When 7 seats just aren’t enough and you can’t afford for all of your boot space to be compromised with two of said seats, it’s time to think big.
Say hello to the Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourer, then. Ok, it’s not that big: it only provides one extra seat over the multitude of 7-seat SUVs/MPVs out there, but the room afforded to each occupant coupled with the remaining cargo area when it’s stuffed full of people sets it apart from said 7-seaters.
It’s probably not escaped your attention that the Vito Tourer is based on a van. We think it’s quite a sleek, attractive van, but nonetheless, still a van. The essentially square shape that the van genre tend to come in is what makes he Vito Tourer so user-friendly, though; wherever you sit you’re guaranteed loads of headroom.
The whole van thing also means the seats’ positions are infinitely adjustable on slide rails, or can even be completely removed for maximum load-lugging ability. Large, sliding side doors (in this case electric) also mean that whatever you decide to carry around in your Vito Tourer can be put in or taken out with ease. Or it could always walk in and out if it’s got legs.
Does it drive like a van, though?
So, the Vito Tourer brings all the practicality of a van to the party, but what’s it like to drive?, I hear you ask. There’s a few diesel engines in the range, with outputs starting at 88bhp and finishing at the 190bhp 119 BlueTec engined models such as this one. What that equates to is some pretty nifty performance, especially with an empty load, in fact it’ll get from 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds and it doesn’t feel overly stressed when it’s full.
As with many light commercial vehicles, though, it differs from everyday cars in that the driven wheels move from the front to the rear as power increases. There is a certain amount of transmission shunt as the power works its way down the line from engine to wheels, but the 7-speed auto box smooths things out well, even if the flappy paddles feel a touch unnecessary.
King of the road
The driving position is high, but then it kind of has to be in vehicles of this nature, especially when you’ve got what must be The World’s widest set of A-pillars to negotiate. Where the Vito Tourer feels distinctly more domestic than industrial is the sweeping space between driver and windscreen, with a very un-white-van-man, deep dashboard. Just don’t be tempted to garnish it with tabloid newspapers.
One note of point; if you’re planning on using cruise control or the speed limiter at any point, make sure you familiarise yourself with the control stick before you set off as, unless you happen to be going around an incredibly severe motorway bend it’s totally hidden under the nearside steering-wheel spoke.
It’s important to remember that, ultimately, the Vito Tourer is based on a van, no matter how refined (and in the case of this one – fast) it is. That doesn’t have to be a negative, though; the basic shape makes it a doddle to park and it’s absolutely stuffed full of space.
By Ben Harrington
Specifications; Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourer 119 BlueTEC, Engine – 2.1l four-cylinder diesel, Transmission – 7 speed auto, Layout – Front engine, RWD, Power – 190bhp, Torque – 440Nm, Emissions – 163g/km CO2, Economy – 45.6mpg combined, Maximum Speed – 114 mph, Acceleration – 9.2s 0-62mph, Price – £31,615 OTR, £38,333 as tested
The Vito Tourer is available now. For full details go to; www.mbvans.co.uk