2017 Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourer SELECT 116 CDI review

Mercedes Vito Tourer. What is it?

Visit the Mercedes-Benz car website and the only resemblance of a ‘van’ you’ll find is a luxurious V-Class people carrier, which sports a sumptuous interior on the same level as their higher-end cars. However, there’s a price to go with that luxury and if your budget doesn’t stretch to that – but you still want that three-pointed star on the front alongside the same hugely-roomy and versatile interior – what do you do? You check out its more affordable sibling – the Vito Tourer.

Exterior design

The new-generation Vito was launched in 2014, and its design still looks fresh three years on. It comes with a choice of two trim levels; Tourer PRO and Tourer SELECT, the PRO version being more a base model, with bare plastic exterior cladding and steel wheels. The type more suited to shuttling work crews onto site, perhaps.

If you’re buying for running your family about, I would personally go for the model I was sent; the SELECT. Styling-wise, this version comes with painted trim and nice-looking 16-inch alloy wheels. While it misses out on the larger alloys, different grille style and painted side mirrors of the more expensive V-Class, there’s no doubt that the Vito Tourer is still a stylish, smart people carrier and I did get a random passer-by comment from a rather well-to-do lady about how nice it looked. That says a lot in my book.

I was surprised by the number of optional paint colours available for the Vito – twelve in total – and the range is both tasteful and varying, with the usual white and black, plus a bright red, a good-looking blue, dark green, a few greys and a strangely-appealing metallic brown. The test vehicle Mercedes sent was in colour I always think looks good on any car; Flint grey (similar to a gunmetal), which also hides dirt and grime really well too.

 

On the practical side of things, I was actually very thankful for the unpainted side mirrors on the Vito, as I’d it for a family holiday in Devon, England. If you haven’t been to Devon, the roads are a maze of extremely narrow lanes with thick, high bushes at each side, with only the occasional passing place available.

Some roads are so narrow that you’re barely able to get down them, and this means the side mirrors are constantly subjected to the thicket whipping and lashing them, and your countenance will be one of sustained gritted-teeth in a perma-grimace as the whacking noises happen. I wouldn’t have liked to have seen the state of painted wing mirrors by the end of that holiday, that’s for sure.

Interior. Neat or nothing special?

Mercedes offer the Vito Tourer in three vehicle length options; Compact (4,895mm), Long (5,140mm), and Extra Long (5,370mm). All have eights seats, but you can spec a ninth by selecting the dual front co-driver seat option. Mercedes have been quite clever with how they offer room though, as you can remove the outer seats for more space, which came in very useful when we needed to load up the Vito for the holiday, and that extra room gave us just enough space for all the gear we had. Without that feature, I think we’d have had to leave some stuff at home which would have been a little annoying.

Slide behind the steering wheel of the Vito Tourer, and you’ll immediately notice just how high-up you’re sat. It’s a great view out over the other cars, and came in useful when I took it on more scenic routes, as we were able to see over the hedges next to the roads. The driver’s seat has notably good adjustment vertically and sliding, and also has an adjustable leg support, which works by raising or lowering the front of the seat with a hinge-type system.

The proof of how well you can adjust the driver’s seat was seen with one of the drivers for the trip, who is five feet tall and usually finds it hard to get a seating position that is both suitable for driving and vision while still being comfortable, but the Mercedes Vito passed that ‘test’ superbly, showing again what a versatile thing it is.

To add, the steering wheel helps too, as it adjusts up and down as well as telescopes outwards, making it incredibly easy to get a brilliantly comfortable driving position – this is absolutely vital if you’re doing a lot of distance driving. Further to that, the Vito Tourer comes standard with front adjustable armrests, which makes for additional relaxation.

Mercedes offers a multitude of options with the Tourer, and included on my test vehicle were driver and front passenger heated seats (£130.00 each), and power-adjustable lumbar support for the same (£95.00 each) for further comfort. I believe both of these are well worth adding, and they made a lot of difference over the hundreds of miles we travelled.

The seating in the rear is just as comfortable, with two rows of three individual, full-sized seats. These slide forwards and backwards to allow additional legroom for either row, and they also recline to a really good angle. The holiday trip was an eight-hour journey to the destination and around nine hours on the way back, plus all the travelling over the week we were there, but my passengers were absolutely happy for the entire time and praised the Vito Tourer for not only the seats but also the airy feel of the interior, and the ventilation system throughout which kept the air warm or cool when needed.

