 231bhp. Torque values range from 250Nm up to 440Nm. The standard gearbox for the diesel engines is a 6-speed manual with properly set up ratios to allow for a minimum of shifting. The petrol option comes with an automatic shifter.
Fleet manager looking to up their brand image with a quality made commercial vehicle will find much to like with the Mercedes-Benz Vito. The other people who might like the Vito are families who like to venture out into the wilderness with a van packed to the gills with equipment.
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