Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourer

This Motus pre-owned Vito Tourer may really be the ultimate bus for us

A few weeks back, we tested a trio of minibuses, where the Mercedes among them came out at close to two million with options. Don’t be scared off — there are indeed high value Mercedes-Benz people movers to be had. Especially in the previously owned realm.

We recently had the opportunity to test another of the many people movers in the well-established range of Mercedes-Benz vans and buses in this used 2019 Mercedes-Benz 116 CDI Tourer Pro Auto.

Did they ever finish building it?

Entering the South African market in 2015, this Vito 116 CDI has certainly stamped its position in the bus space — just count how many you see on the road every time you take a spin. Even if when you at first approach the vehicle and wonder if it was ever quite finished when leaving the factory! But the closer you get to it, the sooner you soon pick up that this is actually the kind of well-built Mercedes-Benz product that we have all come to appreciate.

This dedicated people mover is sparsely appointed when it comes to the many luxuries that we would expect in a R850K bus. What? No armrests? No central storage box for all your goodies? No carpets? No leather? Nope, there’s just rubber flooring and hard surface materials everywhere. Seems that V300d upped our expectations too high! There’s also a tendency to creak and rattle in the rear when driving over uneven surfaces. Otherwise it’s all quiet in the back over normal tar roads.

As the days of test driving slipped by however, our 116’s true value started showing up in some of its behind the scenes and usability plusses. Like comfortable and adjustable fabric clad driver and front passenger seats. That said, long distance trips could become a bit awkward for some rear passengers in those fixed backrest second and third row seats. Rear passenger access is however made easy by those massive sliding doors on both sides and well positioned handles.

versatile. With a little help

Third row access is also a simple feat by unlatching the seat ahead and rolling it forward, while adjustable air conditioning outlets in the ceiling above keep it pleasant inside whatever the conditions out. This 5,14 m long bus also allows for a handy 990 litre baggage volume, while additional luggage space be needed, there is a tow bar fitted to pull a 2-ton braked trailer so you can take grandama and her bed and kitchen sink along too.

Its actually very well stacked with everything from a leather clad paddle-shifter multifunction steering wheel, to stop-start and cruise control; power front windows, auto headlights, and on board trip computer. Add central locking with an alarm, a Bluetooth and USB connective, radio, a 12 V socket. Savery is enhanced by six Airbags, ABS braking with EBD, stability control and Isofix child seat anchoring points.

The 116 CDI is propelled by a fantastic 120 kW, 380 Nm 2’1-litre Benz turbodiesel driving the rear axle via a very well behaved 7 speed auto box and it rides on 205/65 R16 rubber. It took a while to become accustomed to its size, especially in tight parking spaces without a rear park distance control feature. I also found that reversing into somewhat unsighted areas behind, took some skill and planning to successfully navigate.

Larger proportions need care on turning

Special care is also needed when turning, as it the Vito bus is longer than the average car and the centre headrests almost entirely fill the rear view mirror, which was annoying but they can be removed when those seats are not in use. The wide view side mirrors do however quite adequately compensate for this and the driving position and ease of access to all the controls is natural and intuitive. The multi-function steering wheel also made life somewhat easier.

Normal town and freeway driving was pleasantly easy without any surprises in the handling or braking department. We had the opportunity to load up 8 adults and experience the drive with an almost full load. The trip felt stable, safe and effortless. This is where the true value shows up. When pushed, Vito 116 is surprisingly responsive and perky for such a large vehicle and its economical too — we averaged just nine litres per hundred, which stretches that 70 litre tank from Jozi to Durbs.

I would not suggest moving the rear seating configuration around unless you need a long term specific setup. The seat mountings are numerous, allowing for lots of variation however these look quite tricky and are possibly best left to a technician for changes.

People mover perfect at the price

Bearing in mind that this Mercedes is a purpose built and well-configured bus intended to simply and effectively move people from A to B, it’s mechanicals are rock solid and well built. Serviced and looked after properly, it will last a happy owner for many years ahead. Even the styling will stay sharp for years to come.

Who would want to buy one of these? Well, it would fit in quite well as an active large family’s carrier or used as a corporate, airport or hotel shuttle and even a school or tour bus. If you want all the bells, whistles and electronic gizmos with soft touch comforts everywhere, then the Mercedes-Benz V-class will keep you just as happy too – at prices approching a couple of million.

So, for just R585K — or 268 grand off a new one from your local Motus Pre-owned dealership, maybe this 24,000 km 2019 Vito 116 CDI Tourer Pro Auto complete with the balance of Merc’s 2 year unlimited warranty and 5-year 100,000 km service plan really is the bus for us. Go get it! — Ken Hawkins

Tagged with: