Tourer de Force | 

This nine-seater all-electric Mercedes is pricey and niche...but it is truly brilliant

This full-electric passenger van is surprisingly good, fun and versatile

Mercedes eVito Tourer

The three seats across the front

Daragh KeanySunday World

IMAGINE a nine-seater with a realistic electric range of 350km… well feast your eyes on the all new Mercedes eVito Tourer.

OK, so it won’t sell many as it is a particularly niche car aimed at a very limited target market, but having tested it late last year over a busy period, I completely see the appeal. And I genuinely find it hard to list flaws in it.

For starters, let’s look at it. It’s not a rackety industrial-style vehicle like you would associate with the Vito mini brand. It has deft little curves where there should be sharp corners. It oozes premium vibes and is surprisingly comfortable when you sit inside.

While it holds on to its undeniable size and presence, there is enough tech onboard to make driving and parking as simple as it would be in a zippy city car.

The increased height offers a much wider view of the surrounding road and the eVito Tourer is installed with a row of seats in the front as opposed to just two seats, meaning you get a ‘van’ vibe from your driving experience, especially when you load it up with passengers.

I wonder did the technicians, engineers and designers in Germany have an Irish girl’s chaotic ninth birthday in mind when they created this beast, but safe to say that the vehicle got a full going over during my test.

Eight nine-year-olds and myself headed off on an epic road trip and nothing was too much for the van. Like a famous child’s party song, the six rear seats were in, then out and even shaken all about as they were spun around to face each other. Then they were configurated into rows.

The three seats across the front

The only downside is the two passengers in the front felt they were missing out on all the fun in the back.

You need to know that a significant proportion of the driving was on motorways, which is always the hardest on the range of any EV.

But the eVito Tourer proved amazingly economic on the proposed range (around 350km) and benefited greatly from the impressive regeneration capability on urban commuting and school runs. Stick to Economy+ driving mode when you want to eke every last kilometre out of your fully-charged car.

With a car fully of hyperactive kids heading to an escape rooms along a motorway, that total range would be closer to between 315km and 320km but I genuinely think that in a softer setting it would easily get you more. And if you were to put the foot down and load it up with the entire Irish forward pack you would still get around the 300km mark.

Which is refreshing in an age when car companies continually manage to sell fake ranges to the public.

Pricing isn’t available yet but it won’t be cheap. And while it will sit below the EQV (it’s hard to keep up with the ever-expanding range of models in the range) in the premium stakes with its plush finish, it will still come with a decent premium price tag because of all of the giant boxes it ticks with gusto. Top of that list is the versatility of the seating.

The conventional styling inside is more than adequate and far from the industrial levels of the full van. The lack of plushness is a positive here as it will keep the asking price down. And those who want to splash even more cash can always opt for the EQV. Simple.

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