My passengers also enjoyed the huge panoramic-style windows and at the sides, which not only allow for superb viewing of the scenery but also add to the exceptional airy feel of the cabin. Tinted black glass on the rear windows (£450.00) not only keeps the heat of the sun off but they also provide great privacy too, which is nice should you want to sleep or relax without other drivers seeing in.

While the seats are removable, they are really rather heavy and cumbersome and while removal isn’t difficult, putting them back again is quite tricky, taking two people a good few minutes to do so. The rail system the seats are on have been cleverly utilised by Mercedes’ engineers, as you can use separate tie-down hooks which click into the rails wherever you need them.

As a motoring writer, I have to point out the flaws too of course, and unfortunately, the reclining/folding feature on the Vito’s central seat on the second row stopped working the first time I adjusted it. I had a quick look by removing a piece of trim, and it appeared to be something wrong with the release mechanism, which I fixed briefly but it stopped working again soon after. Another slight issue was that the entertainment system was slightly loose and rattled when driving on anything other than smooth roads.

Thirdly, the passenger-side rear sliding door also had a faint clunking noise coming from the rear of it, and I think that likely needed some adjustment. To be honest, these are probably things that a Mercedes dealership could fix quickly, and I can’t fault the Vito Tourer otherwise.

Its steering wheel (trimmed in optional leather at £140.00) has a luxurious, high quality feel to it with a thick diameter for comfort, as well as ergonomically-designed controls for the driver display on one side and buttons for the telephone and volume etc on the other side, and while some of the Tourer looks and feels basic (see next paragraph), the steering wheels adds that ‘Mercedes-Benz’ touch of luxury to it.

The Vito’s dash and centre console appear fairly basic and utilitarian, with hard plastics used widely, a previous-generation-looking entertainment system and any other switchgear being quite plain, but straightforward in their layout. However, you can use all the controls and the entertainment system and satellite navigation (which isn’t a touchscreen) with gloves on, which is always a big bonus if you’ve jumped in the car on a particularly cold morning.

My favourite feature on the Vito Tourer are the optional electric sliding side doors (£460.00 each). They open and close almost silently, and at the perfect speed too – not too slow or fast. You can open the kerb-side door from the key fob, but the driver also has controls for operating both doors separately, plus the passengers have a button next to each door to do the same. I found these particularly useful when it was raining heavily and my passengers wanted to drive straight inside from where they’d been sheltering from the storm.

There were two things I would definitely option on the Vito Tourer if I was buying one; the boot lid is huge, and while opening it is easy, myself and others found it somewhat difficult to get it click shut, and we almost always found you’d have to open it again slightly and slam it shut a second time to get it to clunk into place, so the optional powered tailgate would certainly be something I’d spec.

Secondly, the Vito Tourer is a large vehicle, and while vision is great out the side windows, I found reversing it into tight parking spaces somewhat awkward, as it’s hard to judge where the back of the vehicle is and a high window line means you can’t see low objects such as bollards etc. So personally, I would specify the reverse camera and – should you find parking stressful or difficult – the Active Parking Assist.

Safety is clearly important in the Vito, and Mercedes have given it a total of eight airbags – you can also option A to D pillar window airbags too – and a high-strength steel bodyshell, plus a multitude of electronic safety aids, which I’ll go into further down.

Interior Video Tour

Engine & transmission

Two turbo-diesel, four-cylinder engines with four power outputs are available with the Vito Tourer; a 1.6 litre producing 88 or 114bhp, or a 2.1 litre with 136, 163 horsepower. If you’re buying the Vito van, it adds a potent 190 bhp version too.

The model numbers and engines are a little confusing to get together, so here’s an explanation; 109 CDI = 1.6 litre with 88hp, 111 CDI = 1.6 with 114hp, 114 CDI = 2.1 litre with 136hp, 116 CDI = 2.1 with 163hp, and there’s the 119 CDI BlueTec with the 2.1 litre and 190hp.

The 109 CDI and 111 CDI are front-wheel-drive, while the rest are rear-wheel-drive. A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard, but the seven-speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS torque-convertor automatic is an option on the 114 and 116 CDI, and standard on the 119 BlueTec. The 2.1 featured twin-turbochargers. Never a bad thing.

As standard, the rear-drive Vito has Mercedes’ BlueEFFICIENCY package, which includes a stop/start system, a fuel-efficiency alternator which reduces strain and improves the fuel economy, and a smart alternator management which recharges the battery when coasting or braking.

