THE MERCEDES-BENZ VITO has been declared the safest commercial vehicle on sale in Australia, after scoring a full 5-Stars in the Australian New Car Assessment Program's rigorous crash safety test.
The Vito had previously achieved a 4-Star rating, but recent pole-impact testing conducted by Autoliv in Australia has now seen that rating upgraded.
"Van drivers have not always enjoyed the same safety technologies as car drivers, and we have acted to redress the balance," Ken Matthews, Managing Director of Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicles in Australia, said.
"We wouldn't contemplate compromising on workplace safety for our office-based employees or our staff on the road so why would we accept a lower level of safety for courier and delivery drivers?
"We know this will make a real-world difference to their work place safety every single day."
ANCAP recently declared commercial vehicle safety as a key occupational health and safety issue for employers and employees, and Lauchlan McIntosh, Chairman of ANCAP, says the Vito's 5-Star score is a positive sign for the commercial vehicle segment.
"We have seen over the last twelve months manufacturers actively working to build safety into vans, and it is pleasing to see these improvements showing through with a number of 4-star ratings prior to today's announcement of the Mercedes-Benz five-star result," Mr McIntosh said.
"This 5-Star result demonstrates that commercial vehicles can and should be just as safe as a passenger car."
The Mercedes-Benz Vito boasts stability control, ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist as standard equipment.
A driver airbag is also standard, with side and curtain airbags an optional extra (standard on the Vito wagon and Viano). The 2009 Mercedes-Benz Vito range starts at $34,490.