The What Van? Road Test: Mercedes-Benz Vito (2020)

Date: Monday, September 20, 2021

Timing is everything, so it was unfortunate for Mercedes-Benz that its announcement of a face-lifted Vito last year pretty much coincided with the arrival of the first UK Covid-19 lockdown. On the positive side, however, the subsequent months saw an explosion in the home delivery market as consumers marooned in their own houses and flats energetically shopped online; and a medium-size panel van like Vito is well-nigh ideal for home delivery work.

Changes to the Vito van include the ditching of the elderly 2.1l diesel in rear-wheel-drive models in favour of a 2.0l at 136hp (114CDI), 163hp (116CDI) and 190hp (119CDI) that has already appeared in the passenger-carrying Vito Tourer. It comes with a nine-speed 9G-Tronic automatic gearbox as standard in the UK.

If you want a manual box – a six-speed in Vito’s case – then you will have to opt for the front-wheel-drive version. It takes a 1.7l diesel at either 102hp (110CDI) or 136hp (114CDI), and in passing it is worth noting that Vito is the only model in its sector to offer the two different drive formats. Grossing at from 2.8 to 3.2t, the latest Vito is distinguished by a new front grille, new upholstery and changes to the infotainment package. 

The Audio 30 with a 7ins touch-screen, DAB radio and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring is now the standard offering, with the opportunity to upgrade to Audio 40 with satnav. 

Active brake assist is now standard too. It warns the driver if the van is getting too close to an obstruction ahead, and delivers extra brake pressure if an emergency stop has to be made.

If the driver fails to react then the brakes are applied automatically.

Mention should also be made of the availability of an interior mirror which can be switched to display a rear-view camera image, and of adaptive cruise control under the Distronic banner.

Front-wheel-drive or rear-wheel-drive, Vito van is produced with three overall lengths – L1, L2 and L3 – but just one roof height. Three specification levels are listed – Progressive, Premium and Sport – although the last-named is offered solely with the six-seater crew van.

An electric eVito is also being produced. However, we got to grips with an L2 front-wheel-drive 114CDI diesel with 136hp on tap, and in the Progressive trim. 


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