It’s been described as “more like a luxury car than a van“ by one taxi firm and “impressively reliable and robust” by another (whose last Vito did 250,000 miles in three years). It’s probably fair to say that the Vito minibus is popular with both drivers and operators.
So it’s no surprise that the purpose-built Vito Taxi, which is targeting the hackney cab market, is gaining a firm foothold in the market.
The original Vito Taxi was launched in 2008 and has sold 3,000 units to date, some of them into the ultra-conservative and demanding London black cab market. To put that in context, there are currently around 21,000 black cabs in London, so while the Vito Taxi still has a way to go, it is making progress.
The German marque has now launched an updated version of the Vito Taxi. The standard National specification model seats six and is fully accessible for wheelchairs. Customers can choose from the front wheel-drive 109CDI model, with an 88 hp Euro 6 engine, or the 114CDI with a 114 hp Euro 6 engine, which drives the rear wheels. Both come with manual gearboxes (optional seven-speed automatic gearbox is available for the 114CDI models) and in Compact or Long body lengths.
This model will be sold UK-wide and isn’t the special London specification model, an updated version of which will become available later in 2016. The London-spec Vito Taxi incorporates the rear steering axle that allows it to achieve a 25ft turning circle. This is one of the rules prescribed by the Public Carriage Office, so it can execute a U-turn in London’s congested streets.
The London variant is also offered with the more powerful engine as standard together, with the 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic gearbox, which is now controlled using a steering column-mounted lever.
Standard equipment on both versions includes the fuel-saving BlueEFFICIENCY measures which features engine Start/Stop function for the 114CDI models, air conditioning for driver and passengers, electric folding mirrors, electrically operated sliding doors on both sides and electrical nearside step; London versions feature an additional off-side step.
Steve Bridge, Managing Director, Mercedes-Benz Vans UK, commented:
“We are passionate about supporting the UK’s taxi drivers, and are delighted to be offering the most fuel-efficient, modern, comfortable, reliable vehicle ever seen in the market.
Priced from £135 per week* for the Vito Taxi 109CDI National variant, the Vito Taxi comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage manufacturer’s warranty and MobiloVan back-up, which includes free, round-the-clock emergency roadside assistance. Pricing for the London variant is still to be announced.
*Business customers only