The name Vaneo came from the “Van” word. It was built on the same platform with the first generation of A-Class and it was the first front-wheel-drive Mercedes-Benz. It had only four-cylinder engines mated to 5-speed manual or 5-speed automatic transmission. Under the hood, there were two gasoline options: a 1.6-liter and a 1.9-liter engine that offered 82 hp and 102 hp for the first version and 125 for the latter. The two turbodiesel versions Vaneo 1.7 CDI engines were available with an output of 75 hp and 90 hp.
The look was strange, with a sloped front area, like the A-Class, a long and straight roof, and a flat vertical back. It was designed to be used for contractors, families and taxi drivers. It had a simple layout design that allowed up to 7 seats inside. While the front seats were accessed through regular doors, in the rear it had sliding doors. In the back, it featured a liftgate.
Inside, there were some intelligent features such as the front passenger’s seat, which could have been removed and used as a picnic table or removed and offer an up to 2970 mm (117”) long loading space to load a ladder, for instance. With the rear seats removed, the total loading capacity was up to 3000 liters (106 cu-ft). For the contractors, there was also a special protection system for dirty objects made out of scratch-resistant material.
Despite all the intelligent features, the Vaneo project was axed after three years of production.