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Mercedes-Benz Vito 116CDI 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
7
Chris Riley road tests and reviews the Mercedes-Benz Vito 116CDI with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

Chris Riley road tests and reviews the Mercedes-Benz Vito 116CDI with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

As a luxury car maker, Benz cops a bit of stick for building commercial vehicles.

But if you're in the market for one, you'll probably regard the badge as a big plus, particularly the associated five-star safety rating.

Sitting long and low, with a steeply raked windscreen, the Vito cuts a distinctive profile and there's a large three-pointed star on the nose.

It has all the bases covered, coming in single or dual cab form, short or long wheelbase and front or rear-wheel drive. The latter endows more manoeuvrability and a higher payload.

The diesels start with a 1.6-litre manual and there is a 2.1-litre in three stages of tune. Our test vehicle, the long wheelbase 116CDI, gets the 2.1 with 120kW/380Nm.

It's teamed with a smooth changing seven-speed auto — with, believe it or not, paddle-shifters — and there is engine auto-stop to save fuel.

The gear stick itself is a column-shifter while the parking brake is foot-operated, with a hand release.

The auto works well with the diesel and it's no slouch out of the blocks.

Our test vehicle was a two-seater but the single passenger seat can be replaced with a two-seat bench for $690. The seats are a little firm and could become uncomfortable on long trips, though around town posed no problems.

With separate front seats you can walk through to the back. Otherwise access is via sliding side doors or a lift tailgate (barn doors add $715).

For a van it's pretty well equipped, with such features as auto lights and attention assist to monitor tiredness suggests it helps the driver maintain stability in stronge crosswinds which tend to buffet slab-sided vans, and kicks in automatically over 80km/h.

And, just like a Benz car, there are plenty of options, among them a $1600 driver assist package that includes forward collision prevention, blind spot assist and lane keeping assist. Professional Becker satnav is $900 while Active Park Assist adds $1230.

On the road

At almost 5.4 metres long, it's no shrinking violet and the dimensions demand caution — allow plenty of room in corners and have a good look before changing lanes.

A window in the tailgate gives decent rearward vision but, with no side windows, you need to rely on your mirrors (blind spot alert is fitted).

The steering feels light and car-like.

Parking, always a challenge in these things, is greatly assisted by the standard reverse camera with guidelines.

The auto works well with the diesel and it's no slouch out of the blocks, with strong mid-range response for overtaking.

But the column-mounted gear selector, with a button on the end for park, is a bit fiddly. You'll only need the paddle-shifters with a big load when greater control is required.

The steering feels light and car-like.

On the motorway, the van has long legs and slips into top gear at a relaxed 1800rpm.

Blind spot alert is handy around town but more so when it comes to changing lanes in the fast pace of the motorway.

Claimed fuel consumption, at 6.0L/100m, could be a tad optimistic.

The computer in our test vehicle was showing 10.2L after 900km, but then diesels don't produce their best until they've hit 10,000km and ours had hardly been run in.

Stopping to fill up revealed the van also requires AdBlue, an additive designed to remove harmful nitrogen oxides from the exhaust.

Benz reckons it should use 1.0L-1.5L of the additive every 1000km, varying according to conditions and the way you drive. The good news is it supplies the stuff free, under warranty or as part of a maintenance plan.

We were a bit surprised to find no bulkhead separating the cabin from the cargo area, the cause for concern in the event of an accident. A $590 option, it will also make it easier to warm or keep the cabin cool, not to mention reduce the echo effect when it's empty.

Some side panelling is fitted in the rear while our test vehicle had an optional $690 wooden floor, with six tie down points to stop loads from moving around.

With 1270mm between the wheel arches and a load area that's 3061mm long, the long wheelbase version can carry up to 1110kg and should easily fit a couple of pallets.

The audio is a two-speaker job. There is a 5.8-inch screen, AUX and USB ports, plus Bluetooth with audio streaming — this last item is important because it misses out on a CD player.

Verdict

It does what it does well, with solid engineering, strong performance and the added advantage of rear-wheel drive.

For any van, though, try it on for size and pay special attention to the seating and driving position.

Would the Vito suit your commercial van needs? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 Mercedes-Benz Vito pricing and spec info.

Pricing Guides

$32,490
Based on 38 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$23,950
Highest Price
$39,888

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
110CDI LWB 1.6L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $28,880 – 29,999 2016 Mercedes-Benz Vito 2016 110CDI LWB Pricing and Specs
110CDI SWB 1.6L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $27,988 – 29,990 2016 Mercedes-Benz Vito 2016 110CDI SWB Pricing and Specs
114 Bluetec Crew Cab 2.1L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $33,660 – 40,040 2016 Mercedes-Benz Vito 2016 114 Bluetec Crew Cab Pricing and Specs
114 Bluetec LWB 2.1L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $30,950 – 36,950 2016 Mercedes-Benz Vito 2016 114 Bluetec LWB Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7