2013 Mercedes-Benz Viano Review and Road Test | CarShowroom.com.au

28 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2013 Mercedes-Benz Viano Review and Road Test | CarShowroom.com.au
Mercedes-Benz Viano

2013 Mercedes-Benz Viano Review and Road Test

OUR VERDICT: 4 PRICE RANGE: $78,990* PROS: Surprisingly maneuverable; hallmark ‘Benz quality; staggering ability/practicality CONS: Needs a seven-speed auto; centre console and extra ‘odds–ends’ missing; muscle-up to move 3rd row Safety Rating: N/A Green Rating: Fuel Consumption: 12.5L/100km Write your own review

The late Arthur Beetson, star of the Sydney Roosters and Queensland State of Origin rugby league teams was size XXL at his thinnest and once said: “In Japan they worship bodies like mine.” ‘Big Artie’ knew how to use his size to good effect just like Mercedes-Benz’ wonderful Viano van.

Fact is large families, hotel and airport limousine drivers worship the Viano for its size, toughness and hallmark Mercedes-Benz stylish luxury. Sure there are other luxury vans around – but they’re smaller, less powerful, not as dynamic to drive and they don’t wear the ‘Three-Pointed Star’.

So while the analysts and number-crunchers can talk all they want about new car buyers ‘downsizing#039;, there will always be a place for large vans because for many, these vehicles deliver like nothing else can. A point of view endorsed by the family guys here at Car Showroom.

Mercedes-Benz Viano Overview

We’ve just spent a week – including a long weekend in the most popular eight-seat Mercedes-Benz Viano. You can also get a six-seat luxury version with the second and third rows each containing two individual ‘Captain’s Chair’ seats and, to be honest, we can’t think of a better vehicle for VIP hotel/airport shuttles.

Equally, the eight-seat Mercedes-Benz Viano we tested makes an ideal vehicle for families or those commercial operators keen on ‘maxing-out’ the seating capacity as opposed to ‘maxing-out’ the pampering

Hugely spacious inside and significantly affording plenty of cargo space even when all seats are occupied, powered by a powerful V6 turbo-diesel engine and equipped with the obvious luxury demanded by Mercedes-Benz buyers, the Viano remains the benchmark vehicle for luxury people movers.

And here’s proof the terms ‘Benchmark’ and ‘Value-For-Money’ are not incompatible: Priced at $78,990, the massive Mercedes-Benz Viano is only $1,000 more than its nearest German rival.

Mercedes-Benz Viano Engine

Mercedes-Benz Australia offers the Viano exclusively with a V6 turbo-diesel engine (petrol models and smaller diesels are available in Europe). For us, that means the 3.0-litre V6 which is supremely powerful in this league with 165kW/440Nm (Volkswagen’s most powerful Multivan – the TDI400 Highline – provides 132kW/400Nm from its 2.0-litre, four-cylinder twin-turbo-diesel).

‘Benz being ‘Benz, this engine is a member of the ‘BlueEFFICIENCY’ family (for optimized fuel efficiency and minimized emissions) so combined-cycle fuel consumption is rated at 8.6l/100kms (8.8l/100kms for the Volkswagen TDI 400 Multivan) and exhaust CO2 scores 226g/km.

Unlike the Volkswagen (and unusually for a people-mover), the Mercedes-Benz Viano drives the rear wheels via a five-speed automatic transmission (sequential 7-speeder for the Multivan). Mercedes-Benz’ lower-price eight-seat van, the Valente ($54,490) is likewise rear-wheel-driveso you might be interested in our ‘On The Road’ thoughts.

Mercedes-Benz Viano The Interior

Really, the only slight “ahem” we heard during our week with the Mercedes-Benz Viano was from one of our short-of-stature colleagues who commented the ascent into the front passenger seat was a bit unflattering (his comments did come at the end of a long lunch overlooking Melbourne’s Port Phillip Bay so the prospect of returning to work may have put him in a bad mood!) But the fact is the Mercedes-Benz Viano is so well-equipped, spacious and practical, most families should be saying: “forget the SUV, if all People Movers are this good, count us in!”

