Road Test: Mercedes-Benz Vito (116CDi Sport Dualiner)
Written by Joff Alexander-Frye
Photos supplied by Mercedes-Benz Van Centre Exeter
As my family grows, so do my aspirations and dreams. The other thing that seems to grow is also the size of the cars that I have to buy. It won’t come as a surprise for you to hear then that, with three children and possibly more to come in the future, that I have looked at vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz Vito as a viable option for our family.
So, it was with real relish that I recently visited Mercedes-Benz Van Centre Exeter on Hennock Road, to perform a 24-hour test drive of the new Vito 116CDi Sport Dualiner.
Yes, I had my selfish family hat on, but I was also trying to imagine myself (somewhat hilariously) as having a job worthy of such a vehicle. As a side note, it was a lot of fun channelling my inner-white-van-man for a day. Try it sometime. A change is as good as a rest and all that!
With a stylish modern exterior, and a cavernous interior, the new Vito is delivered to market with more options than ever; both front and rear-wheel drive, two wheelbase options and three body lengths. On top of that, as well as the default panel van versions, you can also opt for the Crew van or Tourer minibus models. That’s all before you reach the much larger Sprinter model. And with load volumes of between 5.5 – 6.6 cubic metres and a payload of up to 1369kg, it really is a van that can do almost anything.
In terms of the driving experience, I found it to be punchy and nimble for a vehicle of its size. With a 2.1-litre engine, both output and performance were satisfactory, with a good amount of power under my right foot and an impressive 40mpg achieved during my 24-hour test drive.
Part of the charm of the Vito is that it bridges the gap between car and van perfectly. Yes, you could turn it into a workhorse and solely use it for work purposes if you wanted, but you could equally employ it as a comfortable, refined people carrier for your tribe of ‘mini-mes’. In fact, the ‘Dualiner’ element of the model name refers to the fact that you can either retain the back three seats, turning the Vito into an 8-seat people carrying machine or take them out, keeping 5 seats and opening up the space in the rear of the vehicle for extended storage or work purposes.
And so, with a heightened driving position (compared to my usual 5-seat mid-size car) and a heightened sense of driving-related enjoyment, I took the Vito down motorways, A-roads, B-roads and single-track lanes to put it through its paces.
And the verdict? Well, let’s just say that I very well might be booking an appointment with Mercedes-Benz Van Centre Exeter later this year to explore getting my hands on one for myself. You can’t say much better than that!
To find out more about the Vito, or book your own test-drive, contact Mercedes-Benz Van Centre Exeter on 01392 349726 or visit their website.