If you’ve ever wondered which is the worst Mercedes in recent history, then you’ll find out today that the Mercedes Vaneo is the absolute champion, light years behind of the rest of the models.

First of all, I should probably explain what the Mercedes Vaneo is and why you don’t know about it. Then I’ll explain why it’s the worst Mercedes, with the same energy that junkies have when they try to convince you that marijuana does not cause addiction. At least normal marijuana isn’t addictive, because if we’re talking about El Chombo, that’s a different story.

Secondly, the Mercedes Vaneo is based on the first-generation A-Class, only stretched. This is good because you have less chance of rolling over at every bend. Moreover, the Vaneo is not a full fledged van with windows but a more sensible minivan. Basically, an A Class with Zafira looks. But do you know what this A Class has that the Zamfira doesn’t? Sliding door. Or sense.


On the plus side, you have the same sandwich construction that the A Class and B Class are famous for so you have a better chance of surviving a frontal impact. The sandwich construction means that the engine and gearbox slide under the passenger compartment in the event of an impact so you won’t find yourself with the engine in your arms in case you get hit by an Mercedes ML. The downside is that but for more complicated maintainance work, you will have to remove the engine.

But that’s not the only disadvantage. The Mercedes Vaneo ranked poor in reliability and it’s a Mercedes so parts will cost as with any Mercedes. And then you have the purchase cost because a Vaneo costs more than twice as much as a Zafira or a Kangoo.



Mercedes Vaneo Engines


  • 1.6 MPI with 82 and 102 horsepower – By far the most popular engine on the Vaneo and a reliable engine of sorts. The only major issue is that it has an appetite for coil packs, like any naturally aspirated engine. And that means the engine has to be removed and so the parts won’t be worth as much as the labor cost.
  • 1.9 MPI 125 horsepower  – Yes, there was a 1.9 and 125 horsepower petrol available but at what price? No no, literally at what price? That’s why nobody bought it. But if you happen to find one anyway, you can buy it without any worries because it’s another reliable engine from Mercedes. 


1.7 CDI of 90 horsepower – I’m already spoiling my Mercedes Vaneo feng shui. We have another reliable engine mounted in a regrettable car. And you have to make due with the 90 horsepower version and that’s it, as the glorious 59 horsepower 1.7 wasn’t invited to the party.



Mercedes Vaneo General Issues

  • The starter motor often fails and won’t start the car and in order to replace it, you guessed it, the engine has to come out.
  • Automatic gearboxes have a shorter life than anyone dares confront Vinnie Jones, so better avoid them altogether. Do yourself some good. Avoid Vaneo altogether.
  • The sliding door, the Vaneo’s only strength, is a rust bucket. Sure, it happens to the bigger brothers like the Viano, but when your only strong point has issues, what are you left with? It’s like leaving Kevin Hart without a voice. I wonder what Kevin Hart would do if he was left without a voice? 
  • The water pump is actually made of water, because that’s why it’s a water pump and it will need to be replaced often. And for that, you guessed it, the engine has to come out.
  • Constant electrical issues. The alarm goes off with the engine, doors unlock during driving, christmas tree on the instrument panel. That sort of thing.


Mercedes Vaneo Verdict

I’ve always said the W210 E Class is one of the worst Mercedes of recent times. That’s because the Mercedes Vaneo is by far THE worst Mercedes of the recent era. And it’s a very good example that Mercedes is not good at building cheap cars and should learn from this and only build luxury cars. Just like Renault or Opel or Dacia are very good on low-cost cars but bad at expensive cars, so Mercedes should stay away from the low-cost segment. Too bad they didn’t learn anything from Vaneo’s lesson.




What engines do you recommend? For petrol, the 102hp 1.6 MPI is all the engine you need, and for diesel anyway you only get the 90hp 1.7 CDI but at least it’s decent.