Mercedes-Benz has announced a substantial facelift and update for its Vito van range as it faces stronger competition from other vans in the sector.
The updated Vito features six models from the 111 CDI to the range topping Valente people mover and comes just over a week before Volkswagen unveils an updated Transporter range.
The Vito’s new safety features include autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and active cruise control. It also gets an enhanced interior, an improved reversing camera, a digital rear-view mirror which shows vision from on an LCD screen rear visibility is blocked by loads etc.
The Intelligent Light System ILS is also available for the new Vito as an alternative to the halogen headlamps. The Intelligent Light System with Highbeam Assist Plus is now standard on 119 only.
The complete package encompasses LED turn signal lamps, LED daytime running lights and LED dipped beam, main beam and cornering light. The headlamps have a variable light distribution which changes to suit the vehicle speed and thus the prevailing conditions when driving on motorways and out-of-town routes. The Intelligent Light System is extended with the Highbeam Assist PLUS. It reacts adaptively to the visibility conditions and adjusts the light distribution and range to the respective traffic situation; it does this by actuating the dipped-beam, partial main-beam and main-beam headlamps as required.
The updated Vitos are on sale now featuring revised front styling, more safety and assistance systems, a revised infotainment system and a simplified model range.
Although new European Vitos are being powered by a new Euro 6 power plant, Aussie Vito buyers get the carryover engine from the superceded model because the is not statutory requirement for the cleaner, newer engine .
The engine and transmission line up, sees the 1.6-litre 84kW/270Nm OM622 engine fitted to the entry level Vito 111 CDI front wheel drive with a six-speed manual transmission, while all other rear wheel drive variants use the proven 2.1-litre OM651 engine, mated to the 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic.
As part of the rationalisation of models and to reduce complexity across the OM651 engine line up, the former Vito 114 CDI 100kw/330Nm model has been dropped, making the more powerful 120kW/380Nm Vito 116 CDI the dominant engine choice across the range.
The former 114 short wheelbase model was the Vito range entry point but this has changed with the medium wheel base now the starting point for the 116 line up, which Benz says will optimise the carrying capacity on offer to better meet the demands of buyers.
The Vito Crew Cab which can carry a team of up to six people is available with the 116 or 119 CDI engine and the Valente 8 seater people mover, is available with the 116 CDI engine.
Managing director of Mercedes-Benz Vans, Diane Tarr said the versatility of Vito sets it apart with Australian examples used for everything from home and roadside assist vehicles, to Australian Post delivery vans, an Optus technical service vehicles and as a trusted tool for many smaller business operations like florists or even mobile fitness instructors.
“It is a genuine trade specialist and fleet all-rounder for a wide range of different customers,” said Dianne Tarr.
“The Vito’s look and style is often symbolic of the business it supports, the newly designed radiator grill now makes it an even more attractive representation, and with more standard safety, new assistance systems and an upgraded infotainment offering, it will continue to meet the demands of our customers,” she said.
The newer Euro 6 OM654 engines available in Europe are said to be up to far quieter and 13 per cent more efficient than the OM651 engine that is being carried over here, with Benz saying that this enables the range to be more price competitive and simpler for technicians who will not need to be retrained for the new engine, just yet.
Benz says that eventually the new engine will be introduced but for the time being it will be the proven older engines only.
One interesting new option on the Vito will be Airmatic air suspension, which can raise or lower the van ride height via a button, smoothing out the ride and making loading easier potentially.
The Intelligent Light System ILS is also available as an alternative to the halogen headlights. The pack encompasses LED indicators, daytime running lights and cornering headlights
Unfortunately the new Vito doesn’t get the excellent Mercedes Benz ‘family’ MBUX infotainment system that originated in Mercedes’ cars and is even used now in the larger Sprinterr van and also in Mercedes Benz heavy trucks.
Instead the new Vito gets the Audio 30 infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and integrated sat-nav as well as a new sharper 180-degree reversing camera, and Bluetooth interface with audio streaming and a USB interfaces for charging devices.
Buyers can choose from a host of new options including an expanded colour choice with metallic finishes extended plus hyacinth red metallic from Mercedes-Benz passenger cars steel blue.
There is also a range of new alloy wheels including: two 18-inch light-alloy rims – one with a 5-twin-spoke design in tremolite grey and one with a 5-spoke design in black along with a, 17-inch light-alloy wheel which also offers improved aerodynamics.
With an extensive list of variants and options Mercedes was understandably reticent to quote drive away pricing but. the manufacturers recommended list pricing for the entry level Vito 111start at $42,900 ranging up to $65,800 for the luxury Valente eight seat people mover.
We hope to have a full road test in coming weeks.