What is it like to drive?
We’ve tested the top-grade of Vito. If AMG came over even crazier than usual and decided to create a Vito Black Series, this is what they’d start out with. Rear-drive, middling L2 length, with the ‘119’-code 2.0-litre diesel engine. Among Vitos, this is top-shelf, high-end stuff.
This is the most powerful Vito, and comes mated exclusively to a nine-speed (!) automatic gearbox. The powertrain is related to the one you’ll find in a C-Class or E-Class four-pot diesel, but it’s been tuned for low-down torque in its new van-based role. As a result, you get 187bhp and a hefty 325lb ft on tap. Obviously it’s easy-access torque you want here, and the 119 engine delivers it in spades.
In the Vito it’s a good match, with the nine-speed auto working wonders to keep revs low so you’re always sat on a pillow of torque while nasty vibration and diesel clatter is kept reasonably muted, and yet there’s enough urgency to pull off overtakes, never mind keep out of everyone’s way. You get the sense that instead of tediously packing all your belongings into bubblewrap and boxes, the easiest way to move house with a Vito would be to hitch up your letterbox to a tow-rope and simply tug your entire address to the next location.
Intimidated by the size, or sitting up so high, looking down on Range Rover Sport drivers? Don’t be. The Vito has light steering, the door mirrors are vast and frontal visibility is generous. Parking sensors are a must, though, as judging where the tip of the nose is, never mind the unsighted rear, is tricky in built-up areas.
The Vito’s party piece is its comfort, either echoingly empty or packed to the roofline. It’s really beautifully damped, and on 17-inch rims its ride quality could teach an Audi Q8 or Jaguar F-Pace plenty about the joy of sensible spring rates and well-sorted wheel control. If you owned one of these, you’d end up using it more than you’d expect, simply because once you’re used to the girth, it’s really rather relaxing to mooch about in.