Sometimes there’s just no substitute for space and the Mercedes Vito Tourer is a car for precisely those occasions. It’s the eight-seater minibus version of the new Mercedes Vito van that arrives in the UK in April to tackle the likes of Vauxhall’s Vivaro and Ford’s Transit Custom.
The Vito Tourer rolls off the same production line in Vitoria, northern Spain, as the Vito van but also as the V-Class MPV from the Mercedes passenger car range. A quick scout around the interior reveals that it’s more closely aligned with the van than the luxurious V-Class. Sturdy scuff-proof plastics take the place of wood, leather and glinting chrome.
Don’t write the Tourer off as an uncouth workhorse destined for the airport taxi rank though. This is a Mercedes-Benz and its quality of fit and finish along with the available technology still suggest it’s a notch or two above van-based rivals like the Peugeot Expert Tepee or even Volkswagen’s Transporter Shuttle.
The Touer, like the panel van and the five-seater Crew van versions of the Vito, is offered with two engines. The entry-level 1.6-litre diesel unit is sourced from Renault and powers the cheaper front-wheel-drive models with outputs of 87bhp or 113bhp. Far better are the 2.2-litre twin-turbo, rear-wheel-drive versions, which come packing 134bhp, 161bhp or 188bhp.
The RWD layout brings greater composure and a usefully tighter turning circle to an already smooth-riding and comfortable vehicle. Meanwhile the 161bhp 116 CDI model we tried had enough pull for effortless motorway travel and achieves 49.6mpg with the optional BlueEfficiency pack fitted.
The electromechanical steering is well weighted but lacks feel, though in general the Tourer does a fine job of making you forget its commercial vehicle origins on the road.
The seats in the Tourer don't flip and spin like an MPVs but they can be lifted out (if you're feeling strong), returning the Vito to van mode. The higher spec models get seats mounted on rails that can slide around to bring extra versatility to the cabin. There's also the option of six and seven-seat configurations for the Vito and even a 'luxury bunk' option that transforms one of the seating rows into a 2m long bed.
UK prices and specifications have yet to be announced but expect a starting point under £30,000 when the Tourer arrives in April. That’s not bad for something with room for eight adults plus luggage, van or otherwise.
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