My test vehicle was the 116 CDI with the optional automatic transmission (£1,430 extra), which produces 163hp at 3,800 rpm and 280 lb ft (380Nm) of max torque between 1,400 to 2,400 rpm. Fuel economy isn’t properly stated for the 116 CDI, but the V-Class with the same engine and transmission gives the UK mpg figures as Urban: 38.2, Extra urban: 49.6, Combined: 44.8.

C02 emissions are and 158 to 163 g/km. Zero to sixty-two mph is done in 10.8 seconds, with the max speed being 121 miles-per-hour.

My real-world fuel economy stats achieved were as follows; over 750 miles of driving on motorways, A and B roads, the Vito Tourer averaged an impressive 39.4 (UK) mpg, while a 343-mile journey (five passengers, stuffed to the roof with luggage and gear) on 90% motorways and 10% B-roads showed almost 42 mpg.

The Vito uses AdBlue, but over the course of the 750 miles I drove, the AdBlue started out with a little over 3/4 of a tank and was just under that at the end, so it barely used any. As a final point, it’s interesting to note that servicing on any of the Vito’s engines is only every 25,000 miles or two years. Impressive stuff.

On the road

Sit behind the wheel of the Vito Tourer, and you’re immediately aware of the commanding driving position. You’re sat high up, with excellent vision out of the front and side windows, the superbly-comfortable chunky steering wheel and big rpm and speedometer dials in front.

The gear selector for the automatic version is a stalk situated behind the right-hand side of the steering wheel. Pulling down on it puts the car into drive, pushing up selects reverse and a button on the end of the lever puts the Vito into park. It’s one of the easiest and most accessible selectors I’ve come across, and it’s really quite satisfying to use.

Firing the engine into life, I was genuinely surprised by the lack of four-pot diesel noise coming into the cabin. It’s actually a very smooth-sounding unit and the sound is very well muted and non-intrusive inside the car at idle. Pull the selector into drive, and the rear-wheel-drive Vito glides forward in an unexpectedly silky manner, with gear changes from the seven-speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS transmission being almost unnoticeable, save for the drop in revs as they do. The changes are void of any jerkiness or roughness and are instead polished, giving the Vito a drive more akin to a luxury saloon than a large people carrier.

Power and torque from the 2.1 turbo-diesel is delivered beautifully well, with plenty of low-down torque equating to a smooth ride in heavy city traffic, while the power takes you all the way to the rpm red line in a very un-diesel-like manner.

The gearbox changes up or down when you expect it to, in both light and heavy acceleration, and when using the paddle-shifters in manual mode it doesn’t over-nanny, allowing you taking it all the way to the top of the revs both accelerating and decelerating.

While the 0 – 62 mph time isn’t exactly warp-speed-fast at 10.8 seconds, I found the rolling, in-gear acceleration impresses, and when you need to get up to motorway speeds on slip-roads, overtake a slower-moving vehicle at higher speeds, or tackle a steep hill with a vehicle full of people and luggage, the 116 CDI Vito will do the job superbly well.

The three driving modes I actually found useful. Comfort for normal power and acceleration, ECO for a less responsive throttle (smoother for passengers too) and better economy, and manual for using the paddle shifters.

Road and wind noise is well-hushed, and this gave myself – as the driver – and my passengers the feeling that they are we were in something actually quite luxurious, and entirely un-van-like. While Mercedes have clearly done excellent work with the sound-deadening generally, the wind noise is also kept low because of the astonishingly-low aerodynamic co-efficient drag value of just 0.32 Cd. That’s incredibly low for something so large.

The Vito Tourer’s ride quality is also to be commended, as the suspension simply soaks up and vibration and harshness from potholes and generally bad roads, while almost gliding over the dreaded speed bumps. Its handling is better than I anticipated too, with body roll kept to respectable level while allowing you to maintain a decent pace on country road bends while keeping passengers happy.

Its electromechanical power assistance steering has a good feel too, with decently weighted feedback at higher speeds while providing a super-light feel at lower speeds, which I found perfect for tight town streets and parking manoeuvres. Talking of that, the Vito’s turning circle (11.8m) is very good and makes things easy for the aforementioned tight turns and parking.

