/ PRESENTATION Mercedes-Benz Vaneo
"VANEO" - THE NEW MINI-VEN "MERCEDES"
TEXT / ANDREI SIDOROV
PHOTO / ANDREI SIDOROV,
The advantages of vans (cars of a carriage layout) over sedans, coupes and other convertibles are well known. If the owner, in addition to riding himself, his beloved, must take care of the family - the trailer is beyond competition.
Skis, a bicycle, bulky sports equipment - everything can be placed without damage to passengers. However, for daily trips, when one or two people are in the car, it is not practical to drive a “carriage”. Keeping a second car for this is also unprofitable, which is why the popularity of station wagons of increased capacity is growing - otherwise mini-vans.
Almost every little-known company holds a similar car in its lineup today. And even a few - the demand is great and you can’t lose the buyer. Moreover, it must be attracted by offering exactly the kind of machine that he needs. Not a stranger to this trend and Daimler-Chrysler. This is confirmed by the Mercedes-Vaneo minivan, which was launched in September 2001.
Having served for him as a base of Mercedes A-class for the role of a universal family car is still small. Five people in it leave no chance of luggage to be accommodated. The so-called V-class is too large, not every family needs a minibus. The natural solution to fill the gap between them is Vaneo.
Growing up from the A-class, he naturally inherited a lot from the youngest of the Mercedes. Engines, suspension, instrument cluster were just right. If not the same, then the seats, steering wheel and other bodywork are very similar. Even the floor of the body is made in the image of the A-class - with a double bottom. This decision has proven itself not only on the Mercedes, but why refuse it? Sophisticated design provides high passive safety and durability of the car. Smooth floor - comfort for passengers, and a flat bottom - plus aerodynamics. And for off-road, although the “Vaneo” was not created for him, even the possibility of towing behind a tractor - you can’t tear anything from the bottom!
A typical solution for minivans (though larger ones) is sliding rear doors. The fact that they work impeccably is even unnecessary to mention. And the width is just bus - 756 mm! Even the most pot-bellied burgher passes, as they say, with a whistle. And in the cabin on any seat, it will be quite spacious for him - with the exception, perhaps, of an additional third row. These are children's places installed in the "family" configuration. However, if necessary, adults can sit on them. Cramped, of course, but acceptable. There will also be 0.15 cubic meters of space for luggage.
If there is no third row, a trunk is equipped in its place. More precisely, the luggage compartment with a capacity of 0.715 "cube". Removing the second row of seats, we get 2.4 MS, and leaving only the driver’s - 3.5 MS. What is not a delivery van? And access to cargo from any direction. Despite the fact that the fifth door opens the doorway completely, without any thresholds and alleys.
Several options for using the boot are provided in advance by the manufacturer. If you plan to transport bicycles or other bulky equipment - order a retractable ladder: it will facilitate loading and unloading. For dogs and other animals - a spacious cage with a protective tray.
Gardeners will appreciate the collapsible plastic box that converts the luggage compartment into a cargo van. Though the earth is loaded, even the organic matter - the interior will remain clean. I do not think, of course, that our person will take advantage of this function, but it has such an opportunity.
In addition to three body options: Trend - the simplest, Spartan, Family - family and Ambiente - the most expensive and sophisticated, five different engines are provided. Three petrol injection volumes of 1.6-1.9 liters and a capacity of 61 to 92 kW and two 1.7 liter turbodiesels - 55 and 66 kW. Gearboxes are conventional, mechanical and “automatic” with manual shift. There is an option with a manual gearbox and automatic clutch. Fun feature: put the gear on - go, turn it off - you can stop or move forward. A kind of ersatz- "machine." Maybe someone finds it useful, but in my opinion - pampering.
The roads of mountainous Crete, where the Daimler-Chrysler decided to introduce the Vaneo to the light, have an unpleasant feature - they seem to be soaped in the rain. We managed to ride both dry and wet - regardless of this, the car behaves perfectly. It is quite frisky, obedient, comfortable. Despite the high body, rolls in the corners are moderate. Traction control, stabilization and anti-lock systems work as expected, smoothing out possible driver errors and preventing them from developing irreparable. But even with ABS, braking "on the floor" on a wet road noticeably worsens handling. The car, of course, obeys the steering wheel, but somehow reluctantly. Yet in the matter of security, no electronics can replace common sense.
Of the five engines, I liked the 90-horsepower diesel engine, mainly due to its complaisant nature. He has a maximum torque of 1600–3200 rpm, and a peak of power - at 4200. With such a wide operating range, driving a car is easy and without fuss. The 125-strong “lighter”, of course, is meaner and able to drive faster (180 km / h versus 160) - it would be in a hurry. And the moment for these engines is the same, so traction is quite enough.
It is especially cool that the average diesel fuel consumption is less than six liters per "hundred", while for gasoline it exceeds eight. Over two hundred kilometers of mountain roads, the arrow pointer barely deviated from the "full tank". And it’s not even about the money - buying a Mercedes on gasoline does not save, but the fact that it’s less harmful to nature.
For all the merits of Vaneo, there are doubts that it will be in demand in Russia as much as the older brothers in the brand. 25-30 thousand dollars for, in general, a utilitarian car, albeit with a star, by our standards - very expensive. God willing, by 2003, when Vaneo goes on sale, we’ll get rich …
Battery and fuse box in the recess under the front passenger’s feet. Access to them is completely free.
The entire tool fits in the side niche of the trunk.