The 9 Passenger Mercedes Viano is an large MPV that gets exceptionally poor reviews. Based on a van its commercial roots are all too apparent according to the motoring journalists that have driven it; one said “The clue’s in the name, just take out the ‘i’ and the ‘o’ “.

Most of the experts suggest that the Viano ’s limited charms just don’t compensate for its considerable shortcomings.

The 9 Passenger Mercedes Viano comes in three lengths: normal, long, extra long. It’s well-appointed in there and there is space for up to eight people too, which explains why upmarket taxi firms like it so much. The headroom is vast and the seats can be configured in various ways giving great flexibility, although they are very heavy to lift in and out.

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It looks more like a car inside than you might expect and everyone should be able to get comfortable and stay that way for the whole journey. With the (very heavy) seats taken out it is utterly enormous inside, which means that you’ll never have to hire a van again – because you already own one…

The driving position of the Mercedes Viano is good but it’s a tricky vehicle to park and you will always be aware of its size in city driving.

On the open road things improve considerably although you’ll always be better off specifying the automatic gearbox, even if it does blunt the performance a little bit. Just be careful round bends; the handling is “utterly insipid with lots of body roll and limited grip.”

It cruises reasonably well in a straight line though, with engine, road and wind noise being well suppressed at higher speeds.

The two diesel engine options for the Mercedes Viano provide lots of low-down grunt and decent fuel economy. The 2.0-litre diesel engine can give 30+mpg but is painfully slow; the 2.2-litre diesel engine is much better and not much less economical.

Value for money
The cheapest and most affordable 7 Passenger Mercedes Viano models don’t have much in the way of standard equipment, and the expensive models cost way, way more than they are worth.

The Mercedes Viano  is “crude and laughably overpriced” according to one motoring journalist, a view that is shared by most of them.

It is big inside and does cruise tolerably well but most buyers should take a close look at its more accomplished rivals, including the VW Touran and Ford S-Max.