Mercedes Valente

Sponsored by Nuffnang for Mercedes-Benz Valente.  

A few weeks ago I was presented with an opportunity to test-drive a Mercedes-Benz Valente for a week.

I didn’t hesitate.

Mercedes-Benz Sydney in Alexandria

Mercedes-Benz Sydney in Alexandria

I collected the car from Ian Watts at Mercedes-Benz Sydney in Alexandria.  Ian told me that in the past the Valente has been sold mostly to those in the hire car industry or to boutique hotels offering a pick-up and drop-off service, however, increasingly, the Valente is being sold to mums with two or more children.  The Valente section of the Mercedes showroom in Alexandria used to deal exclusively with commercial clients however, because the Valente is increasingly being bought by mums, the dealership is enjoying looking after families.

Easily fits into the parking space (don't look at how I'm on the line!)

Easily fits into the parking space (don’t look at how I’m on the line!)

When Ian greeted me he was enthusiastic and all smiles.  He took me into his office and gave me some information on the car like how it has no less than four points for child restraints, how there are three sunroofs, how the passenger seats can be rotated to allow for a variety of seating options, and how there’s a very handy phone charger in the glove box so you can stop your i-phone and i-pad from going flat-line.

There are a few colour options but I really liked this one

There are a few colour options but I really liked this one

Then Ian gave me a tour of the car.  He showed me how the side doors open and close with just the touch of a button so there’s none of that tugging and struggling with a large sliding door.  He also demonstrated, by sticking his hand in the door as it was closing, that the side doors are fitted with a sensor and if it becomes aware of a body part being in the way of the door closing, it will spring back – very handy when you have children who often have their limbs and appendages in the wrong place at the wrong time.

A lovely view through the large windscreen

A lovely view through the large windscreen

I sat behind the wheel and Ian gave me the ‘key’ which is actually keyless entry and then to make me comfortable behind the wheel Ian showed me how the seat moves in a thousand different directions so it wasn’t long before I settled into a comfy lounge chair position with plenty of leg room.  Ian asked me my favourite radio stations and put them into the system, then blue-toothed my phone into the sat-nav.  He showed me how to use the sat-nav and then plugged in my address so I wouldn’t find myself lost on my way home.

Key-less entry and so many controls on the steering wheel

Key-less entry and so many controls on the steering wheel

I waved goodbye to Ian and with a full tank of diesel in the 2.2L 4-cylinder twin-turbo engine, I roared out of the showroom and onto the main road.

The dual side doors are very wide opening making it easy to get in and out of the vehicle

The dual side doors are very wide opening making it easy to get in and out of the vehicle

What I instantly loved about the Valente was the excellent and commanding view I had over all the other traffic on the road.  For a long way up ahead I could see exactly what was happening and that made me feel very safe.  The great visibility is not only due to the raised position of the vehicle but also because of the larger side mirrors and the height and size of the windows.

The privacy screen can be removed to create larger boot space

The privacy screen can be removed to create larger boot space

Yet it doesn’t feel big.  I normally drive a people-mover and so am used to a larger vehicle and the Valente didn’t seem all that much bigger than my current car, just higher with better visibility and more space.

Lots of leg room

Lots of leg room

When I arrived home, the car-enthusiast of the house gave the car a once-over.  He was impressed with the boot space and I told him the third row of seats can be removed to create even more boot space and if you still need more space, you can also remove the second row of seats – handy if you’re moving house or, at Christmas-time, doing what I do and buy a 10-foot tree.

Giving it the once-over

Giving it the once-over

During the week I had the car, I took it everywhere and we even went away in it to Nelson Bay.  On that trip it was so lovely to have so much space!  Alfie had the choice of six seats to to choose from and he certainly made the most of all his options.  He loved having his own cup-holders and places to put all his bits and pieces.  What I noticed is that wherever you sit in the car, you have plenty of leg-room; none of this being squashed just because you’re in the back row.

He made sure he tried out all the seats

He made sure he tried out all the seats

On the open road a few things surprised me.  One was just how powerful this 4-cylinder car is.  If we needed to over-take or get around a ditherer, there was plenty of acceleration.  The other surprise was just how economical the car is.  In the time that I had the car, despite taking it to a blogging lunch, to indoor rock climbing, to the city, to Little Athletics, to a black tie function, to Nelson Bay (two and a half hours from Sydney) and then on some touristy drives, I returned the car to Mercedes in Alexandria with still plenty of petrol in the tank.

This time he's in the back row.  Carl and I could almost have a private conversation

This time he’s in the back row. Carl and I could almost have a private conversation

In terms of maneuverability, the car has an unbelievable lock.  Every time I had to turn the car around I could do it in one turn, not three.  Amazing!  And in terms of getting in and out of tight spots, the car has sensors that beep at you if you get too close to something like a pole and there’s also a very handy reverse camera.  Getting around car parks has never been so easy!

'Can I get you anything else?'

‘Can I get you anything else?’

I loved driving the Valente and am not surprised it was awarded People Mover of the Year in 2012 and 2013.  With its 5-star ANCAP rating you feel extremely safe.  Another safety feature is that in an emergency, the ADAPTIVE ESP system is activated which can detect the weight distribution of all passengers and respond accordingly.

