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Future models - Mercedes-Benz - Viano

Viano to bring Benz luxury to people movers

Family wealth: The Viano passenger van pricing is tipped to start at around $65,000 for the entry 110kW 2.2-litre turbo-diesel.

Mercedes-Benz plans to raise the people-mover bar with its luxurious Viano

1 Jul 2005

MERCEDES-Benz plans to tackle the passenger van brigade head-on when it starts selling its luxury Viano passenger van early next month.

Two models will be available, the Trend and luxury Ambiente, offered with either a turbo-diesel four cylinder, shared with the Vito van, or V6 engine. Both will be mated to a five-speed tip-shift automatic.

Pricing is tipped to start around $65,000 for the entry 110kW 2.2-litre turbo-diesel, rising to under $80,000 for the 170kW 3.7-litre V6, which is currently offered in the S-class.

The highly specified luxury Spanish-built seven-seat Viano will boast two other seating options of either eight or six seats, depending on configuration.

As well as the Viano, Mercedes-Benz plans to introduce a seven-seat passenger van version of the Vito, which will sit below Viano’s entry level price point.

Mercedes-Benz spokesman Toni Andreevski, said the Viano would be a luxury niche vehicle of only 200 to 250 sales a year, specifically appealing to hotels and large families looking for luxury with luggage room.

"It’ll be a car that will draw interest from high-end hotels and also some people who really need the ability to transfer upwards of four, five and six people and their luggage in luxury," he said. "However, we have a very small sales forecast."A decision to sell the Viano was partly encouraged by people who had converted the Vito van into a passenger role, he said.

"Given that’s been occurring for a number of years, we felt we should try the passenger-car version of the Vito as well as offer the Viano.

"In terms of differentiation, the Vito wagon is and extension of the Crew-Cab Vito in terms of seating capacity whereas the Viano takes a traditional passenger car approach."Mr Andreevski said the Viano would also sit well with the arrival of the six-seater R-class wagon when it goes on sale early next year.

Australia will get the 3200mm wheelbase version with an overall length of 4993mm.

In Europe the Spanish-built Viano Trend boasts luggage capacity of up to 4610 litres as well as a host of Mercedes safety acronyms, including ESP, BAS, ABS and ASR supplemented by a strong safety cell.

Mr Andreevski said dual front and side airbags would be standard with a strong prospect of curtain airbags also being offered.

Standard equipment is expected to run to dual front and side airbags, central locking, CD player, height and reach adjustable steering wheel and power vent rear windows.

4 center imageThe Ambiente is expected to up the ante with full-leather captains chairs, park sensors, alloys, wood trim and window tinting as well as self-levelling rear suspension.

The Viano will add to Mercedes’ ever-expanding product portfolio, which current stands at 70 vehicles and does not include a raft of newcomers due over the next few years, from new segment entrants B-class, R-class and G-class, right through to the next-generation M-class due in November and the next-generation S-class range.

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