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miniplus June issue 31

TEST DRIVE | MERCEDESBENZ SPRINTER UNVI VEGA GT miniplus.co.uk | June 2017 | 23 beneath the panoramic double-glazed windows is deep enough to provide sufficient space for a large vinyl, and the extended windscreen also has space for one at the top without compromising the driver’s view. The minicoach has been supplied with a chromed grille and wheel trims, to which the operator has added matching mirror backs. Combined with the metallic grey livery and reflective decals, that creates a cohesive appearance, which is furthered by heavily-tinted glazing. At the rear, a large drop boot is accessed via a manual parallel-lifting door, although as Julie and Mark’s daughter Gemma observes, closing it is not the easiest task for shorter drivers. That is certainly true, and even taller individuals will need to use both hands to lower the door. Once it is in position, however, slamming it is not necessary; instead, modest pressure at the upper top corners generates an audible click as it locks into place. A powered boot door is optional, but UNVI acknowledges that it eats into space within the compartment. Additional storage is within two side lockers. Underneath, the Frenelsa retarder is obvious. To accommodate it, UNVI replaces the OEM prop shaft with a two-piece unit, and as a result a 75-litre fuel tank is fitted. A retarder is no longer mandatory on 5,500kg GVW Sprinters, although it remains available. Another factory-fit option is rear air suspension, although UNVI has not yet installed it on any Vega GTs for UK or Irish buyers. Mark notes that when loaded, the ride at the rear is more than good enough on steel springs. Cab comforts The Vega GT’s driver is looked after well. In Plants’ minicoach, the seat – like the courier position – matches those in the saloon and it is also heated. Also of benefit to the driver is a two-piece sunblind, and twin USB charging points in the dash. Controls for interior equipment that is part of the UNVI build are within a bank of one-touch buttons by the driver’s left knee. Although hidden slightly by the steering wheel, they are self-intuitive. Plants has chosen a reversing camera that is coupled to the Audio 15 head unit. The standard-fit camera would otherwise be connected to its own monitor, with the camera within the rear spoiler. To meet Plants’ requirement, a Mercedes-Benz example is instead fitted above the spoiler. Storage in and around the cab is reasonable, with space behind the seat for a bag. Access from either side is good, with only the handbrake in the way of reaching the driver’s seat from the saloon. On the road The area surrounding Cheadle gives a good opportunity to put the 2.2-litre, 163bhp engine and the 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic gearbox through their paces. On flat ground there is more than enough power and the Sprinter drives FUEL ECONOMY 25mpg ACCELERATION 0 30mph 8.4sec 0 50mph 18.5sec NOISE @ 50mph FRONT 62dBa MIDDLE 61dBa REAR 61dBa 4 5 6


miniplus June issue 31
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