On the road to Nelson Bay

On the road to Nelson Bay

The Valente drives like a car but has all the benefits of a people-mover.  With everything the car offers and with so many luxury features it’s amazing that the price of a Valente starts at just under $60,000.  Base models include stylish features like 17-inch alloy wheels, rear tinted windows and day-time running lights.  It’s a very smart looking vehicle.

There's very good height in the Valente to aid in moving around

There’s very good height in the Valente to aid in moving around

But I think my experience with the Valente can best be summed up by my husband’s words.  As I prepared to take the Valente back to the dealership he asked, ‘Would you like me to upgrade your people mover?’

Mercedes-Benz Sydney in Alexandria

Mercedes-Benz Sydney in Alexandria

Would you like to upgrade to a Valente for you and your family?

Comments

  1. You get the best jobs! That’s a beautiful car and you look beautiful driving it.

  2. This is just as much fun as me with the pro appliances! What a week, eh? I have been seeing more of these on the road even here and they’re driven by mums. I’d like one but don’t know if it’ll for my kids… Who are full size long legged adults!

    • There’s lots of leg room for long-legged adults, Nazneen and all the rows of seats are adjustable so you can create extra leg room if you need to.

  3. That IS a pretty car though I don’t know enough about judging them than to evaluate that they have the right number of tires, 4 doors (I gave up 2 doors after my first car) and a steering wheel in the ‘right’ place. 🙂

  4. How FUN! What the heck do you do for a living?
    What’s next? Perhaps a Jaguar!! xx

  5. I can’t even drive a 4WD so I don’t know how I would go with this but I’m sure there are many that would love it!

  6. Did the Uni students get your car for a week?! I’m sure it was lovely to drive a brand new car around – it looks like a tardis to be honest with all those seats in the back.

    • Yes, Nancy, the uni students had full use of my car for that week and they were thrilled. They did want to drive the Valente but I wasn’t sure that was part of the rules so they had to be content with the choice of one of the other seven seats!

  7. How fun, are you going to upgrade?

  8. Dear Charlie,

    This people mover looks pretty neat and $60k seems like great value too.

  9. Leg room plus comfy seats are winner features. Thanks for showing us what this vehicle is like!

    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

  10. Good maneuverability in a big “people-mover” like this one is impressive!
    So…did your husband uprade your “people-mover”?
    P.S. I think “people-mover” is gonna be my new favorite word 😉

  11. People-mover sounds so much more eloquent than “van.” Our grown “kids” ask why we still own a van given none of them live at home anymore. My answer: Because we have to move you.

    • That’s exactly what I was thinking, Audrey – how handy this car would be when you have to move furniture (something I always seem to be doing!) It would have been great to have had this car when I had to pick up al the props for Archie’s 21st!

  12. Wow! That is a really nice vehicle! I am not one for mini-vans at all, but I wouldn’t mind scooting around town in that! Very nice! I love all the room it has…Alfie looked like he was having a blast in there! 🙂 xo

  13. How fun! Great review. If my kids were still little, I would cart them around in a valente for sure!

  14. I had never heard of the valente! I guess that reflects it previously being used by businesses more than individuals / families. How fun that you got to test drive it, and I am sure Alfie had a ball trying out all those seats! The efficient turning circle and fuel economy are impressive for a car of its size too.

    • It was fun, Kari and I was so so sad to hand it back! When I had it for the week I took it EVERYWHERE! Definitely the turning circle and fuel economy are excellent features.

  15. What a nice, roomy vehicle! No van I’ve ever driven could make turns like this one!

  16. Ooh yes I agree with Maureen! I think Alfie got the best deal though. What fun!

  17. How cool is that? I’d love to test drive a car, but I would hope for something a little sportier since I don’t have the need to move people. We actually don’t have that model here, or at least I haven’t noticed it. It sounds like your experience with that dealership was good too.

  18. Pete and I are in the market for a new SUV type vehicle. We need the extra space for bikes and the like, not children so also look for seats that can be removed or put down.
    How fun to drive this for a week Charlie. What a pity they didn’t offer you one at cost price afterwards.
    Have super day.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  19. This is quite the car! My daughter and son-in-law would love something like this for their family. I’m in the “Prius” stage of my life, and no longer want the big guys, but they sure are beautiful. I do think the visibility is wonderful, and always a big plus. I am going to remember your reference to “ditherers.” I haven’t used that word in years, and it fits a certain category of drivers just perfectly! I’d take Carl up on his offer. 🙂

  20. Lucky you, though it would have been insured, I would have been shit scared I would crash it lol

  21. Now that’s a great “people mover” and how nice to have it at your disposal for a full week. Sounds like you took it everywhere . I would have, too. I’ve absolutely no use for a vehicle that large but I sure would love to own one. One thing, though, Charlie. How ever did you drive it with its steering wheel being on the wrong side like that? 😀

  22. You look fabulous behind the wheel Charlie. I think this should be a permanent addition to the family.
    Carolyn

  23. This is perfect, my CEO had put me on the ‘car committee’ my work needs a people mover in the next few months, to the top of the list goes this bad boy. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  24. That is a fun job! 🙂 I love Mercedes and very easy to drive. We don’t have this one here in the US. Otherwise all the mini-van drivers will shift to this car! For a big car like this, the big sky light really helps. It was fun reading your review (and you did a great job!).

  25. Oh this would be nice Charlie, especially as some nitwit wrote off my car a couple of weeks ago. Thank goodness none of us were hurt! Great review and love the three sunroofs xox

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