Cabbie Michele Berti has pulled rank on his fellow drivers by taking delivery of London’s first, all-new Mercedes-Benz Vito Taxi.
Michele, who passed the famous London Knowledge test 17 years ago, collected his third consecutive Vito cab from sole supplying Dealer S & B Commercials.
The new model is impressively nimble, thanks to its Compact length and an updated version of the innovative steering rear axle employed in previous Vito variants. This allows it to meet the famous 25ft turning circle rule prescribed by Transport for London, so it can execute U-turns in the capital’s congested streets.
The Vito Taxi offers unrivalled levels of space and refined, air-conditioned comfort for the driver and up to six passengers. Standard equipment includes electrically-operated sliding doors and steps on both sides; it is also fully accessible for wheelchair users.
(Pictured) City slicker: Michele Berti’s Flint Grey Mercedes-Benz Vito Taxi wears optional wheel trims, a chrome grille and wind deflectors
The vehicle’s advanced Euro 6 engine transmits its 136 hp output via a smooth, seven-speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic gearbox. Additional fuel-saving BlueEFFICIENCY measures such as the engine Start/Stop function also contribute to the London Vito Taxi’s impressive economy, while its low-emission credentials translate into highly attractive Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) road tax rates.
The Vito’s many attributes are certainly not lost on Michele, who lives in Langdon Hills, near Basildon, Essex, and clocks-up approximately 35,000 miles a year working mainly in The City and West End, sometimes for ComCab London.
“I rented a traditional black cab for a few weeks before my new taxi arrived, and reckon it was costing me £70 a week more in diesel than my previous Vito,” he said. “Yet the new model is even more fuel-efficient than its predecessor!”
He continued: “I’d never go back to an old-style cab because the Vito is a better vehicle for this job in every respect. As well as being more economical it is also a lot more reliable and in a different league when it comes to comfort – there’s none of the bone-jarring ride and heavy steering you’ll find in other taxis, which can take a real toll by the end of a 12-hour shift.
“The passengers love it too, of course, and there’s no problem when it comes to recognition – people in London know all about the Vito taxi now. For my money it’s also the most stylish cab on the market. I’ve specified mine with optional wheel trims, chrome grille and wind deflectors, and it looks fantastic.”
Michele, whose father is Italian, ran his first Vito for four years and his second for three. His latest taxi is the subject of a flexible Agility agreement from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. Agility offers all the benefits of hire purchase with a balloon payment, including low monthly outgoings, but provides customers with a range of options at the end of the term.
Michele has signed-up to a cost-effective Service Plan, under which the vehicle will be maintained at S & B Commercials’ workshop in West Thurrock. Like all Vito Taxi owners, he also benefits from the peace of mind that comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage manufacturer’s warranty and MobiloVan back-up, which includes free, round-the-clock emergency roadside assistance.
Added Michele: “S & B’s Taxi Sales Consultant Stuart Atkinson was very helpful in arranging the attractive finance package, while the Dealer provides first class after sales support.”
The first Vito Taxi was introduced in 2008, since when more than 3,000 examples had been sold. The new model is available exclusively from S & B Commercials, priced from £168 a week with nil deposit*.
S & B’s Stuart Atkinson said: “With all of the intensive testing that’s been carried out the Euro 6 Vito Taxi was a long time coming but it’s certainly been worth the wait. We have a lengthy list of orders from London cabbies who can’t wait to get behind the wheel of a vehicle that’s a genuine game-changer.”