Mercedes Benz Vito Tourer

    It’s been far too long since I sampled something from the Mercedes Benz press fleet, so when the always lovely PR lady emailed offering me the opportunity to try their latest Tourer I jumped at the chance. Mercedes Benz are after all going to great lengths to appeal to a younger audience (that’s why their spending so much on Formula 1), so surely then this new Tourer was aimed directly at people like me. Surely that’s why she asked?  I emailed my booking back almost immediately.

     The spec sheet for the Tourer promised a host of luxuries and options on top of an already generous list of standard kit. Rock crystal metallic paint (£535), Leather Steering wheel (£140), Becker sat-nav (£233), black rear privacy glass (£450), Lane Assist (£415), even intelligent LED lighting with auto-dipping (a whopping £1,425) had all been fitted. There was 16 inch alloys, a 7-speed automatic gearbox with flappy paddles and rear-wheel drive – very Nico Rosberg - plus the promise of 190bhp, 0-62 in 9.2 seconds, and 45.6 mpg from a 4 cylinder 2,143cc diesel engine. OK, so that last bit wasn’t quite so Monaco Grand Prix perhaps, but surely this all-new Tourer was going to be quite a looker. Funny how in my excitement I missed the part that said twin (that’s the important bit) electrically operating rear doors, and the line that said long wheel base.

    I should have known better. Unlike those new-money Ingolstadt and Munich upstarts Audi and BMW with their Avants, SportsTourer and such-like, Mercedes Benz still use traditional terms such as Estate and Shooting Brake to describe the stretched versions of their C and E-class saloons. The Tourer nomenclature is reserved for their commercial vehicles. Mercedes were sending me a Vito. A van!  

    Any notions of slippery executive coupes soon disappeared when the Vito turned up. Metallic rock crystal paint or not, the Vito looks altogether more local handyman than it does Lewis Hamilton. Forget single-seaters, the Vito Tourer accommodates eight, and with space to spare. But unlike many-an-MPV there’s actually room for your suitcases too.  Everyone gets a full sized chair instead of some boot-based folding contraption, and there’s 4 Isofix points for the little ones. But best all because the Vito Tourer is based on the Vito Van – look at it, it couldn’t be anything else – all the rear seats can be removed, albeit with an application of some serious muscle, on such occasions for when you could really do with a… well, a van. It was brilliantly handy for transporting my new mattress.

    It was surprisingly good to drive too. Once you get used to the gear-selector being where the wiper stalk would usually be, the hand-brake you apply with your left foot, oh, and the single column stalk that controls the lights, the indicators, the wipers, the rear-wiper and the washing of the front and rear screens, the Vito Tourer can be punted along with confidence. The myriad of headrests do block your rearward view somewhat but there’s a camera to help with going backwards, and the view forwards from the high-set driver’s seat is positively wide-screen. It’ll cruise all-day long at the legal limit with barely a murmur or a rattle and it’ll still return the best part of its promised mpg: I averaged 39.2 over 250 or so miles.

    It’s big and it’s clever. It’s comfy too. The Vito Tourer might not be the sleekest Mercedes Benz you can buy, but that three-pointed star means it’s one the most of sophisticated ways in which you (and seven others) can travel. 

 

Mercedes Benz Vito 119 BlueTEC Tourer SELECT Long

Engine: 2143cc 4cylinder 16valve turbo-diesel

Transmission: 7 speed G-tronic auto. Rear Wheel Drive.

Power: 190bhp @ 3800

Torque: 325 lbft  @ 1400 – 2800 rpm

0-62mph: 9.2 sec

Max Speed: 114 mph

Mpg: 45.6 (combined)

CO2: 163 g/km

Price: £31,615 (Car driven: £38,333)

 

Many thanks to Caroline at Mercedes Benz’s UK press office for the loan of the Vito

www.liam-bird.com

@bird_liam

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Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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