Active and passive safety
Achieving maximum levels of active and passive safety was given top priority during the integral development of the Viano and Vito. The new rear-wheel drive, for example, offers enhanced traction for all vehicle loads. The decision to mount the engines longitudinally opened up the possibility of further enhancing passive safety at the front end as early on as the design stage. Both Viano and Vito are equipped as standard with disc brakes all round (front: 300 mm x 28 mm internally ventilated, rear: 296 mm x 10 mm solid). The standard specification of all models also includes the ESP® dynamic handling control system, incorporating the ABS Anti-lock Braking System, ASR acceleration skid control, electronic brake force distribution and the hydraulic Brake Assist system.
All occupants are kept firmly strapped in their seats by three-point seat belts. Belt tensioners and belt force limiters are also standard for the driver and front passenger, as is a full-size airbag on the driver's side and, depending on the model variant, on the front passenger side too. In addition to this, the list of optional extras includes a twin-size airbag for the front passenger side and windowbags, while the new thorax sidebags are available in conjunction with the optional luxury seats.
The new design immediately gives away the characteristic Mercedes-Benz breeding of the new Viano and Vito. Compared to the models they replace, the side profile has taken on a noticeably more dynamic form. The headlamps, the radiator grille and the way in which the lines flow harmoniously from the bumper back to the front windscreen and blend smoothly into the side panelling are all unmistakable traits. At the rear of the vehicle, it is the vertical strips of large-sized taillights which really make the new models stand out.
The interior specification of the two new models is as refreshingly new as the exterior. Whereas the interior design of the Mercedes-Benz Vito is geared more towards the practical requirements of commercial applications, motorists looking for a little more luxury will find exactly what they are looking for in the Mercedes-Benz Viano.
The Mercedes-Benz Viano
Thanks to the exemplary ergonomics of the dashboard's design and the logical arrangement of all controls, drivers will instantly be able to find their way around the Viano. The dash-mounted selector lever or gearshift lever is ideally positioned, while the clear gauges and displays of the instrument cluster are placed within easy view of the driver. A multifunction steering wheel is available as an option, and is even fitted as standard on the AMBIENTE line. The generous standard specification can be supplemented to include further optional extras, such as leather-upholstered seats, auxiliary heating or one of the radio and navigation systems on offer.
The passenger compartment is fitted with an extremely practical rail system, whose 25-mm hole pattern allows for simple fitting, fore-and-aft adjustment and flexible repositioning of the individual seats and bench seats. In addition to this, both the individual seats and the segments of the bench seats can be folded flat or tilted fully forwards. The seats can be positioned to face in any direction, meaning that a vis-à-vis seating arrangement is also possible.
The range of design and equipment lines on offer - TREND, FUN and AMBIENTE - offers customers models which have been specifically geared towards either the needs of families, recreational activities or professional use. The MARCO POLO camper van, which is perfectly suited to daily use too, rounds off the Viano product range. The choice of models for either day-to-day driving, recreational use or luxury motoring combines with the different vehicle lengths which are available to produce a highly versatile product portfolio. Customers are also able to opt for one of the equipment packages entitled Business, Life and Bike, which feature a selection of practical optional extras for specific applications.
The Mercedes-Benz Vito
The Mercedes-Benz Vito model series is available in either a Panel Van version for transporting goods and materials, or as a Crewbus for commercial passenger transport or for mixed applications. These two variants are joined by the Vito Mixto which has been specifically designed for carrying up to six people plus large quantities of material at the same time.
The three vehicle lengths and two different roof heights which are available increase the load capacity to as much as 6.49 m³ (previously max. 4.8 m³), whilst allowing the Vito to carry loads up to 2 897 mm in length. The Panel Van's sliding doors are also large enough to allow Euro pallets, for example, to be loaded from the side by fork-lift truck. The load width between the wheel arches is 1 277 mm, allowing up to three Euro pallets to be loaded one behind the other.
The Crewbus models in the new Mercedes-Benz Vito range are also available in a choice of three vehicle lengths. This means they can carry up to eight passengers plus driver, with a luggage capacity of up to 970 litres. The pleasant ambience of the interior, the comfortable seats with integral three-point seat belts, the flexible seat adjustment plus a host of other features make the Mercedes-Benz Vito an ideal means of transport, no matter whether it's to be used as a shuttle bus for the most discerning of hotel guests or simply as an addition to an existing bus fleet.
The new Mercedes-Benz Viano and Mercedes-Benz Vito will make their respective public debuts at the International Caravan Salon in Düsseldorf (August 29 - September 7, 2003), the IAA in Frankfurt (September 13 - 21, 2003) and the RAI Commercial Vehicle Show in Amsterdam (October 17 - 25, 2003), with order books for both model series opening before then in mid-June. The Mercedes-Benz V-Class and the old Vito van will then be replaced successively in the markets, starting in autumn 2003. Production will take place at the DaimlerChrysler plant in Vitoria, Spain, where the manufacturing facilities have been practically doubled in size in preparation. A completely new body shop equipped with 550 state-of-the-art robots has been installed there, along with a new paint shop and a new assembly line. In parallel to this, a revolutionary quality management concept is now being practised at the plant.
(May 09, 2003)