Those families with kids that have numerous extra-curricular activities need a vehicle that can take them from point A to point B quickly, yet give them creature comforts rivaling that of their homes. With that in mind, CATS Motors Inc. (official distributors of Mercedes-Benz vehicles) recently unveiled its new Viano MPV (multipurpose vehicle) at the Mercedes-Benz Fort Bonifacio Global City (Taguig) showroom.

Home on the road

Outside, the Viano is a clever blend of quality and attention to detail. Its front view has wedge-shaped contours rising up from front to rear and striking wheel cut-outs supporting the wide-set chassis. Smooth, rounded forms on its flanks merge into the flush-bonded windows to ensure not only stylistic homogeneity, but also a drag coefficient of 0.33 extremely impressive for its class. The rear is defined by large, vertically arranged tailights, which enhance the load compartment's styling and low sill.

Inside, the Viano seats seven people in great comfort. A vertically mounted divider between the two rear-facing captain's chairs move forward or back in one inch increments, and contains a table long, high and wide enough for a five-player game of Texas Hold 'Em poker. The aforementioned two rear-facing captain's chairs also move forward or back in one inch increments to give occupants more flexible space and plenty of legroom where they need it. The tailgate has an opening angle of around 90 degrees and is fitted on both sides with dual-purpose gas-filled struts, which serve as a limiter for the opening angle and aid the closing process. The large side sliding door makes loading and unloading bulky goods much easier than its Vito sibling, and can also be locked and unlocked by radio remote control in the same way as the tailgate. Lastly, decentralized power assisted door locks allows the sliding door and tailgate to be locked and unlocked independently of the front doors.

Not just creature comforts

The P4.3 million Viano comes with a 3.0L V6 gasoline engine that weighs only 26.7 kg, a major factor in helping the powerplant put out 190 hp and 270 NM of torque. The engine also comes with a Bosch Motronic ME 2.8 electronic control unit, which works in tandem with large valve cross sections to cut fuel consumption (thus reducing emissions) and helps push replacement intervals for the long-life spark plugs up to 100,000 km. The five-speed automatic transmission (mated to a rear-wheel-drive setup) is operated using an ergonomically positioned selector lever located in the centre console of the cockpit area.

The Viano boasts of first-class safety. A series of independent crash tests carried out on the Viano by the German car magazine Firmenauto, in collaboration with the testing organization Dekra, discerned that the Viano got a score on a par with a five-star Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme, which determines the crashworthiness of a vehicle) rating - the highest score achievable.

The combination of performance, comfort and safety makes the Viano a great MPV search option for the basketball mom, or those with extended families that frequently go out of town. "The MPV market is constantly increasing since 2005 and we believe that with the Viano's introduction here in the Philippines, this model will soon be considered as the market-leader in premium luxury MPVs," said Viano Global Training (DaimlerChrysler) Representative Christoph Heckhausen.

Those who would like to check out the new Viano may visit the Mercedes-Benz Greenhills and Mercedes-Benz Global City showrooms during the Mercedes-Benz All Star Weekend on March 9-11, 2007. For more info, please call (632) 723 5808 or (632) 815 7777 or visit