Up-front, seated in the expected top-shelf Mercedes-Benz seats, trimmed in ‘Lugano’ leather, driver and passenger gaze over a dashboard which looks like it came straight from the C-Class or E-class sedan (well that’s a slight stretch but certainly the gauges and high-gloss ‘burr walnut’ material look virtually identical). Same for the steering wheel and controlsall very comforting and familiar in the Merc’ way.

Audio is Mercedes’ ‘COMAND APS’ system with a 6.5-inch colour display, HDD navigation, ‘LINGUARTRONIC’ voice recognition and all the usual connectivity. At night, the cabin of the Mercedes-Benz Viano is bathed in stylish fibre-optic ambient lighting with individual LED reading lights – very ‘private jet-ish’.

Massive sliding side doors provide access to the rear two rows. Again smart design from Mercedes-Benz is evident with the multiple folding/sliding functions of the seats (requisite for variations in both passengers and luggage particularly for hotel/airport transfer operators).

The Car Showroom juniors could have held a ‘sleepover’ in the spacious rear and adult passengers enjoyed massive legroom in all seats and good all-round visibility.

And while you could just about move a piano in the luggage area, the seat rail system with ‘quick release’ locks does take some management (it’s not electronic).

Mercedes-Benz Viano Exterior Styling

Now not the latest design in this league, the Mercedes-Benz Viano is certainly no shrinking violet with an imposing on-road presence from any angle.

Basically a major update from the first-generation Viano, the current model borrows heavily from the Mercedes-Benz passenger car range (who wouldn’t?). That’s most noticeable in the look of front headlights which are Bi-xenon and feature the hallmark ‘Benz LED DRLs.

A people-mover will always look like a people-mover but the Mercedes-Benz Viano stands out with a nice curvature for the bonnet, A-pillars and doors and some tapering for the rear three-quarters. Same at the rear where the current Viano scores nice-design tail-lights which afford a contemporary look slightly softer than the otherwise intimidating tail-gate.

Our Mercedes-Benz Viano rode on the standard five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels. On the options list are stylish five twin-spoke 18-inchers.

Mercedes-Benz Viano

Mercedes-Benz Viano On The Road

As we mentioned, the Mercedes-Benz Viano is unusual in the People Mover segment as it drives via the rear wheels range-topping Volkswagen Multivan models are all-wheel-drive but everything else drives at the pointy-end.

A highlight of the second-generation Mercedes-Benz Viano has been its new-design suspension system with self-leveling rear.

Combine that slick set-up with the powerful V6 turbo-diesel and you have a very ‘meaty’ people mover. That means the Viano growls under hard acceleration and corners with precision not normally associated with this vehicle type.

We’re not saying the Viano is a rival for the Mercedes-Benz SLS, but that clever suspension design and less weight over the front-end means the dominant understeer normally associated with van-type vehicles is significantly less pronounced. And even when fully loaded, the ride/handling was still much better than anything else in this league.

We read a review from one of our rivals which criticized the Viano for its lack of maneuverability. They must have been jet-lagged after an international motor show or been driving too many Ferraris/Porsches when they wrote that because the opposite is true the huge Viano turns on a dime and can be rapidly ‘flung’ into tight parking space thanks to massive steering lock and good visibility.

Mercedes-Benz Viano Challenges

Five-speed automatic is ‘sub-optimal’ these days. Rear seat sliding/folding should be electronic.

Mercedes-Benz Viano Verdict

In considering those ‘challenges’ remember this generation Mercedes-Benz Viano is well-advanced in its model life. We have no idea when the all-new version is due but we’d be very surprised if those two areas (transmission and seat operation) were not overhauled/updated.

That said, all things considered the current Mercedes-Benz Viano still rules the roost in the luxury people mover segment.

Mercedes-Benz Viano The Competition

Volkswagen’s excellent Multivan is the other Car Showroom favourite in this specialized segment. While the range-topping Highline TDI400 is generously-equipped, is easier to operate the seats and $1,000 less than the Viano at $79,990, the vehicle from Hanover doesn’t match the ‘Benz for power-torque, fuel economy or interior space.

Toyota Tarago is the ‘King Of The Jungle’ in terms of sales numbers thanks to its wide range from the family-friendly 2.4 GLi ($48,990) to the ‘luxo’ V6 Ultima ($71,490). ‘Benz Viano is in front for interior space, driving dynamics and premium-feel interiorit’s a Mercedes.

Mercedes-Benz Viano

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