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Mercedes-Benz Valente 2015 review

EXPERT RATING
7
James Stanford road tests and reviews the Mercedes-Benz Valente with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Meet the new Mercedes-Benz that seats eight people and costs less than a C-Class.

It is called the Valente and is $56,380, which is a sharp price for such a practical machine with a Benz badge on the nose.

The reason it is so relatively affordable is that the Valente has working-class roots and is based on the all-new Vito van, so don't expect S-Class levels of refinement.

The Valente is really big

It shouldn't be confused with the Mercedes V-Class people-mover, which is also based on the Vito platform but has a cabin decked out like a luxury Mercedes and costs $85,500.

The Valente is really big, it has eight full adult-size seats and the rear six are all equal width, with no sneaky narrow middle seats fitted to bolster numbers.

Even with all the seats in place, there is still a vast amount of bootspace at the back and it could easily swallow multiple prams and scooters while leaving plenty of legroom for all the other passengers.

Given its position as a people-mover, the Valente has been decked out with the latest generation electronic stability control. There are driver and passenger airbags and the side curtain bags cover all three rows of seats.

Mercedes has not included a reversing camera as standard, which is absurd for any people-mover, let alone one at this price. Several cars costing less than $20,000 come standard with reversing camera.

As an option, the reversing camera adds $900. That is not cheap but it is less than metallic paint — which costs $1490.

You can load up the Valente with some quite advanced safety gear such as radar collision avoidance, blind spot assist, lane departure warning and so on, but they are bundled into different packages and are not cheap.

Active LED lights, self-parking and satnav are also optional.

Dual manual sliding doors are standard. All the test vehicles at the recent launch had optional electric sliding doors that add $2490.

It has a manual opening rear hatch, which is closed using a basic vinyl hoop instead of a sensible grab handle. This means you have to touch the outside of the hatch, which is likely to be grimy.

There is enough grunt to handle a big family and a load of gear

Each row has vents for the climate control aircon as well as storage cubbies, lights and hooks. The seats slide forward or back, the backrests fold down and each can be tumbled forward (when unoccupied).

On the road 

The 2.1-litre turbo diesel powering the rear wheels is super clean, meeting the next generation Euro VI emission standard.

It's also very strong, especially when compared with some family haulers. It isn't as refined as a diesel passenger car but it isn't awful, just a bit gruff when pressed.

There is enough grunt to handle a big family and a load of gear, while it can also tow up to 2500kg. The claimed thirst of just 6.3L/100km is also excellent given its size.

You never forget you are in something that has been designed as a commercial vehicle

The seven-speed auto works so well that you just don't notice it. You can control it using paddles on the steering wheel, but don't kid yourself that this will ever lead to a sporty drive.

A new electrically assisted setup, the power steering is very light and requires little force to navigate through tight shopping centres and the like.

The Valente has a lot going for it but you never forget you are in something that has been designed as a commercial vehicle. The simple dashboard is quite plain and made from hard plastic, there are no useful cup-holders and no centre console between the driver and passenger (it is left bare for an optional ninth seat).

It has a small 5.8-inch colour information screen. This is not a touch screen and you have to select items with a small dial — and that gets annoying, fast.

The Valente gets less insulation than a Benz passenger car, so the tyre noise and road noise levels are high-ish. Of course, three, four or more child passengers are likely to make far more noise anyway.

All up, the Valente is well worth a look if you want a genuine large people-mover, especially if you like to drive something from Europe.

Be prepared to spend extra for the reversing camera and power sliding doors options. Those with a bit more cash should consider the more advanced safety gear such as LED headlights and radar collision prevention.

Verdict

The Valente is one of the most practical people-movers on the road and makes some of the smaller vans, such as the Honda Odyssey, feel a bit cramped.

It is simply massive, so it is great from that perspective, but it is not so refined and doesn't get a reversing camera as standard.

It also has a three-pointed star on the nose, which doesn't hurt one bit.

Pricing Guides

$37,990
Based on 8 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$31,990
Highest Price
$37,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 2.1L, Diesel, 5 SP AUTO $31,990 – 37,990 2015 Mercedes-Benz Valente 2015 (base) Pricing and Specs
116 Bluetec 2.1L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $34,870 – 41,470 2015 Mercedes-Benz Valente 2015 116 Bluetec Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Pricing Guide

$29,990

Lowest price, based on 8 car listings in the last 6 months

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