The Vito, Mercedes-Benz’s medium panel van contender, has always been somewhat overshadowed by its award-winning big brother the Sprinter.
So it may come as a surprise to learn that, since its launch in 1995, some 1.1 million units have been sold worldwide.
Now in its second incarnation, the Vito is about to be relaunched with a new set of Euro V compliant engines, a fresh face and a host of other tweaks and twiddles that ensure it cuts the mustard against an increasingly impressive array of rivals.
The new vans are due in UK showrooms around December, at which time prices are expected to rise by between 1.5% and 2%.
At the launch in Hamburg, Roland Folger, Mercedes-Benz director of van sales, revealed that the German firm’s sales were up 39% in Europe in the first six months of the year and he expects the figures to increase as new Vito comes on stream.
He said: “This van includes a lot of new features and we have upped
the yardstick again in terms of noise, fuel efficiency, payload and CO2
“Times are still tough but we are expecting to reap the rewards of our investment.”
New Vito features two engines with four or six cylinders.
The four-cylinder units have power outputs of 95bhp, 136bhp and 163bhp while the V6 offers a blistering 224bhp – not the obvious fleet choice but one which will appeal to blue light operators.
The Vito is the only van in the sector to offer six gears as standard on all variants and ESP stability control comes as part of the package too.
The new engines are not only smoother, quieter and more powerful, but also average fuel consumption drops by 15% while CO2 emissions fall by a similar figure.
Under the floor is a revised chassis which, says, Mercedes-Benz “sets new standards of driving stability and robustness” while the Vito has a new face with revised headlights and an upgraded front bumper.
In the cab there is a new gearshift, a re-arranged centre console and a new four-spoke multi-function steering wheel.
Vito will also get the option of a BlueEfficiency package that was recently launched on Sprinter.
This involves the addition of Merc’s ECO stop-start system which switches off the engine after two seconds idling.
This package also adds a gearshift point indicator and special tyres
optimised for minimum rolling resistance.
Vito is also the only van in the sector to offer three load lengths – Compact, Long and Extra Long.
Prices will be announced nearer the launch date.