Van manufacturers have made huge strides in improving the safety of their products and Mercedes-Benz is one company that has been at the forefront of these developments. The systems installed in the latest Vito constitute a prime example of the progress that is being made, which is why What Van? is awarding it our top Safety accolade for 2016.
The Vito comes with crosswind assist as standard. The idea is to ensure that it is not blown into an adjacent lane and into the path of another vehicle if it is hit by a gust on an exposed section of motorway.
Tyre Pressure monitoring System (TPmS) is included in the price. It warns the driver if the pressure is lower than it should be so that he or she can do something about it rather than wait for a sudden and potentially catastrophic deflation at speed on the motorway.
Cruise Control with a Speedtronic variable speed limiter is part of the deal too. Keep your speed in check and you burn less fuel, plus you’ll be less likely to have an accident. attention assist, meanwhile, alerts you if it thinks you are nodding off at the wheel and encourages you to stop for a coffee – hence the coffee cup symbol on the dashboard. The system monitors a driver’s inputs to detect when they may be dozing off.
The brake assist System, adaptive eSP (electronic stability programme) version 9i, roll movement Intervention and roll Over mitigation are all also fitted. as a consequence of all this your van is far less likely to fall over if you have to swerve violently to avoid an obstacle.
Fortunately, the Vito is fitted with Hill Start assist as standard too. Without it, the combination of a manual gearbox and a foot-operated parking brake – an eccentricity mercedes still hasn’t abandoned – would make moving away on a slope without rolling backwards a more challenging exercise.
One feature that has certainly caught our eye is the Qr code for use by the emergency services if the Vito is involved in a smash. Positioned on the cab’s b-pillars, it allows emergency professionals to scan it and see exactly where the fuel tank, airbags and electric cables are all located. as a result, fire fighters can cut into the wreckage and rescue somebody who is unconscious or trapped without making a bad situation worse by chopping through something potentially dangerous.
The list of extra-cost options also impresses, includes Lane Keeping assist. Start day- dreaming and drifting out of lane on a motorway or dual- carriageway and an alert will jolt you back to wakefulness and back on course.
Also on offer is collision Prevention assist. It monitors the distance between you and the vehicle in front and gives audible and visual warnings if you get too close.
Other options on the Mercedes-Benz Vito price list worth ticking include front fog lights, a reversing camera and a rain sensor. Admittedly they are nowhere near asglamorous as alloy wheels or a fancy paint finish, but what price safety?
Overall, this level of standard and optional safety kit is the level all manufacturers should
be building towards. Well done Mercedes-Benz for once again pioneering these technologies for the protection of van drivers.
Did you know...?
The first Vito debuted almost 20 years ago and a revised version with common rail diesels was What Van?'s Van of the Year in 1999.
Highly Commended from the safety viewpoint is the Automatic Post Collision Braking System fitted as standard on the latest Volkswagen Transporter. If the driver hits something then it immediately triggers the brakes with the aim of preventing a secondary impact.
Fitted as standard too is Driver Alert System, which functions in the same way as Vito's Attention Assist.
The options list includes Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) which uses a sensor to help ensure that a safe distance is maintained between Transporter and the vehicle ahead.
ACC also features VW's Front Assist area monitoring technology with City Emergency Braking System. It applies the brakes automatically if Transporter is getting dangerously close to an obstruction - the back of a stationary vehicle for instance - and the driver has failed to react.
High Beam Assist automatically dips the headlights to stop drivers of oncoming vehicles or vehicles in front being dazzled at night; something that ought to be fitted to all vans as standard.
Did you know?
The first Vito debuted almost 20 years ago and a revised version with common-rail diesels was What Van?’s Van of the Year in 1999.