Mercedes adds traction to its van line with the Vito 4x4

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The new Mercedes Vito 4x4 is now available

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After announcing that the new Vito van would come in front-, rear- and all-wheel-drive configurations a few months ago, Mercedes is using a cold spell in Europe to get the Vito 4x4, the last of the new Vito models, rolling to market. The German automaker imagines the extra grip of the van's 4x4 system being useful to professionals visiting cold, icy worksites and otherwise commuting in slick conditions. The van should also prove popular with Mercedes camper van conversion specialists looking to create all-terrain campers.

One of Mercedes' big Vito selling points is that it's the only mid-size van available in front-, rear- and permanent all-wheel-drive. Of course, that kind of bragging right is only useful insofar as the models are all actually available. With the market launch of the Vito 4x4, the three drive options are now available to consumers.

The Vito 4x4 launches with the flagship 190-hp (140-kW) 2.2-liter 119 BlueTEC four-cylinder engine and 7G-Tronic Plus automatic transmission with torque converter. The powertrain distributes up to 325 lb-ft (440 Nm) of torque to the axles in a 45:55 ratio through a central differential. The 4ETS Electronic Traction System helps maintain traction by braking slipping wheels and rerouting drive power to the wheels with traction, all within milliseconds.

Mercedes says the lightweight, compact construction of this 4WD configuration keeps the Vito 4x4 within 110 lb (50 kg) of the rear-driven Vito and helps it maintain fuel consumption of 6.4 L/100 km (36.7 mpg). The model also keeps the same 6.3-ft (1.91-m) height as the front- and rear-wheel drive variants, allowing for parking in most garages.

The Vito 4x4 119 BlueTEC is available now in Germany, starting at €36,120 (US$41,000). It is offered in panel van, Mixto and Tourer styles and compact, long and extra long body variants. Attention Assist and Crosswind Assist come standard. Mercedes plans to launch 134-hp (100-kW) and 161-hp (120-kW) models in the future.

All-wheel drive is always a popular choice for camper vans built to ramble off the paved track, and the new Vito 4x4 already has one convert. At last month's CMT camper show in Stuttgart, Germany, Terra Camper showed the first camper van based on the new 4WD Vito. The Mercedes Tecamp brings Terra Camper's modular utility, typically reserved for Volkswagen vans, into the all-new Vito, using sliding floor rails and removable seats and camping modules to provide superior versatility. The CMT show model included a pop-up roof, sliding indoor/outdoor Waeco refrigerator, and a tablet-based interior control system.

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