Mini test: Join the posh van club with the Mercedes-Benz Viano CDI Ambiente (long wheelbase)
Mercedes-Benz Viano 3.0-litre CDI Ambiente (long wheelbase)
Price as driven: £46,539
This is not so much a van as a luxurious business-class aircraft cabin on wheels.
I had to ferry three adults, two growing teenagers, loads of luggage plus a shed-load of sports kit, so I needed space. This seven-seater, 3-tonner did the job in style.
Posh man van: The Mercedes-Benz Viano 3.0-litre CDI Ambiente
A handy restraining net lets you pile mini test any load high – right up to the roof.
You can specify six, seven or eight seats.
The driver and a passenger sit up front with a highvisibility view of the road.
Behind is a virtual office on wheels – with five more seats including two captain’s chairs with armrests facing a trio of three- abreast bench seats. There’s even a useful table which can slide out along tracks on the floor or be folded neatly away.
Ample handy power points for charging mobile phones and other gadgets.
Electronic sliding doors open up on both sides.
It is powered by a nifty 3.0-litre CDI V6 diesel engine developing 224 bhp linked to a five-speed automatic gearbox with ‘tipfunction’ F1-style paddle-shift.
Illuminated exits help you climb out at night without missing your footing.
Top speed is a more-than adequate 125 mph, and once you get going – within the legal limits – it eats up the miles.
Not cheap. The basic version I drove cost £40,505, but a host of extras pushed the final price up to £46,539. Among these were: multimedia system with CD changer, satnav and voicecontrol (£2,097); electronic sliding doors (£1,098); tinted glass, parking aid, alloy wheels, folding exterior mirrors and light sensors (£948); tow bar (£749); rear air conditioning (£556); a luggage cover (£164) and safety deposit box (£57).
Despite ABS, hydraulic brake assist and electronic brake force distribution (ESP), its braking still didn’t inspire total confidence.