I’ve been doing long distance drives for well over three decades now which includes three very successful 1,200+ kilometer competitive endurance challenges. Heck, I have clocked over 200,000 road test kilometers professionally every year since June 2001. However, what makes this particular journey unique and very special was that it was not work related and was instead in fact the first time that I drove for my parents, siblings, and our spouses, over the longest period and distance covered together ever at exactly three weeks. I highly recommend that families do this as often as possible as life is fleeting and it is one of the most rewarding and uplifting experiences that you can do in your lifetime.
Completely organized by our folks, the chosen location was to fully immerse ourselves with our matriarchal roots to the old country, Spain with the focus on the Northern territories. Our 1,958.6-kilometer route began and ended in Madrid which took us on a festive cultural and gastronomic tour through Salamanca, Bilbao, Getxo, Gorliz, Pamplona, Santander, San Sebastián, and Burgos visiting friends and family.
One of the key locations that we had to visit as a moral imperative was our ancestral town of Carrión de los Condes, a municipality in the province of Palencia, part of the Autonomous Community of Castile and León. There is a statue near the majestic church of Santa María de las Victorias with the name Carrión that represents the pilgrims who walk from all over Europe to the Santiago de Compestella where the remains of Saint James are supposedly held and also symbolizes Don Alonso Carrión who took the town away from the Moors in the period around 791–842 AD.
Our noble steed for this family journey was a very fuel efficient, spacious, and dependable long-wheelbase 3rd-generation Mercedes-Benz Vito Tourer 114 CDI. The Vito carried 7-adults and a full heavy complement of luggage. The 225/55R17 107H Dunlop EconoDrive tires, even with full tread, was a challenge to keep a spirited steady pace on the cold (as low as 4℃) and wet (over some seriously heavy rain and fog) roads at highway speeds, but we soldiered on. The Vito may be the most basic transporter in the model range that tops out as the luxury V-Class models, but it did perform functionally well. The obvious luxuries and more potent power were certainly missed. The Vito can’t compare to even the most basic excellent V-class models sold in our market, its basically a panel truck with fixed seating. It was also a perennial obstacle in finding parking at reasonable distances from wherever we were visiting because of its size. Thankfully the school bus was exactly that, a means to an end. It did not compromise our magnificent family trip and it did safely bring us back home.
|Engine||Inline-4, 2143 cc, dohc 16V, Direct Injection Two-Stage Turbodiesel, 7-speed AT|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||134 bhp @ 3800 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||243 lb-ft @ 1200-2400 rpm|
|Top Speed||186 km/h (116 mph)|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||11.9 sec.|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||6.1 L/100km Overall|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||€ 34,755.74|
|What's Great||ECO engine start/stop function, capacity, decent Audio 15 Infotainment, Crosswind Assist, ADAPTIVE ESP®.|
|What's Not So||Very poor halogen headlights with no foglamps, fixed-angle seating, no OEM navigation, industrial driving performance.|
|C! Editors Rating||8/10|