Our Benny is a Mercedes Benz Vario 816 DA 4x4 from 2011. It is a midsize truck in the
European 7,5 tons league. The basic concept of this vehicle goes back to the 80s and established a separate category between vans/transporters (mainly up
to 5 tons) and heavy trucks over 7,5 tons. The Vario uses heavy truck technology, which makes the vehicle very
robust. The engine is considered to be unbreakable. That is one of the reasons why the Vario was also used by the German army
and local authorities (road construction, forrest works). While Sprinter, Daily & Co offer a car-like driving experience, the Vario has a very rough charm. We like
The Vario has no luxury. There is
power steering and ABS, an air conditioning and electric mirrors. Other modern achievements such as ESP or passenger
airbags do not exist. And that's good, because what doesn't exist can't
break. On the other side, the Vario -with its Euro 5 engine- is not free of electronics.
The Vario is available with four wheelbases from 3.15m to 4.8m. Our Benny has the 4.25 m wheelbase with rear twin wheels. This is good for the stability and security (if a rear tire blows up), but limits hardcore off-road driving (which we do not plan anyway). The ground clearance is sufficient for our purposes. Some Vario expedition vehicles have converted to super single tires. In these cases the maximum permissible weight is reduced down to 7 tons and in Switzerland it is not so easy to get the permission for them.
The Vario has a geat advantage over a heavy truck with more than 7.5 tons: With its compact size the Vario is perfect to manage small roads and small villages. This easy handling outweighs the somewhat limited offroad capabilities.
Furthermore we like the global presence of Mercedes Benz, the availability of spare parts
and the Vario 4x4 community.
OM 904 LA diesel engine with 4,25 litres, 4-cylinder, 156 hp and 610 Nm at 1200 to 1600 rpm.
Direct injection, turbocharger and intercooler.
Consumption: 18 - 20 litres / 100km
Bluetec Euro 5
The MB Vario has a GVW of 7.5 tons. It is possible to increase GVW up to 8,2
Our Benny has a weight of 6,7 tons (incl. water, gas, diesel and 1 driver), leaving a payload of 0,8 tons.
Length is 6,90m, width is 2,37m and height is 3,55m.
Permanent 4x4 drive with a 6 speed manual transmission.
The Vario has a longitudinal differential lock (the driving force is equally distributed to the front and rear axle) and a rear axle differential (the driving force is equally distributed to the wheels of the rear axle).
In addition, the Vario has a reduction transmission (offroad).
Wheelbase 4.25 m
Tires 9.5 17.5 R
Hydraulic braking system
Auxiliary diesel heater with timer