Got more than 4 people to carry. Then, choose from our range of luxury Viano with combination of european luxury and 8 seats.
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’, 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-drive…so you might be interested in our ‘On The Road’ thoughts.
Mercedes-Benz Viano The Interior
Here’s the good news: the Mercedes-Benz Viano includes many of the high-quality interior trim details and technology we’re accustomed to in ‘Benz passenger cars. Here’s the bad news: once inside, children enjoy the abundant space so much they’re sometimes reluctant to get out.
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 controls…all 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 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.