Van fans in South Africa will be pleased to know that Mercedes-Benz launched the new third generation Vito in South Africa this week.We attended the launch at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria to take the new Vito for a drive!
What’s New?For starters, the Vito lineup has changed somewhat. There’s the panel van version which is suited for business use. Then there’s the ‘Jack of all trades’ Mixto variant which offers loading space and a row of rear seats making it a dual purpose vehicle. The third variant is the Tourer version available with two derivatives namely the Tourer PRO and the more premium Tourer SELECT and both are more geared towards transporting people, whether in a family or commercial setting. The entry level Vito panel van is also offered in both front and rear wheel-drive layout, depending on the engine, and the payload has increased by 120kg to 1 344 kg.
On the engine front, the new Vito 111 CDI is fitted with an 84 kW 1.6-litre engine across all three variants. For those looking for more power, the Vito is also offered with a 2.2-litre CDI engine with three varying power outputs including the Vito 114 CDI with 100 kW, the Vito 116 CDI with 120 kW and the Vito 119 BlueTEC with 140 kW.
A six-speed manual is fitted as standard and there is a 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission available as an option on the Vito 114 CDI and the Vito 116 CDI. The 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission is however fitted as standard on the top-spec Vito 119 CDI Tourer SELECT.
Furthermore, Mercedes-Benz offers the BlueEFFICIENCY package as an option and is standard on the Vito 116 CDI and Vito 119 CDI Tourer models fitted with an automatic transmission. The new Vito is well equipped in terms of safety and features technology such as Crosswind Assist, Attention Assist and adaptive ESP.
On the inside, the Vito has been redesigned to improve ergonomics. Hard-wearing plastic is the main material used and there are handy stowage compartments moulded into the dashboard for everyday items like paperwork, pens and whatever else you need to store. The centre stack is very large and vertical, much like Table Mountain, and houses the radio and air conditioning controls and there’s a USB and Auxiliary port for charging devices.
How does the new Vito drive?Our first drive was in the Vito 116 CDI Tourer Pro. The seating position perches the driver high above the road which improves visibility and the ride and handling was surprisingly good taking the size of the vehicle into consideration. The 6-speed manual was relatively smooth in shifting through gears and with 120 kW, this model had no problem keeping up with the humdrum of traffic. Rear visibility was however compromised by the rear seat headrests blocking the view. In our brief drive in the Vito 116 CDI Tourer, the trip computer returned an average fuel consumption figure of 9.7L/100km.
We also gave the Vito Mixto 111 CDI a go, and with only 84 kW on tap, it performed quite admirably. Again, the 6-speed manual did a good job and never felt jerky. Performance is a tad woeful below 2 000rpm, but once the 111 CDI gets up to speed it livens up somewhat. The ride quality was good and this Vito felt like it could be thrown around a bit without too much fuss. The Mixto easily returned an average consumption figure of 6.2L/100km.
Lastly, we had a chance to sample the Vito 116 BlueEFFICIENCY Tourer Select fitted with the 7G-TRONIC automatic transmission. Being a high-spec model, niceties such as cruise control and mounted steering wheel controls were present. Although some lag was evident, the automatic transmission performed reasonably well, with only slight hesitation under hard acceleration. The claimed fuel consumption for this model is 5.7L/100km and our trip computer returned an average of 8.3L/100km on our run.
Buyers will also be happy to know that service intervals have been extended to 40 000km or two years across the Vito range and service plans have also been extended to 5-years/120 000km (previously 5-year/90 000km).
We will hopefully have the new Vito on test soon to give it a thorough evaluation, so stay tuned!
Mercedes-Benz Vito Price in South Africa111 CDI Panel Van - R372 780
114 CDI Panel Van - R409 830
116 CDI Panel Van - R443 460
111 CDI Mixto - R443 460
116 CDI Mixto - R556 320
111 CDI Tourer PRO - R516 272
114 CDI Tourer PRO - R540 314
116 CDI Tourer PRO - R572 348
116 CDI Tourer Select -R676 088
119 CDI Tourer Select -R744 386