Some of the first customers for a new business venture providing guided tours of the picturesque Cotswolds have taken to a popular website to express their delight at the Mercedes-Benz minibus in which they made the trip.
Husband-and-wife team Isobel and David Lewis launched Cotswold Exploring with a smartly-liveried, 14-seat Sprinter 316 CDI Tourer supplied by the Oxford branch of Dealer Group Rygor.
With former helicopter pilot David at the wheel, and qualified tour guide Isobel providing the informative and engaging commentary, they offer a choice of itineraries that introduce visitors to a much-loved designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which has inspired artists, writers and philosophers for centuries.
One American guest keen to see The Cotswolds admitted on TripAdvisor.com: “I am not big on guided tours but... I wasn’t comfortable driving on the wrong side of the road, so I decided to give this a try. It was a spotless Mercedes van... its high windows allowed for good viewing as we travelled. Thank you for such a wonderful day!”
“You will be totally at ease with David at the wheel,” observed another TripAdvisor contributor. “Their vehicle, a custom Mercedes touring van, provides the ultimate in luxury comfort and superb visibility. They went the extra mile in so many ways in this perfectly sized vehicle to allow exploration of charming venues that motor coaches cannot access.”
“Their new Mercedes was a hit!” declared another American, while a Canadian couple also had no hesitation in recommending Cotswold Exploring: “The tour guide and driver were very knowledgeable, courteous and helpful,” they reported. “The minibus was new and comfortable.”
Mrs Lewis, who speaks French and Spanish, began conducting walking tours of Oxford on a part-time basis some 12 years ago, while also working as British Airways cabin crew. Mr Lewis, meanwhile, has spent his entire career in aviation.
He recalled: “Having decided the time was now right to start the new business I needed to obtain a PCV licence and find a vehicle. I visited several suppliers but the response from Rygor was the most professional. This was reassuring as Mercedes-Benz was my preferred brand from the outset, not least because it offers a minibus that comes straight off its own production line, which meant I didn’t have to deal with a third-party converter.”
He continued: “We pride ourselves on providing a bespoke service to small groups, and clients at this end of the market like to travel in a quality vehicle. The requirement, therefore, was for a minibus that offers high levels of comfort and safety, as well as good visibility – I was very taken with the stylish lines of the mid-sized Mercedes-Benz Vito but finally chose the Sprinter for its bigger size and greater practicality.”
The couple, who live near Banbury, acquired their vehicle with competitive funding support from Mercedes-Benz Financial Services. It is being inspected and maintained at Rygor’s Oxford branch under a low-cost Mercedes-Benz Service Care Plan.
Cotswold Exploring’s Sprinter is powered by a smooth and responsive four-cylinder engine that transmits its 163 hp output via an optional, seven-speed 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic gearbox. As a BlueEFFICIENCY model it also features a range of measures which contribute to an impressive 36.2 mpg (combined cycle) economy figure.
“The availability of the automatic gearbox was a big plus point,” continued Mr Lewis. “The Sprinter is a pleasure to drive while the exhaustive list of Mercedes-Benz safety features is very reassuring. We’re still just starting out but the response to the vehicle from some of our early clients has been hugely encouraging, and confirmed that we made a wise decision.”
Like all Mercedes-Benz Vans, Cotswold Exploring’s Sprinter came with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty and, because it is being maintained within the manufacturer’s official Dealer Network, also benefits MobiloVan cover, which includes free, emergency roadside assistance for up to 30 years.
Mr Lewis added: “I have been extremely impressed with the customer-focused attitude of the staff at Rygor. They have taken a genuine interest in what we do and nothing has been too much trouble – we had one minor trim issue with the vehicle and it was dealt with quickly and efficiently.”
Paul Naylor, Van Sales Executive at Rygor, Oxford, said: “Mr and Mrs Lewis are not typical customers but our own commitment to Setting Standards, coupled with the comprehensive Mercedes-Benz Vans product line-up, allows us to provide the right transport solution for every light commercial vehicle application. They are a delightful couple and we wish them the very best of luck with their new venture.”
With 11 branches throughout Berkshire, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Somerset, West London, Wiltshire and Worcestershire, Rygor are a multi award winning specialist Mercedes-Benz van and truck Dealership.