Safety-wise, Mercedes have plied the Vito Tourer Select with a whole host of electronic aids including Sidewind Assist System (which acts to eliminate effect strong wind gusts have on the vehicle), tyre pressure monitor and indicator, adaptive ESP (electronic stability programme) with ASR, EBD, BAS PRO, CBC, EBP, ROM, RMI. Please visit this link to see what each of those mean, it’s actually very interesting. My test vehicle also had the optional Active Safety Package (£765.00) which includes Collision Prevention Assist, Blind Spot Assist and Lane Keeping Assist. It also achieved a five-star Euro NCAP rating too.

So, the Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourer drives and rides beyond my expectations, but there was one point that I think needs improvement and that is the braking. Both myself and another driver felt the brakes needed a more powerful and positive feel when we had a full load of luggage and passengers, as when tackling downhill sections or having to slow for roundabouts etc from higher speeds, the Vito just needed that extra bit of bite or strength to the brakes.

Other than that, I love the way the Vito Tourer 116 CDI drives, handles and goes, and I would absolutely drive one of these on a day-to-day basis as my own car.

Driving & Handling Video

Price

(Figures correct Oct. 2017) I’m dealing with prices for Tourer Select, as there are quite a few Vito variants and there are too many prices to list. The Tourer Select starts at £25,460 and tops out at £34,085. My test vehicle cost £30,065 as standard and just under £36,500 with options.

Becuase of that it’s perhaps a good idea to factor in a few thousand pounds extra if you want to a few options such as the heated front seats (£260.00), Becker Map Pilot satellite navigation (£235.00), automatic transmission (£1,430.00) and more from the exceptionally long list of options Mercedes offer with the Vito.

2017 Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourer SELECT 116 CDI Long

At the start of my week with the Vito Tourer, I imagined it was just going to be seven days with a van converted to a people carrier – basic and slightly dull, and perhaps just a poor cousin to the V-Class. However, it turned my thinking around almost from the moment I drove it, thanks to an unexpectedly refined ride and drive, with a cabin that – while not exactly luxurious – was roomy, airy and highly comfortable for both myself and the passengers.

Add to that the superb 116 CDI engine and 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic gearbox, alongside impressive fuel economy, and you’ve got a winning formula.

Do you own a Mercedes Vito Tourer, or have questions about this one? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below! 

Score

Exterior looks & design  7.5
Cabin space  9
Seating comfort  8
Cabin practicality  9
 Equipment level (as tested)  7.5
Ride quality  8.5
Handling  7
Power & Torque  8
Safety tech  8
 Fuel economy  9
 NVH levels (noise, vibration, harshness)  9
Overall score  8.0 / 10 

Specs

Model (as tested)  2017 Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourer Select 116 CDI Long
Standard spec includes  16″ alloy wheels, TEMPMATIC air conditioning system, automatic headlights, rain-sensing automatic windscreen wipers, lightly tinted (green) rear glass, electric adjustable & heated side mirrors, colour screen infotainment system with AM/FM, Aux-in, USB, iPod interface, Bluetooth for phone & audio. See website for full spec.
Safety Sidewind Assist System, tyre pressure monitor and indicator, adaptive ESP (electronic stability programme) with ASR, EBD, BAS PRO, CBC, EBP, ROM, RMI, Attention Assist drowsiness detection, hill-start assist. Airbags; driver’s, co-driver’s, window & thorax side airbags for same.
Price as tested  (correct October 2017) £30,065 | With options: £36,500 approx.
Engine  Diesel, 2.1 litres, 4-cylinders (in-line), 16-valves, twin-turbo, Euro 6
Power, Torque  Power: 163hp @ 3,800 rpm | Torque: 280 lb ft (380Nm) between 1,400 to 2,400 rpm
Drive, Gears (as tested)  Rear wheel drive | Seven-speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic
Towing capacity  Towing: 1,200 – 2,500 kgs depending on model & transmission
Top Speed, 0 – 60 mph, Euro NCAP  Max speed: 121 mph | 0 – 62 mph: 10.8 | Euro NCAP rating: 5/5 stars
Fuel economy (UK mpg), CO2  Urban: 38.2, Extra urban: 49.6, Combined: 44.8 | CO2: 158 – 163 g/km
Weight (kerb)  Unladen weight as tested (Long model): 2,240 kgs (4,938 lbs) – 2,392 kgs (5,273 lbs)
Websites  Mercedes-Benz vans UK, Mercedes-Benz vans worldwide

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies | Film: Chris Davies

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