The Sprinter has proved to be such a massive success for Mercedes-Benz that its smaller brother the Vito tends to get overlooked.
But there’s certainly no overlooking the variant on test here – the Sport Dualiner – which is a proper bobby-dazzler, clad in metallic paint, side bars, smoked glass side windows and alloy wheels.
This particular van is, to be honest, aimed mainly at the retail market – small business owners who are doing well and want to treat themselves – but it does have a couple of fleet uses.
For example, it seats five in comfort plus 3.0 cubic metres of cargo space in the back, so if your fleet gets involved in, say, picking up high profile clients from the airport, you couldn’t do it in more style than this.
The rear seats can be removed too, although it takes the strength of Samson to do it, so this vehicle could double up as a dedicated van and a people carrier for varying fleet purposes.
And, of course, if you refer back to our feature in the January 2012 edition entitled “Speculate to accumulate on your van residuals”, you’ll find advice from Glass’s Guide CV editor George Alexander suggesting that buying one of these vehicles for the fleet and offering it as a prize drive for the person who achieves the best fuel economy in the previous month will immediately start paying dividends in terms of fuel spend.
Most of the manufacturers are offering sporty vans now as the trend catches on, but while Ford, say, offers its Transit Sportvan with a standard 140bhp engine and lots of extra shiny bits, the Mercedes has beefed up its 2,143cc offering to a meaty 163bhp.
If you really want to fly (and probably end up with a load of drivers with no licences) the Sport X model is cranked up to a whopping 224bhp.
The Vito Sport Dualiner weighs in at £26,395 inc-VAT and offers as standard six-spoke alloys, metallic paint, air-conditioning, comfort seats, full wall panelling, leather steering wheels, twin side sliding doors, chrome side bars and sport floor mats and tinted glass.
As with all Mercedes vans, this model has as standard Electronic Stability Control, plus ABS brakes, acceleration skid control, electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist.
Behind the wheel
Whenever a vehicle like this is delivered for testing the editor invariably casts a quizzical eye in my direction and asks why I didn’t choose a more ‘fleety’ model.
But the needs of Britain’s van fleet operators are many and varied – and are becoming more and more so as time goes by.