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Used Mercedes-Benz Vito review: 1998-2001

Along with the flood of imported passenger cars in the past decade or so has come a wave of imported light commercial vans.  With them is the Mercedes-Benz Vito, a semi-bonneted van that has delivered a new deal to long-suffering light commercial drivers, with a blend of comfort, safety, agility and performance.

MODEL WATCH

The Vito is a mid-sized one-tonne payload front-wheel-drive van. With its sloping bonnet and windscreen, and neat van proportions, the Vito is an attractive light commercial, one that presents your business well when out and about on the job.  Big grey plastic bumpers provided important protection for the front and rear, while wide rub strips protected the sides.

The SBV design provided occupant protection through front crumple zones and there was also a driver's airbag. Throw in disc brakes front and rear, independent suspension front and rear, and power-assisted rack and pinion steering, and you have an impressive primary safety package. Anti-lock braking, which came with traction control and electronic brake force distribution, enhanced the safety aspect.

Hop into the driver's seat and the advantages of the SBV design are immediately apparent. You simply slide into the seat, there's no climbing up over the wheel arch as you must in a COE van.

Inside, the Vito had a neat dash layout, lots of pockets to store the workday needs and a two-speaker sound system.  On the road the Vito was comfortable, another virtue of the SBV design, the ride supple and absorbent, the handling precise and balanced, the brakes powerful.

Power came from one of two engines at launch, one petrol and one diesel. The petrol engine was a double overhead cam 2.0-litre four-cylinder, which with fuel-injection put out 95kW at 5300revs, and 186Nm at 4500revs, and gave the Vito a decent amount of grunt.

The diesel was a 2.3-litre four-cylinder unit which delivered a modest 58kW at 3800revs, which was very economical if lacking legs.  The real change came in 1999 when Mercedes released a double overhead camshaft 2.2-litre common rail turbo diesel engine and transformed the Vito.

In 2001 it was joined by the 112 CDi which gave 90kW at 3800revs, and 300Nm at 2500revs, for even more zip. The Vito came in one size. It had a payload of 1.1 tonnes, a payload volume of 4.9cum, with load zone measuring 2300mm long, 1630mm wide and 1390mm high.

Tracks on the roof allow operators to fit roof racks for additional carrying capacity. Access to the work area was through a tailgate and sliding doors on both sides.  Airconditioning came standard on the 112 CDi, but was optional on other models.

IN THE SHOP

The Vito is a worker so it has to be checked for signs of hard work. Look at door hinges and latches for wear and looseness; the sliding door mechanisms have been known to fail completely. Also look for damage inside the load zone where poorly restrained loads have been allowed to slide around and bump into the body sides.

Mechanically, look for evidence of regular servicing. Dip the oil and look for contamination and sludge. Check the cooling system. The clutch can be a problem if the Vito is worked hard at close to full-load capacity, so look for signs of slippage.

Check the body work for signs of neglect such as bumps, scrapes and paint touch-ups. Also look for mismatched paint, uneven panel gaps and wobbly doors that might indicate a crash.

Generally the Vito is owned and operated by small business operators and tradesmen who often use it as family transport, so they tend to get better looked after than some fleet vehicles.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2001 $4,180 $7,700
2000 $4,180 $6,930
1999 $3,960 $7,810
1998 $3,960 $7,810

View all Mercedes-Benz Vito pricing and specifications

Pricing Guides

$5,885
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$3,960
Highest Price
$7,810

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
108D 2.3L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN $3,960 – 5,830 1998 Mercedes-Benz Vito 1998 108D Pricing and Specs
113 2.0L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $3,960 – 5,830 1998 Mercedes-Benz Vito 1998 113 Pricing and Specs
Flexivan 113 2.0L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $5,500 – 7,810 1998 Mercedes-Benz Vito 1998 Flexivan 113 Pricing and Specs
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$1,200

Lowest price, based on 4 car listings in the last 6 months

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