More than just a recreational van
Posted Thursday, March 7 2013 at 02:00
Ever wanted to conduct business while travelling, you may consider the all new Mercedes Benz Viano. Available in long and extra-long versions, this van can work as a business van, mobile hotel or as a camping van if you opt for the Marco Polo version.
The Mercedes-Benz Viano (sold as the V-Class in some markets) is a multi-purpose vehicle based on the popular Mercedes-Benz Vito commercial panel van. The first generation went on sale in 1996; it is presently in its third generation, having undergone a number of changes. Now available at Spear Motors is the Ambiente version which the sales director, Gilbert Wavamunno says is what you would call top spec or the ultimate in this class.
“Ambiente refers to the ambiance of the interior, it is really spacious,” Wavamunno adds. He however argues that all Viano vans have been built to a level whereby it is hard to categorise them as entry/medium/top levels. About the van’s improved interior and overall size being a direct response to competition, Wavamunno says there was a gap that needed to be filled. “Some people would want a van but not a Toyota Noah or Regius or Nissan Elgrand and have none at all.
They may want a Mercedes van to stand out yet there is none on the market. But with all the comfort and business style designed interior, Mercedes Benz responded to the need,” he argues.
Five or six seats come as standard in most markets, however the Viano can be turned into a seven-seat people carrier by fitting two 3-seater benches in the rear. All rear seats slide in 1-inch (2.5 cm) increments, recline and can be turned to face one another.
They can also be folded down or removed completely to increase the load capacity. A rear folding table is fitted as standard in six- and seven-seat layouts. In some markets, a camping derivative, the Marco Polo - comes with a fully fitted galley (including gas stove, sink, 40-litre fridge and numerous storage areas), multi-function wardrobe and a sliding bench seat in the rear which can be turned into a large air-sprung bed.
A pop-up roof is also standard and can be raised - electrically, as a cost option - to provide full standing height inside. In this pop-up roof an additional bed can be fitted meaning the Viano can sleep up to four individuals. There is a movable and foldable bench seat as well as a table for business like meetings.
The Viano can also be turned into a mobile hotel of sorts thanks to the foldable bench seat with a bed extension. The bench seat converts easily into a bed and back again thanks to the electrically adjustable backrest.
Fresh water and waste water tanks are accessible from outside the vehicle, while the gas-cylinder bay is hidden inside an interior cupboard. To cope with the extra power demands an auxiliary battery is included under the front passenger seat. Up to six optional individual seats can be fitted for maximum Multi-Purpose Van flexibility, but only four seats (including the two-seater bench mentioned above) can be used when in camping mode.
Two head-on airbags and (on higher trim levels) front side airbags are fitted as standard, with front window airbags available as an option. Electronic stability control (ESP), traction control system (ASR), anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBV) and brake assist (BAS) are all fitted as standard. If BAS is activated, the hazard lights flash to warn following motorists that the Viano driver is undertaking an emergency braking manoeuvre. Each seat is fitted with a three-point seatbelt with belt tensioner and force limiter and an adjustable head restraint.
From the outgoing model, you can clearly see that the interior has been improved. The centre console offers plenty of storage space with its cup holders and large compartments. All the displays and switches have been arranged in such a way that they are easy for the driver to read and operate. This also applies to the handy joystick-style shift/selector lever which is situated in the centre console where it can be reached with ease, also facilitating free access through to the side or rear.
The seats now have arm rests and are ergonomically shaped, have a particularly wide adjustment range and very good lateral structure. The front seats can be turned to face the rear.
Optional and standard equipment
Mostluxury equipment comes as standard but options include automatic tyre pressure monitoring system, curtains for extra privacy and the telephone charger among others. The 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive system is optional. It transfers engine power to all four wheels simultaneously, transmitting it to the front and rear axle in a ratio of 35:65.
Standard equipment includes separate air conditioning system for rear and front passengers, surround system, cup holders, 12v connectors for electronic equipment such as laptops and for phone charging, fire extinguisher and panoramic sunroof at the back. Available in 3.5litre V6 petrol engines, the Viano can be bought using the available financing options with most banks.
It costs99,000 Euros (Shs319m) with taxes fully paid including two years’ warranty. The Viano like all other very recent Mercedes Benz vehicles, comes with a new stylish customized plate ( with Spear Motors inscription), to set the new and used ones apart!