Can the 2022 Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourer pick away at Toyota's dominance in the luxury MPV segment?
When it comes to luxury multi-purpose vehicles (MPV), Malaysians usually gravitate straight towards the Toyota Vellfire/Alphard duo, as they present the best packages possible for a luxurious family/limo vehicle.
It went unchallenged for many years, which is why it is pretty much hammered in buyers' minds that they are the go-to vehicle for those looking for a luxury MPV.
Recently, Hyundai unveiled the Staria, with the aim of giving buyers another option, but realistically it's going to be tough for it to do so, as an expensive Hyundai is just a bitter pill to swallow no matter how good the Staria is as a package.
The offering from Mercedes-Benz on the hand is an easier alternative to accept, as the brand is full of brand heritage, model lineage and the fact that people are used to its premium prices.
But just like the Staria, does it have a chance at chipping away the Vellphard's market monopoly? To find out, we must first put them side by side on a comparison table. Considering that it is priced closer to the Vellfire rather than the Alphard, it's only fair to compare it with the smaller cc Toyota MPV.
|Engine||2.0-litre Turbo||2.5-litre NA|
|Torque (Nm)||350 (1,300 - 4,000rpm)||235 (4,100rpm)|
Length x Width x Height
|5,370 x 2,244 x 1,958||4,935 x 1,850 x 1,895|
|Safety & Driver Assist||
Active Brake Assist
Active Distance Assist (DISTRONIC)
Blind Spot Assist
Automatic High Beam
Lane Keeping Assist
Active Lane Tracking
Parktronic, and Driver Attention Alert.
Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist & Lane Trac
Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
Automatic High Beam (AHB)
Blind Spot Monitor (BSM)
Parking Sensors with Parking Support Brake
As you can see from the table, the two are quite closely matched. However, there are a few noticeable differences in our opinion that makes the Vito a better buy - if you plan to use the vehicle as a family vehicle that needs to accommodate more than just two kids.
Vellfire Captain Seats
The Vellfire typically comes with Captain seats in the middle row. While this is a great set of seats for those who treat an MPV more like a limousine, the versatility of the Vito with its 10 seat configuration is just perfect for larger families. With this kind of configuration, grandparents, siblings and kids can all come along for the ride.
Vito's rear seating arrangement
And then there is the grunt. With torque kicking in from as low as 1,300rpm, we feel like the Vito has more usable torque which is great for a vehicle this large. This should translate into better pulling power, especially during start-stop situations, ie city driving. The Vito also offers more in terms of horsepower. The combination just makes the German MPV a perfect vehicle for a weekend cruiser or weekday daily.
Safety-wise, they both have a few features that get one over the other, but generally, they are both quite kitted out and should give their passengers some good protection.
The only place we can see some shortcomings in the Vito is in the rear entertainment department, as it doesn't come with a roof-mounted screen like in the Vellfire.
But then again, it's all about what the Vito can do when it comes to the seating configuration. Thanks to some clever bits of design, there are quick releases for the seat rail system allowing passengers to reorient themselves while remaining sat down, ideal for those impromptu high-powered business meetings or random card games in the back seats.
All in all, we like the Vito over the Vellfire if value and versatility is the name of the game, but against the Toyota Alphard? Well, that's another article for another day.