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by Tim Beissmann

The Mercedes-Benz Valente has been launched in Australia, becoming the mid-level option between the Vito and Viano vans in the German brand’s people mover line-up.

The introduction of the $54,490 eight-seat Valente has been accompanied by a repositioning of the five-/six-seat Vito, which is now $3000 cheaper than before at $49,990. The flagship six-/eight-seat Viano is priced from $70,946.

The Valente is based on the same platform as the two existing people movers. It’s powered by a 120kW/360Nm 2.2-litre diesel engine that officially uses 8.2 litres of fuel per 100km and emits 216 grams of CO2 per kilometre. A five-speed automatic transmission comes standard and drives the rear wheels.

The cabin features eight reclining seats, front and rear climate control, and a 730-litre boot. Other standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, CD player with AUX/USB/iPod connectivity, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, carpet flooring, front and side airbags, and rear privacy glass.

Four option packages can be added to further enhance the vehicle’s specification level:

Comand Aps satellite navigation – $4490

  • 6.5-inch colour screen
  • Reversing camera
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • 4GB memory
  • SD card slot
  • HDD-based navigation
  • Linguatronic voice control

Dual electric sliding doors – $2490

  • Remote operation
  • Obstruction sensor
  • Activation switch on dash, key and B-pillar

Bi-xenon headlights – $1590

  • Cornering function
  • LED daytime running lights

Vehicle alarm system – $590

  • Audible and visual alarm triggered by vehicle tampering

Mercedes-Benz’s passenger vans are reasonably slow sellers in Australia. The Vito accounted for just 1.0 per cent of the sub-$55,000 segment last year, which was dominated by the less expensive and more practical Kia Carnival. The Viano made up 15 per cent of the $55,000-plus segment, although it was outsold in 2011 by its only other two competitors, the Volkswagen Multivan and Chrysler Voyager.

The Valente will give Mercedes a vehicle better equipped to take on its eight-seat competitors at the upper end of the sub-$55,000 people mover market.




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