Mercedes Vito 109CDI Long panel van
What is it?
THIS is the all-new Mercedes Vito in 109 CDI front-drive panel van trim. The new Mercedes Vito is now available in the UK and designed to take on both the Ford Transit Custom and Vauxhall Vivaro. So how does the new contender shape up? Here’s our new Mercedes Vito review.
- Very obviously a Mercedes, but the new Vito looks sharp – especially at the front with the latest version of the new family grille and those upswept headlights, which make this new Mercedes van stand out against rivals.
- The high quality, well-made feel to the Vito’s interior and switchgear is very Mercedes and a cut above its competitors.
- We like the curvy, almost car-like design of the Vito’s dashboard. Logically located switchgear is another bonus.
- Drivers who spend a lot of time behind the wheel will find much to like about the new Vito’s driving position, which seems lower and more car-like than before. All-round visibility is generally good too.
- The impressive list of standard safety kit including the expected airbags, ESP traction control and ABS brakes. Plus, the new Mercedes has 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. We can’t vouch for the Attention Assist, but the Crosswind Assist definitely works, as we experienced on the windy M40 test route.
- It’s not just the safety kit that’s impressive on the new Vito, the standard equipment is pretty comprehensive too. Neat features include the multi-function steering wheel, standard Bluetooth and electric windows.
- Despite the performance, this Vito is still capable of 54.3mpg on the Combined Cycle, with CO2 emissions of 163g/km.
- The way this new Vito handles and in particular rides, is possibly the standout feature of this new van. 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 pockmarked roads of Northampton, we were amazed by how composed the Vito remained. This is probably partly due to the semi-trailing arm rear axle and coil springs.
- Our front-drive test van is powered by the new 88bhp, 1.6-litre 109 CDI turbo diesel that’s supplied by Renault. Although smoother than the 2.1-litre twin-turbo diesel, this engine feels swamped in this Vito Long panel van body. You’ll get to know the slick speed dash-mounted six-speed manual very well if you go for this engine, as any sign of an incline will see you drop not one, but up to two gears. Imagine that plus a heavy load? Acceleration to 62mph takes 18.9 seconds and the top speed is just 97mph.
- The ride and handling of the new Vito impresses, but the new electro-magnetic steering seems totally devoid of any feel, which is a shame.
- It might feel high quality and built to last, but some of the textured plastics and the plastic-trimmed steering wheel feel low-rent and as though they’ll look worn quickly.
- The foot pedal-mounted handbrake feels old and is difficult to use. Why no electronic handbrake?
Verdict on the Mercedes Vito 109CDI Long panel van
The new Mercedes Vito has to be one of the van highlights of 2015, but the 109CDI Long panel van wouldn’t be our pick of the range. Yes, the 1.6 CDI is smooth and the running costs are economical, but the shortcomings of this engine become immediately obvious as soon as you hit the open road where this Vito feels underpowered and slow.
The low down…
|On the road price (ex VAT):||£20,139|
|Load width (max):||1,685mm|
|Load height:||1,252 mm|
|Load capacity:||558 cu m|
|Towing capacity braked/unbraked:||1200kg/750kg|
|Engine:||1.6-litre four-cylinder, common rail diesel|