July 02, 2018
Vansdirect were lucky enough to attend the Mercedes van experience live 2018 event at the fantastic Milbrook Proving ground. Putting the entire Mercedes vans range through their paces!
Mercedes vans have made some pretty bold claims regarding the new Mercedes Sprinter, labelling the new Mercedes Sprinter as: “the most intelligent, powerfully connected van the world has ever seen” however after just scraping the surface with the new Mercedes PRO fleet management software (standard on all new Sprinters) it’s hard for us to disagree in the slightest, you can also subscribe to a choice of eight fleet management packages that help you to manage your vans and drivers in the most intricate of detail, keeping an eye on running costs, service information and even when a door is open on any of the vehicles. The software can be used on anything from a single van to a large fleet of vans and tailored to your requirements.
We were massively impressed with the intelligence and connectivity of the new Mercedes Sprinter and this was before we’d even set foot in the van! The new Mercedes Sprinter was available to drive in both rear-wheel drive and front-wheel drive variants, both of which were equipped with electric power steering, giving the largest van in the Mercedes van range a car-like feel when driving, which highly responsive steering combined with a comfortable cabin featuring various elements from across the Mercedes car range.
We also managed to sit in the back in the new van whilst a trained instructor demonstrated some of the safety features of the new Sprinter! Mercedes vans are dedicated to safety, we experienced Active Brake Assist which prompted the driver with a visual warning as we were heading for a rear end collision, second step is an audio warning followed by the van’s braking and intervention, we also visualised blind spot detection which shows a red triangle in the driver’s side window when a vehicle passes the blind spot. Also available is lane keep assist and crosswind assist which help redirect the van if you accidentally veer across white lines, whilst with the blind spot technology if you attempt to indicate to overtake when a vehicle is in your blind spot, then the van will take you back into your lane to avoid a collision.
These features just scratched the surface, with a host of safety features also available, including: adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, driver fatigue detector and the impressive e-Call technology which can alert the emergency services should an airbag have been deployed following a collision.
We then stepped into the Mercedes Vito van, where more Mercedes vans technology was demonstrated to us, starting with the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and Antilock Braking System (ABS). Our skilled trainer firstly swerved to avoid a collision, with the ESP keeping the van stable following the incredibly sharp turn, however when swerving to avoid something it is also likely that a reaction will be to press the brakes, we then experienced the trial with a sharp swerve and brakes applied, showing that the van still has manoeuvrability even under the heaviest of braking. ESP and ABS are standard across the entire Mercedes vans range. We then explored Active park assist which uses various sensors on the Mercedes Vito van to scan for spaces at speeds below 25mph after indicating, when you activate the system, the van goes to work regardless of whether you’re bay parking or parallel parking!
For our next challenge we took the Mercedes Citan, Mercedes Vito and Mercedes Sprinter through an MPG challenge, attempting to achieve the best figures through the slalom course. Understandably the figures were highest for the Mercedes Citan small van, with one participant achieving a staggering 99.9mpg, without cheating!
The last van we encountered was the pick-up labelled as the first premium pick-up, the new Mercedes X-Class! Before we headed to the fantastic off-road course to really put the X-Class to the test, we drove the X-Class with the windscreen and front windows blanked out, through a slalom course of cones. Reversing wasn’t a problem with the reversing camera standard on all models, however for the task of going forward, we required some technology standard higher up the range. The 360 camera system, using sensors from around the pick-up helped us to navigate through the course, although we did clip one cone!
Our last challenge, was a serious challenge, at the off-road course, fortunately we were equipped with just the vehicle for the task, the Mercedes X-Class! We soared up the steepest of slopes and navigated through flags on the off-road challenge, whatever we put in front of the X-Class, it passed with flying colours, including navigating down steep inclines without any driver contribution courtesy of the low range 4×4 mode.
At Vansdirect we thoroughly enjoyed putting the Mercedes vans range through its paces, just scratching the surface with the quality of the entire range. Here’s your chance to experience a brand new Mercedes van on finance from Vansdirect, with cheap van finance options available which include van leasing, and contract hire. Interested? Get the ball rolling by filling in a contact form online, or calling us on 0800 169 69 95, we also offer cars!