The Mercedes Benz Vito Tourer has been around in South Africa for a long time. It serves both as a commercial vehicle and as a family one. The Tourer may be seen as an alternative for those who need the space and comfort but cannot afford its upmarket brother, the V-Class.
The Vito is dominated by hard plastics upfront but, it is functional and very much Mercedes-Benz like. The hard plastics speak to its commercial credentials but also mean that the car won’t break anytime soon. The layout is simple and practical. You’ll find a decently sized steering wheel with chrome finishes and steering controls. In the middle of the dash, there’s decently sized infotainment screen with a lot of buttons associated with Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. There are also storage spaces – on top of the dash, on either side of the infotainment screen to slot in a cell phone or other items, and a huge bin under the gear lever. The front passenger doors have storage compartments with bottle holders but are too low to access when driving. There are two cup holders on the dash and another two at the last row of seats.
For entertainment and connectivity, there’s Bluetooth, USB and Aux capability. There should be more USB ports though, especially at the back. It will assist with keeping everyone charged and entertained during family road trips. Two 12 volt outputs are however provided in the last row. That may be the solution for keeping everyone charged although some occupants may not have the necessary adapters to use these.
The interior is spacious and can comfortably seat 8 people. Despite all the seats being up, the car still has decent boot space. There is a little passage which allows the driver and the front passenger to access the back rows without leaving the car. That’s particularly useful if daddy quickly needs to attend to the little one in a car seat at the back. On the subject of car seat, all back seats have ISO-fix points.
Getting in and out of the back is relatively easy. Only the left side lifts up individually to allow those in the last rows to get in. The middle and right seat lift together. Unless both seats are up, it means passengers can easily access the vehicle on the left hand side. This does make sense as we are a right hand drive country and the vehicle will predominantly be accessed by passengers from the left if used as a shuttle. Passengers will enjoy the back as the large windows make the car appear airy and even more spacious than it actually is. The back windows even open electronically.
The boot is large with all the seats up but the storage space can be extended by removing all the back seats and instantly transforming the car into a large panel van. Speaking of practicality, as already mentioned, all seats can be removed or just one row can be removed. Seats can also be configured such that all passengers face each other. This makes the vehicle flexible as it can carry bikes, crew and tools.
Engine and drive
My test Tourer was the 119 2.2 CDI Tourer Select 140 kW with 440 Nm. Take off is decent although there is some turbo lag. Nothing that will bother an owner of a large diesel car as this comes with the territory. Nonetheless, the ride is comfortable although the Vito Tourer is a bit closer to the panel van it’s based on rather than the V-Class, which rides more car like. You will enjoy cruising around town and on the highways with the Tourer. It’s actually easy to manoeuvre notwithstanding its size. The front and back PDC is extremely helpful but a camera would be great, especially at the back.
We drove from Gauteng to KwaZulu-Natal in the Tourer. It felt comfortable throughout the trip. I enjoyed driving and being driven in the car. The car was not rattled by the atrocious provincial roads in KwaZulu-Natal. The stretch between Dundee and Vryheid needs divine intervention. It’s a danger to vehicles and motorists. This almost took away from our trip. I stopped three times to check that the potholes had not taken out the tyres. Fortunately, the large tyres of the Tourer saved the day.
The Vito Tourer range is priced from R618.470. It is worth considering if you have a large family or a shuttle business. Having spent time in the V-Class, it is worth noting that although the Tourer doesn’t have the bells whistles of the V-Class, it is more than adequate. It feels good to drive and still has the brand prowess of Mercedes-Benz.
Leave a comment