DaimlerChrysler Australia/Pacific has launched its second wave of light commercial vehicles on the Australian market in the form of the exciting new Mercedes-Benz MB100 and MB140 vans. The newcomers will partner the supremely successful Mercedes Vito and Sprinter van and cab/chassis models since their Australian release less than two years ago.
The arrival of the MB100 and MB140 has been eagerly awaited by DaimlerChrysler and its Light Commercials Vehicles dealer group. Whereas the Vito and Sprinter have had a major impact on the short bonneted vehicle (SBV) segment of the market, the MB100 and MB140 will directly target the high volume "cab-over engine" sector in the 3.0 to 3.3 tonnes gross weight category.
The MB100 has a gross weight rating of 3.0 tonnes and payload capacity of more than 1.2 tonnes. Built on a 2,455mm wheelbase, it is available with a 2.3 litre four cylinder diesel engine or a four cylinder, twin overhead cams, fuel injected petrol engine of the same displacement. The diesel delivers peak performance figures of 58 kW (79 hp) of power and 150 Nm of torque while the petrol dispenses 90 kW (122 hp) and 185 Nm.
The MB140 has a gross weight rating of 3.3 tonnes and payload capacity of more than 1.5 tonnes. Riding on a 2,680mm wheelbase, the MB140 is offered with either the same four cylinder petrol engine used in the MB100 or a 2.9 litre five cylinder diesel engine offering peak outputs of 70 kW (95 hp) and maximum torque of 185 Nm.
Standard features on both the MB100 and MB140 include air conditioning, power windows, power steering, central locking, heated rear window with wiper and washer, outside reverse mirror and stabiliser bars front and rear.
Particularly appealing to many van operators will be the generous load area of both models. The MB100, for instance, has a load capacity of 5.7 cubic metres and a load length of 2,820mm while the MB140 can carry up to 7.3 cubic metres of freight with a loading length stretching 3,270mm.
Each model employs the same standard five-speed overdrive manual transmission which has an aluminium housing to keep weight to a minimum.
Like the Mercedes Vito van, both the MB100 and MB140 boast the many benefits of front-wheel-drive. In fact, among the major competitors in the cab-over van market, the Mercedes MB100 and MB140 are the only models to utilise the widely accepted advantages of front-wheel-drive.
Better handling and stability, greater performance and efficiency, a more spacious interior in both the cabin and load area, quieter ride, and more even load distribution are all qualities directly attributable to the front- wheel-drive system.
As with any vehicle associated with the three-pointed star of Mercedes- Benz, the MB100 and MB140 have been designed with inherently high standards of safety. For instance, the vehicles are built around a reinforced bodyshell and cab area which has been subjected to countless practical crash tests and comprehensive computer simulations.
Stopping power is provided by a vacuum boosted, hydraulic dual-circuit braking system with disc brakes on the front and durable drum brakes with Load Conscious Limiting Valve (LCLV) on the rear.
Handling and load carrying qualities are complimented by an independent front suspension of double wishbones and torsion bars. On the rear, a single parabolic leaf spring on a rigid rear axle delivers an enviable mix of ride quality, road handling, and strong load carrying capacity.
Both the MB100 and MB140 are shod with 195/75R16 radial tyres.
Regular services and maintenance on the MB100 and MB140 have been simplified by a unique lift up bonnet. Having access via the bonnet in a "cab-over engine" designed van lowers servicing hours and increases the accessibility to all essential oil and fluid checks including engine oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, front windscreen washer fluid and air filter.
The MB100 and MB140 retail from $25,500 for the MB100D 2.3 litre diesel, to $26,500 for the MB100 2.3 litre petrol, to $28,900 for the MB140D 2.9 litre diesel and to $29,500 for the MB140 2.3 litre petrol.
"We have been planning the release of these new models for quite some time and a great deal of work has gone into ensuring that we have the right specification and a high level of standard features for the Australian market," said Rod Baily, Senior Executive of Sales and Marketing - Mercedes-Benz Trucks and Transporters. "The MB100 and MB140 add another dimension to our ultimate potential in the van segment and are perfect allies to the Vito and Sprinter."
Typifying Mercedes commitment to the light commercial vehicle market, the new vans are covered by the same comprehensive 3 years / 100,000km warranty that accompanies the Vito and Sprinter. Additionally, Mercedes-Benz "Platinum Care" which includes 24 hours roadside assistance is also standard on every MB100 and MB140.
"The entire range represents outstanding value-for-money." Rod Baily commented.
"The Vito and Sprinter continue to show the market and our competition how serious and well equipped we are in the light commercial business.
However, these new models will not only enhance those qualities, they will also show that we are more than capable of supplying exactly the right product for just about any segment of the light commercial market.
"Only a company with the strength and resources of Mercedes-Benz can truly claim and demonstrate the level of versatility we now have in our light commercial range," Mr Baily concluded.