2011 Mercedes-Benz Vito van range – Click above to enlarge image

Mercedes-Benz has been sufficiently pleased with the performance of its Sprinter van that it is now seriously considering importing a smaller sibling for its full-size load lugger.

Benz has offered a smaller commercial vehicle, the Vito, in various world markets since 1996, and the second-generation model underwent a mild facelift in 2010. Available with a range of CDI diesel engines in both cargo and passenger-carrying configurations, the Vito has recently been testing in all-electric E-Cell guise. If the Vito does make it to North America, we're unlikely to get the complete range – this light commercial vehicle is available in three lengths, two roof heights and in both rear- and all-wheel drive.

While the Vito is indeed smaller than the Mercedes/Freightliner Sprinter carryall, it's not as diminutive as the Ford Transit Connect we've come to know in the States. In its smallest form, the baby Benz spans 187.5 inches, nearly seven inches more than the Turkish Ford. In extra-long format, the Vito rings up at 206.2 inches, which is still well shy of the aged Ford E-Series van (216.7 inches in its shortest form), making the Vito something of a tweener in size.

For the moment, our source tells us that the idea of importing the Vito is in "an early stage," and even though consumer clinics have been held to judge market interest, the van has not yet been given the green light.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Paul P.
      • 4 Years Ago
      A small clean diesel, AWD, and enough room for a larger than average size family and their stuff....with the perceived luxury of a Mercedes nameplate? It's like the perfect family van. Give me one with vinyl flooring so I can easily clean up whatever mess the kids make and I would love to have it as a personal vehicle.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Considering the amount of Fords Transit Connect I've seen I think its a untapped market for Merc.
        • 4 Years Ago
        These are quite a bit bigger than a Transit Connect, but I say bring it!.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Its a no brainer, weve needed the Vito for years, why do these auto companies fail to see this, its so obvious to me. I still wonder why Ford gave us the Connect when the full size Transit is clearly the world wide leader, Once Americans get the real Tarnsit they will never look back, Europe has other Transit size offerings, hopefully Fiat will bring the Ducato too.
      • 4 Years Ago
      As an owner of a '01 VW EuroVan, this is great news that MB is considering offering the Vito in the US. There has been a void in the US market for a true European van alternative since the last EuroVan was offered here eight years ago (sorry VW, the Routan doesn't count). Bring it over with some of the unique interior configurations that the American and Japanese vans can't/won't offer - such as rear benches that fold into a bed, fold-out tables and pop tops. Basically everything that you could get on the EuroVans. Don't believe there's a market? Check to see how much used EuroVans and Vanagons with the "light camper" bits go for on eBay, Autotrader and Craigslist.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Don't be stupid Mercedes...slap the Sprinter diesel in it and MAKE IT HAPPEN! Imagine just the commercial sales, let alone sales to a group of people who want a Mercedes van (not R class).
      • 4 Years Ago
      I saw a Ford Transit be used by UPS this morning. It actually looked pretty cool in all brown.
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm tired of my Smart car. I'd buy one of these just so that I can still tell people that I own a Mercedes Benz.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why does the rear profile remind me so much of the Chrysler mini-vans.
      Adam John Valsler
      • 4 Years Ago
      Id LOVE to have one of these but ONLY in AWD, I need something that has enough space for my family to do long road trips in, has AWD for the mountains of CA and winters of MN AND doesnt get TERRIBLE mpg! PERFECT, I have driven a fair few of these in Germany and I loved it, Id take one in a heartbeat!
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd say there's a market for this van to straddle both the commerical AND the brand-concious upscale family market. WIth the right equipment and some sort of gimmick (diesel, awd) to lure from Sienna Limited/T&C type high-end vans. Shopping for my Sienna (for which I wanted high-end stuff like folding mirrors, leather, b/up camera etc though I use it as a 2-seat work van) It seemed as if all of them were spec'd at this level, making me think there's room at the top end of the market. MB might do well to curry some of this category.
      Matt Frawley
      • 4 Years Ago
      Euro small van is better than American minivan. I can tell you about American full size, midsize van and minivan designs models are done to crossover . but Crossover are based original American Minivan. it is few American design crossover is good look. Hello Euro van and MPV minivan Goodbye American van and minivan. if Mercedes Benz official has study MB commercial vehicles will US market. if Volkswagen official will might study VW commercial vehicles about you want a VW Amarok pickup truck for US Market. good luck you can affordable a small MB van.
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