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USED REVIEW | A 2019 Mercedes Vito still gets the job done

17 March 2021 - 10:26 By brenwin naidu
The Tourer Pro makes no pretence at disguising its commercial-orientated persona.
The Tourer Pro makes no pretence at disguising its commercial-orientated persona.
Image: Supplied

Mercedes-Benz is a little more diverse than its two direct German competitors. In addition to covering the luxury and performance beats, its tentacles stretch to the commercial sectors of the market too.

This morning alone, you probably saw more than one large truck with the three-pointed star trundling down the freeway, hauling a huge trailer.

A dedicated Mercedes-Benz Vans division specialises in, well, the area of vans. That means the Sprinter, a popular nameplate in the transportation industry, plus the Vito. This is the less glamorous, overall-wearing sibling of the V-Class.

The current W447 designation Vito was launched on local shores in 2015. It can be had in three formats. First, as a dedicated panel van. Or, in Mixto set-up, which offers one row of rear seats, leaving the end quarter open for storage. The Tourer Pro and Select variants are made for the task of moving people.

Pre-owned prospects seem to represent excellent value, making the model an appealing consideration for business owners and private customers alike. We spent the last week with a 2019 116 CDI Tourer Pro example, with slightly more than 20,000km on the odometer.

Fabric upholstery still looked perfect after 20,000km worth of use.
Fabric upholstery still looked perfect after 20,000km worth of use.
Image: Supplied

Its fabric upholstery still looked perfect – and whiffs of that distinctive new car aroma could still be smelled. A nine-seater configuration is available, with each row boasting three individual seats, but our tester omitted this extra chair in the front-centre. Still, seven open pews (excluding driver) would be enough for any family or hotel shuttle service.

In appearance, the Tourer Pro makes no pretence at disguising its commercial-orientated persona. It wears it like a badge of honour, with simple plastic bumpers and trim pieces, hubcaps instead of alloy wheels and basic halogen lights.

The cabin is equally devoid of frills, from the urethane steering wheel to the old-school footbrake. Even still, the Mercedes-Benz approach to build quality is clearly evident. It does feel robust and well-assembled – these vehicles were made to rack-up the mileage without breaking a sweat. In terms of features, you get Bluetooth connectivity, a USB and auxiliary audio port, air-conditioning, central locking, cruise control and a multifunction steering wheel. The necessities, in other words.

Expect to pay about R853,859 for a showroom-fresh example. Our clean two-year-old model? That can be had for R585,746, a saving of R268,113.

And it comes with all the expected assurances, as well as the balance of its five-year/100,000km service plan in addition to a two-year/unlimited mileage warranty.

A mule of this nature needs a good heart. Motivation for the Vito comes from a rather stout 2.1-litre, turbocharged-diesel unit with four cylinders. You will even find it serving in the more sophisticated offerings within the Mercedes-Benz passenger cars stable.

The stout diesel engine is rated at 120kW and 380Nm.
The stout diesel engine is rated at 120kW and 380Nm.
Image: Supplied

Here, output is rated at 120kW and 380Nm, shifted via a seven-speed automatic and with drive sent to the rear wheels. It is a fine pairing, with plenty of grunt for confident overtaking and low-down torque to keep the momentum up around town.

In town conditions, the driver does need to remain mindful of its length and girth. More so when parking, as our unit lacked any form of park distance control. On an errand in the city, it was all down to dexterity and skill to execute parallel parking in the large Benz without incident.

While we are addressing downsides, one of the most significant drawbacks of vehicles of this ilk is a tendency to rattle. There are so many little fixtures in the rear section, prone to squeaking, shuddering, clicking and clapping, as the vehicle moves along. This kind of thing is not endemic to the Vito – you will notice it in pretty much any of its peers.

That's nothing, however, that good music and conversation among passengers could not drown out. After our first commute in the Vito, the family was just about ready to hit the N1 down to the coast. If a R500,000-plus asking price is too dear, a quick search on a popular pre-owned classifieds website revealed options requiring even less outlay. We found a 2017 111 CDI Mixto manual with 112,000km for R319,000.

A 116 CDI Tourer Pro automatic like our tester, but with slightly higher mileage (33,000km) and older in age (2017), could be had for R419,950.

*Test vehicle supplied by Motus Pre-owned.