Mercedes Vito 116 BlueTEC Crew Van Long Sport review:
What is it?
Mercedes’ answer to the Ford Transit Sport Van and the Volkswagen Transporter Highline – the UK-only Vito Sport, which is tested here in ultra-practical Crew Van Long form.
- It might have been on sale a little while now and with looks being more evolution than revolution, but the latest Vito is a sharp-looking van and the Sport trim just enhances it. At the front, we particularly like the large, new family grille, finished in chrome on Sport models, the upswept headlights and the chrome detailing round the fog lights, which is also unique to the Sport trim. At the side, you’ll spot the Sport by its chrome sidebars and those standard 17-inch alloy wheels. Move to the back and there’s more chrome detailing around the boot handle.
- The high quality, well-made feel to the Vito’s interior and switchgear is another highlight of this van.
- The curvy, car-like dashboard is attractive and all the major switchgear is logically located.
- Considering the van rivals in this class, we believe the Vito has the best, most car-like driving position – with good all-round visibility.
- This is a Crew Van Long version of the Vito, bringing a rear bench for workers during the week, but can easily double up as useful kid space at the weekend. Legroom is excellent, there’s also the added practicality of twin sliding rear doors. Another bonus of choosing the ‘Long’ version of the Crew Van is, that despite the seats, there’s still 2,908mm of loadspace in the back!
- The new Vito has an impressive list of standard safety kit including the expected airbags, ESP traction control and ABS brakes.
- Also included as standard are extra clever features including Crosswind Assist, which stops the Vito from rolling over in a sudden sideways gust and Attention Assist, which can detect when a driver is falling asleep.
- On top of the standard safety kit, the equipment fitted to the Vito is pretty comprehensive. However on top of this, the new Sport trim adds an Audio 15 infotainment system, which includes Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Plus, air-conditioning, ‘comfort’ front driver and passenger seats and ‘Sport’ branded floor mats. We also particularly like the multi-function steering wheel and electric windows.
- Our rear-drive test van is powered by the 163bhp, 2.1-litre twin-turbo diesel. Although noisy, this engine feels pleasingly willing and flexible and is mated with a slick six-speed manual transmission. Acceleration to 62mph takes 11.3 seconds and the top speed, considering it’s a van, is a suitably sporty 118mph.
- Despite the performance, this Vito is still capable of 55.4mpg on the Combined Cycle, with CO2 emissions of 149g/km.
- It’s not particularly sporty to drive, but the way this Vito handles and in particular rides, is particularly impressive – especially when you consider it’s rolling on 17-inch alloys. Yes the tall body equals quite a bit of body roll, but this van is a safe handler with plenty of grip. Even on the most potholed roads, we were amazed by how composed the Vito remained. This is probably partly due to the semi-trailing arm rear axle and coil springs.
- The lifeless feel to the electro-magnetic steering spoils the Vito’s otherwise fault-free drive.
- Apart from the chrome parts, 17-inch wheels and ‘Sport’ badging, it looks like every other Vito Crew Van Long. Best wait for the forthcoming Sport X version then, as we’re promised lowered suspension, bigger wheels and roof rails.
- It might feel high quality and built to last, but the Vito Sport’s interior doesn’t feel very special alongside the standard Vito. Where’s the leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearknob?
- Why no electronic handbrake? The pedal-mounted system is fiddly and feels old.
The new Sport version of the Vito adds useful extra equipment and a little attitude to this good-looking and, in crew van form, practical van. Okay, for a model with a ‘Sport’ badge it’s a bit too similar to the rest of the Vito range, but because the changes are minimal, they don’t spoil what is one of the best driving vans available. Although, if you really want to make a mark with your van, you might be best waiting for the promised, more hardcore, Sport X version.
Mercedes Vito 116 BlueTEC Crew Van Long Sport
|On the road price (ex VAT):||£27,980|
|Load length:||2,908 mm|
|Load width (max)||1,270 mm|
|Load height:||1,258 mm|
|Load capacity:||3.7 cbm|
|Towing capacity braked/unbraked:||2000kg/750kg|
|Engine||2.1-litre four-cylinder, common rail twin turbo diesel|