Road test and operational trial In brief
If you've noticed an error in this article please click here to report it so we can fix it.
Price as tested : section.
On the A roads the fuel consumption was excellent with the figures being consistently over the 22mpg mark with the best result coming on the Minster Lovell to Hemel Hempstead section with 12.0 lit/100km (23.5mpg).
In the stop/start traffic conditions around High Wycombe the gap between second and third gear was very noticeable although it did not become a nuisance owing to the flexibility of the engine.
So far as routine level checking is concerned, this can be accomplished quite easily via a hinged front panel. The same panel allows oil and water to be added without the need for removing the engine cowl in the cab. Access to the engine itsel is reasonable without beim outstanding as although all dm major accessories can bi reached it is something of tight squeeze.
Seen from the side thi engine has very peculiar pro portions. In some ways it look: more like a very long strok, two-cylinder rather than ; conventional four.
The fuses are situated be neath a detachable cover oi the horizontal surface abovi the instrument panel. Thi cover is secured by means o a long, finely thread screv which is so fiddly to locati that I can see it being quietl; "lost" at service time.
The rear doors have th4 usual facility of opening to 91 or 180° to suit the geograph: of the loading bay. Interio lights are provided in the load Right: The L608D the heaviest model available from the Dusseldorf factory, features the 0314 four-cylinder engine developing 63kW (86bhp).
continued from page 53
space with several alternative mounting points along the top rail. On this particular model the spare wheel is stored inside the load space where it takes up quite a lot of room.
Easy to handle
In spite of its size the Mercedes handled very well indeed and the tight turning circle of around 46ft was a great asset especially when related to the wheelbase of 4.1m (13ft 6in). In tight situations it was necessary to keep a wary eye on the rear overhang as the loading capacity Of 15cum (530cuft) has not been achieved without taking the overhang out near the 60 per cent maximum.
It is often difficult to comment on the general handling of a van as the test load supplied by the manufacturer sometimes has a far lower centre of gravity than would be the case in normal operation. Thus when I comment that the 608 exhibited little roll on corners, it has to be viewed in this light.
The steering is not power assisted and even at parking speeds it does not really need it. Quite often a lack of effort when parking means a lack of precision in a straight line, but the Mercedes system was an exception and this is import ant with high-sided-vehicles with the need for steering correction in wind.
In the past, tests of Mercedes commercial vehicles have been conspicuous by their poor braking. But this situation was reversed with the 608 which returned satisfactory stopping distances from all three test speeds.
The maximum and mean braking efficiencies stayed remarkably constant whatever the speed and whether the brakes were hot or cold. Certainly I had complete faith in the Mercedes' brakes through.out the duration of the test.
At MIRA the 1 in 5 gradient was disposed of with little difficulty starting from rest but the 1 in 4 proved too much although it could be climbed "on the move." The park brake held the laden van safely facing either up or down the gradient on the 1 in 3 hill— the steepest available at MIRA.
For a delivery van I was impressed with the driving position and also the provision of cloth seats as standard equipment. Far too often the aspects of driver comfort are neglected in a local delivery vehicle on the assumption that the driver is in and out of the cab so often that it does not really matter. This is a point of view with which I am in total disagreement and after this test it is evident that Mercedes-Benz is too.
The price of the "long" 1,608D was 0,413 as tested.