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22 Jul 20

Test drive Mercedes-Benz eVito Tourer 2020: leap into the future

The Vito and Vito Tourer get a midlife-rejuvenation treatment that includes an upgraded cockpit, the integration of an adaptive cruise control and, above all, the electric powertrain of the EQV. Fleet Europe went to Stuttgart to get behind the wheel of this important newcomer.

The days when vans were rudimentary, uncomfortable, noisy vehicles with the streamline of a sea container are behind us. The past five years they have become almost as comfortable – and connected – as passenger cars, especially in the case of the Mercedes-Benz Vito.

The Star now takes the renewed Vito even one step further. A new feature at the heart of the dashboard, which unlike the luxurious V-Class is not of the digital MBUX type, is the 7-inch touch-screen with smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay. With the Audio 40 system, the integrated navigation system can also be operated via the screen. In combination with Mercedes PRO connect, navigation with "Live-Traffic-Information" is possible for the first time in the Vito. In the case of the Audio 30 and Audio 40, the display now also shows digital images from the 180° rear view camera for added reversing safety.

Another new feature is the integration of eCall - the standard emergency call system that automatically alerts the emergency services in the event of a collision if the occupants do not react to the phone operator. In the event of a breakdown, the driver can also request technical assistance by pressing the help button in the roof console. The location is automatically transmitted to the service centre.

Thank you, EQV

The brand new eVito Tourer borrows its drivetrain from the EQV. Due to its relatively lush finish and durable construction, this is not a featherweight, but the 150kW (204hp) electric motor has no problem providing pleasant acceleration. That is of course not what it was built for in the first place. In Tourer livery (people carrier) it is mainly aimed at taxi companies and shuttle services, which, thanks to its 100 kWh battery (90 kWh of which are usable), should be able to travel some 355 km under WLTP measurement conditions. What a difference with the eVito of the first generation...

Heavy loads and high speeds are of course detrimental to the driving range. As far as the former is concerned, we were unable to test the impact of some extra kilos - we were the sole occupant. However, we did drive on the motorway for a third of our test and did not spare the accelerator for the remaining kilometres while accelerating. At 120 km/h we saw the efficiency indicator stabilise around 35 kWh/100 km. Over the whole route we ended up at 27 kWh/100, which is barely higher than the official figure Mercedes-Benz puts forward (26.2 kWh).

That's a good result given the size of this vehicle. The intelligent brake energy recovery can take credit for this. Indeed, you can use the radar sensors to automatically and proactively decelerate the vehicle and recuperate a maximum amount of energy.

Airmatic and Distronic

Also new in the Vito is the optional Airmatic suspension. It will only be available in November but will undoubtedly raise the driving comfort to unseen heights. Not that the standard suspension gives reason to complain, but professional drivers who are confronted with ever worse roads on a daily basis will undoubtedly be happy to pay the extra price.

When the Vito with Airmatic reaches a speed of 110 km/h, it automatically lowers itself by 10 millimetres to optimise fuel consumption. In the Sport-driving programme the vehicle drops by 10 millimetres regardless of speed. The pneumatic level control is fully automatic and active regardless of load. This also ensures significantly greater driving stability when towing a trailer, Mercedes-Benz assures.

Also worth considering is the new Active Brake Assist (called AEB generically), which can detect when there is a risk of a collision with a car in front, after which a visual and acoustic warning signal is given. If the driver reacts to this, the assistant builds up the right brake pressure. If the driver does not react, the system assists with active braking manoeuvres. In urban traffic, the active brake assistant can also react to stationary obstacles or pedestrians crossing the road. In addition, the Vito is now also available with Distronic, i.e. an adaptive cruise control that automatically maintains the set distance to a car in front, making driving on the motorway and in town more comfortable and safer.

After this brief introduction, we can only conclude that Mercedes-Benz is once again setting new standards and maintaining its lead over its competitors. Driving a Vito isn't a punishment, on the contrary. Its comfort, versatility, safety and durability put it above its van status, especially in the case of the eVito, which, with its electric range of 300 km, is perfect for many applications. Its success will depend on its price, which has not yet been announced, but will probably approach €50,000 excluding VAT.

Picture copyright: Mercedes-Benz, 2020

 

Authored by: Dieter Quartier