Early in the New Year, we will be adding a new company owned vehicle to our fleet, and have managed to narrow down our choice to two vehicles. Both excellent are excellent vehicles in there own right, and both have advantages over the other. At Personal Class Travel, we have always put our clients and members needs, wants and desires at the forefront of what we do. Everything we do is done with the aim of total customer satisfaction. With that in mind, we thought, what better way to increase customer satisfaction than to give our clients and potential clients the chance to have a say in what they could be driven in. So that is exactly what we are going to do. We will let you know about each of the two cars we have shortlisted, and would love to hear your opinions on each of them, and ultimately which one would be better for your needs and desires, and which one you would prefer to be driven in.
Volvo s90 / v90
The first of the two is the Volvo S90 or Volvo V90. Two cars, admittedly. However, they are the Saloon and Estate versions of the same car. With the S90 being the saloon, and V90 being the estate. So we feel we can class them as one.
We drove the Volvo S90 a few weeks ago when we were invited by Professional Driver Magazine, to be one of the judges for their Car of the Year Awards. It was without doubt one of our favourite cars on the shortlist to judged. When faced with competition from vehicles such as the Mercedes S Class, BMW X5, Mercedes GLE & BMW 7 Series, the Volvo S90 came a very very close 2nd, narrowly beaten by the BMW 745 Le PHEV. In our opinion anyway. We loved it, and it instantly became a hot favourite to become the next company owned car on the fleet.
Over the years Volvo have developed an unerring reputation for both Safety and Reliability. Two things we pride ourselves on, so it feels like a good fit from a brand image alignment view point. The S90 is also an incredibly comfortable place to be. With ample leg room in the rear, even for six foot plus passengers, seated behind a six foot driver. The S90 glides along smoothly and quietly, whilst its occupants remain comfortable and relaxed, even on the longest journeys.
One of the very few downsides to the S90 is the boot did not appear to be all that big. We estimate that 2 large cases would fill it. Possibly with room for some carry on hand luggage. This is due to it being a Saloon. The V90 however, is the estate version of the S90. Both cars are identical, with the exception of the boot, and the V90 should comfortably be able to handle 4 large suitcases just as any estate car would be expected too. We suspect that the V90 may have marginally more road noise in the car than the S90. This is due to the S90 being a saloon, and as such the cabin is more insulated from the boot due to the fixed bulk head. With V90, the occupants have slightly less noise protection from the road, due to the estate not having a fixed bulk head. This means the occupants are more exposed the luggage area, and noise generated underneath the luggage area can travel into the cabin easier, as there is no fixed bulk head to deaden the sound as there is with the S90.
The final downside with the S90 / V90 is the transmission tunnel is quite high at the rear. This could compromise comfort and leg room, particularly on longer journeys, should there be more 3 people sat in the back of the car.
Mercedes Vito Tourer
It is this potentially compromised leg room and comfort with more than 3 passengers, and reduced luggage capacity for the S90, that brings us to the second car on our shortlist. The Mercedes Vito Tourer
For decades, Mercedes has been a by word for comfort and luxury. The Vito Tourer takes this reputation for comfort and gives it extra seats. Three extra to be precise. Where as the Volvo S90 / V90 can only be licenced for 4 passengers, the Mercedes Vito can be licenced for 7. Meaning we would be able to provide our services to nearly twice as many people in one go. Reducing the need for either a second vehicle, or two trips.
The Mercedes Vito’s seating comes courtesy of 3 rows of passenger seats. One passenger seat in the front of the vehicle with the driver, and two rows of three in the back. The rear seats can also be moved around depending on the needs of the passengers. The middle row can be placed to face forwards, so all passengers are facing forward. Or they can be turned around, and face the rear row in what is known as “Conference Seating”. This layout allows up to 6 passengers to sit in the rear and all face each other. Should we end up adding a Vito to our fleet over an S90 / V90, this would be our default layout. The rear row can also be moved forwards and backwards depending on what is required. If there is no luggage, they can be moved back to create even more leg room. If there is a substantial amount of luggage, they can be moved forward to create more luggage space.
Even with the seats more forward, if there is nobody sat in the middle row of seats, the Mercedes Vito offers more leg room than even the tallest of passengers would ever need. It is this versatility that has led to the Vito being shortlisted. It is basically every vehicle you would ever need, and with one on the fleet, we would be able to fulfil any and all bookings in house, without the need to sub contract the booking as is currently the case for larger groups.
As with the S90 / V90 there are some downsides to the Mercedes Vito. After all, if it was the perfect vehicle, we wouldn’t even be trying to decide. As we are seeking your opinions on which vehicle to go for, it is only fair we list the downsides to the Mercedes Vito as we see them. Just as we have with the S90 / V90.
The Mercedes Vito Tourer, is based on the Mercedes Vito Van. The van itself is excellent, as is the Vito, however the Vito Tourer is essentially a van with seats and carpets. This does lead to some reduction in refinement. In short the S90 is far more refined than the Vito, and offers a superior passenger experience. That said, most of the time you will be hard pushed to notice you are in a van with seats and carpets. Whilst the Vito is not as refined as the S90, it still offers a great deal more refinement than a lot of vehicles.
The S90 / V90 are both available in environmentally friendly Hybrid versions (which is what we would most likely opt for should we end up adding an S90 / V90 to the fleet). The Vito however is only available with a Diesel engine. Not only does this mean higher emissions, and more polluting, it also means that the vehicle may have to pay to enter clean air zones in places such as in Bath and Birmingham or the London Low Emission Zone and Ultra Low Emission Zone, which would increase the cost of the journey.
Whilst have two rows of seats in the rear allows for more people to travel together, due to the size of the sliding door and the position of the middle row, you find yourself having to climb around seats to get into the vehicle. Whilst there is still plenty of room to do so, it does present an slight obstacle.
Due to the Vito being based on a van, it is higher off the ground than a saloon car. Where as with the S90 / V90, you sit into the car, with the Vito, you climb up into it. This combined with the middle row of seats, could make the Vito slightly harder to get into for the elderly and those with mobility issues.
The final downside to the Vito in our opinion is the actual size of it. Sat in the back row, it can be difficult to communicate with the driver, as you are 2 to 3 meters away from them. If you are travelling alone, then this is easily solved by sitting in the front alongside the driver. However if you are someone who prefers to be in the rear, when being driven, then you may struggle to communicate with the driver.
Tell us what you Think.
Now that we have given you our thoughts on both the vehicles on our shortlist, let us know which one you think we should go for. Either comment below, send an email to email@example.com or head over to our Facebook Page to let us know what you think, and which vehicle you would prefer to be driven in by us in the future