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Vito Touerer ideal for tours but be mindful of hard plastics everywhere

IF THE Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourer model is your oyster, then eSwatini-new name should be your next choice of destination to be added on your bucket list when pondering an Africa tour.

Vito Touerer ideal for tours but be mindful of hard plastics everywhere

Despite difficult to assess the aesthetics and punted as work van to some, the Vito is still synonymous with the Mercedes family grille.

IF THE Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourer model is your oyster, then eSwatini-new name should be your next choice of destination to be added on your bucket list when pondering an Africa tour.

Having launched in SA way back as 2015, the Vito Tourer we tested was a popular hit with locals in Mbabane, et al- as we visited the Kingdom for the annual MTN Bushfire. Lit and epic are best suited superlatives to describe the experience, a first amongst my crew.

Despite difficult to assess the aesthetics and punted as work van to some, the Vito is still synonymous with the Mercedes family grille, large three-pointed star and massive headlamps, while the side and rear section are typically squared-off and simple. It comes with 3200mm wheelbase long version.

The loading deck is at knee level so it’s easy to load or for passengers to get in and out; the rear passenger seats move back and forward through a wide range so luggage volume can remain substantial while everyone has plenty of leg room; there’s enough head space for the tallest passengers; one or both rows can be removed completely to expand load area (as we did) and the makers threw in eight lashing rings.

Having packed anything from tents equipments to camping chairs, umbrellas, of which only chairs were used- don’t ask… it came in handy.

Yes, it’s a complete world from the V-Class.

With its sister brand V-Class a hit with SA market-the Vito drew attention from unknowns and some even enquiring about its performance, safety and diesel, etc. Err, senor S’busiso Mkwanazi I shall await my commission or kanjani?

In terms of quality the Vito is meant to be a hard-wearing tool so there are hard plastics everywhere with the occasional niceties such as cruise control or an infotainment system, dependent on which model you have gone for.

The Tourer model, which comes in “Pro” and “Selecttrim and is aimed at providing family transport that can be customised to each individual family, as the traveling crew of three experienced.

The front-wheel-drive, known as the Vito 111 CDI, comes with an 84kW/270Nm 1.6-litre turbo diesel motor and a six speed manual gearbox, which I have to say, was a big let-down, as we ascended the Kingdom’s valleys’, mountains and hills clogging 100km/h: 11.5 seconds.

The benefit of a diesel Vito, especially for business owners, is the 40 000km service interval of an engine, including other variants.

Other clues to its workhorse origins are the multitude of storage spaces scattered throughout – big door bins and cubby, lots of cup holders, three document stashes on top of the dash, little boxes in door panels, gaps under the seats and an open tray below the six-speed manual shift lever. Then there’s the fact that it’s fitted with reversing beepers (excellent) but no camera (unfortunate, because this ‘van’ is gigantic).

On tour in a tourer en route to eSwatini. Image SLM

With fuel increase last night in SA, it may be impossible to use the same full tank (diesel) en route to eSwatini and only refilling at Mbabane as we made our way back on Monday.

This means fuel in other SADC States is cheaper than SA, aaih.

Mercedez Bens Vans are born to run and tour- agree?

All Vito models come with a five-year /120 000km service plan.

Recommended retail price range from R 618 470 (vat incl).

 

Verdict:

Performance 1-10 (5)

Diesel 1-10 (7)

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