Mercedes Benz Vario 816 DA 4x4

The MB Vario is a midsize truck, which makes full use of the maximum permissible weight of 7.5 tons. The basic concept of this vehicle goes back to the 80s and forms a separate category between vans / transporters and trucks. The Vario uses heavy truck technology, which makes it very robust. The engine is considered unbreakable. While Sprinter, Daily & Co have car-like driving characteristics, the Vario has a very rugged charm. Inside the cab you sit quite above the road and have a good all-round view. The ride is smooth and the noise level quiet acceptable.


The vehicle has no luxury. There is power steering and ABS, an air conditioning and electrically adjustable mirrors. Other modern achievements such as ESP, airbags and electric windows do not exist. And that's good, because what doesn't exist can't break. But in the end also the Vario has some unavoidable electronics inside, especially in the engine management.


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 breaks down), but limits serious off-road driving (which we do not plan anyway). The ground clearance is sufficient for our purposes. Some Vario expedition vehicles have converted to rear single tires. In these cases the maximum permissible weight is reduced down to 7 tons. 


The Vario has a decisive advantage over a heavy truck with more than 7.5 tons: With its compact design the Vario is perfect to manage small roads and small villages. This easy handling outweighs the somewhat limited offroad terrain capabilities.


Furthermore we like the global presence of Mercedes Benz and the availability of spare parts.  


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.


Bluetec Euro 5

Weight / Size

The MB Vario has a GVW of 7.5 tons. It is possible to increase GVW up to 8,2 tons.


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 uniformly distributed to the front and rear axle) and a rear axle differential (the driving force is uniformly distributed on the wheels of the rear axle).


In addition, the Vario has a reduction gear (offroad). 


Wheelbase 4.25 m


Tires 9.5 17.5 R


Engine brake


Hydraulic braking system


Hot-water auxiliary heater with timer


SCR catalyst



Advantages of the Vario

  • Robust heavy truck technology
  • Sufficient torque
  • Compact design
  • 4x4 drive and difflocks
  • Chassis offers 4 tons payload
  • Alcove possible, as driver cabin is not tiltable
  • Worldwide service network


Disadvantages of the Vario

  • Twin wheels, which limit offroad capabilities
  • Engine with a rough charme
  • No passenger airbag in combination with 4x4
  • Not as comfortable as a Mercedes Sprinter
  • AdBlue exhaust treatment
  • Expensive spare parts
  • Diesel consumption 18 - 20 litres / 100km
  • Rust sensitive (if no anti-corrosion treatment)