Mercedes-Benz Valente it ostensibly a people-carrying version of the Vito van, making it conceptually similar to the Hyundai iMax and soon-to-be-replaced Volkswagen Multivan.
The first, and most basic, observation is that the Spanish-made Valente is big. Very big. At 5140mm long and with a 3200mm wheelbase, it has a bigger footprint than the Kia, or a long-wheelbase Range Rover.
The boxy, van interior affords huge levels of space, with three rows of seating in a 2+3+3 configuration (eight seats) as tested. All are trimmed in hard-wearing checkered cloth, not easy-clean leather.
The middle and final row seats are all the same in terms of width and bolstering, meaning the middle users are not duped.
Unlike some people-movers, the rearmost six seats all have their lap-sash seatbelts fitted to the top of the seat rather than the roof (which hinder visibility), and each gets adjustable headrests. There are also four ISOFIX anchors spread across the latter two rows.
Outboard middle-row occupants get plane-like folding armrests, while all eight seats can tilt backwards. No matter which of these seats you’re sitting in, headroom and legroom is vast.
The Valente’s van origins are made clear by the infotainment system, which comprises a 5.8-inch screen (it’s not a touchscreen) operated by less intuitive dials, though the software is familiar Benz. Flanking this screen is a cluster of phone and audio buttons, while below are the climate controls, and — among others — two buttons to operate the electric sliding side doors from the front.
Standard features include a swanky Crosswind Assist system, part of the latest Mercedes-Benz ESC program, steering wheel buttons, cruise control, automatically dimming mirrors and USB/Aux/Bluetooth connectivity.
Published: Wednesday, September 9, 2015