The German brand has revealed the first pictures and specification details of its new contender in the competitive medium van segment. James Dallas takes a look.
Mercedes-Benz has revealed the first details and pictures of its new Vito medium van, which will make its public debut at the Hanover Commercial Vehicle Motor Show in September before going on sale in the UK the first quarter of 2015.
The brand will offer the model in three bodystyles, panel van, crew van and Vito Tourer family van and, in the UK, in front and rear-wheel drive modes. Mercedes has introduced an all-wheel drive model to the line-up but, unlike the larger 4x4 Sprinter, this will not be coming to the UK.
The current generation Vito is produced as a RWD model only.
GVWs range from 2.5 to 3.2-tonnes and in Germany prices will start from
Euro 17, 990 (£14,227), excluding VAT for the 109 CDI panel van with FWD.
Mercedes claims the new Vito range, which comes in three lengths, will have a best-in-class maximum payload of 1369kg.
The new Vito comes with two turbo diesel engines with five power ratings, although the lower rated units are not yet confirmed for the UK.
The Vito 109 CDI gets a 1.6-litre 88hp unit and the 111 CDI has increased power of 114hp.
A 2.1-litre engine is available with outputs of 136hp on the 114 CDI, 163hp on the116 CDI and 190hp for the flagship Euro 6 Vito 119 Bluetec.
A UK spokesman said the 116 Blue Efficiency would be the most economical engine, achieving an official 49.6mpg on the combined cycle. It is available on RWD models and is standard on all Vito Tourers with automatic transmission. Mercedes promises that fuel consumption on the combined cycle will be 20% less across the range than for the current Vito.
Six-speed manual transmission is standard on lower powered models and the 7G-Tronic Plus automatic transmission is an option on the 114 CDI and 116 CDI and standard on the 119 Bluetec and AWD derivatives.
Mercedes says the new Vito will benefit from long service intervals of two years or 24,000 miles.
As is the norm with Mercedes, much emphasis has been placed on safety with the new Vito, which, predictably, comes with Adaptive ESP as standard.
The brand claims the new Vito panel van is the only model in its class to provide airbags and a seat belt reminder for both the driver and passenger as standard and adds that the Tourer people carrier gets up to eight airbags including window bags in the front and rear and thorax/pelvis sidebags in the front.
Mercedes says the new Vito will also come with a standard piece of kit it dubs Attention Assist that gauges the driver’s state of alertness through detecting inconsistent driving characteristics through an array of sensors. It aims to protect drivers against fatigue on long journeys and is active at speeds of between 50 and 110mph. Crosswind Assist, which was introduced on the Sprinter to guard against sudden gusts of wind, is also a standard fit as is a tyre pressure monitoring system.
A tranche of other safety assistance items are up for grabs as options. These include Active Parking Assist, which the manufacturer claims is a first for vans, Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist.
Also introduced on the new Vito as an option is the Intelligent Light System as an alternative to the standard halogen headlamps. The technology consists of LED indicators, LED daytime running lights and LED headlights with a cornering function. Depending on road speed, the beam adapts for driving on motorways or rural roads by varying the light distribution.
Mercedes says all three body lengths of the new Vito (4895mm, 5140mm, 5370mm) are 140mm longer than the preceding model, which it attributes to an extended front end designed to improve pedestrian protection. With a maximum height of 1910mm all variants are below the two-metre mark and thus fit into standard multi-story car parks and automatic car washes.
Mercedes says the models at the heart of the range are the 2.8 and 3.0-tonne derivatives, which have payload capacities of 1000kg and 1289kg respectively.
Mercedes describes its new medium van as having a powerful-looking radiator grille framed by sharply contoured wing-shaped headlamps.
It says the new Vito fits snugly into the LCV line-up between the Citan and Sprinter with signature stylistic elements such as three perforated slats in the grille, which also serve to boost air-flow.
The Vito has a horizontal bumper extending downwards with a further air intake incorporated. At base level the bumpers are unpainted to reduce repair costs but higher up the range colour-coded bumpers are available.
The arrow-shaped bonnet flows into the side walls that feature two raise contours, which Mercedes claims reduces wind resistance to improve fuel consumption. Roof rails, which do not raise the height above the 2.0-metre threshold, can be specified as an option.
Mercedes has raised the tail lights on the new model to enhance the vehicle’s visibility and reduce the risk of picking up knocks in traffic and tight spaces. LED is offered as an option for the rear lights. The van is available with either a tailgate or twin hinged doors.
Both driver and passenger get contoured seats in the new Vito and the brand claims the seat cushion and backrest are both larger, while the latter is higher to provide lateral support.
Both front seats have two-way head restraints and can be adjusted lengthwise as standard – likewise the backrest angle. The driver’s seat is height adjustable. In the panel van tall drivers now benefit from a change to the contour in the bulkhead that has increased the seat’s adjustment range. A curvature in the upper section enables the backrest to tilt back 83mm further than before.
For multi-drop delivery vans a Plus driver’s seat is offered. This is flatter and covered in more rugged fabric.
Driver and passenger can both specify comfort seats that offer an adjustable seating surface, central armrests and four-way head restraints.
Lumbar support, backrest air cushions and electric seat adjustment with memory are also available and a double seat can be chosen instead of the single passenger seat.
Mercedes claims the redesigned dashboard positions all controls within easy reach of the driver. The steering wheel is height and reach adjustable on lower trim levels as an option or as a standard fit further up the range. Steering wheel-mounted controls can operate the audio and navigation systems.
It won’t please everybody but, like its predecessor, the new Vito has a foot-operated parking brake.
As for stowage, there are three compartments on top of the dash for papers, clipboards or tablets or any items that need to be kept close to hand. All are partially covered to prevent distracting reflections appearing in the windscreen.
A central compartment can accommodate A4-sized documents and cup holders are positioned to the far right and left.
The doors house small upper and larger lower bins capable of hold 1.5-litre bottles.
More detail and pricing will emerge later this year as Mercedes builds up to the launch of a van crucial to its goal of becoming the second-biggest selling van brand.