Very like the way in which it dominates the luxurious limousine market, Mercedes has lengthy held the monopoly on high-spec passenger vans. The present V-Class, based mostly on the Vito panel van, launched in 2015 and continues to promote strongly in Europe.
4 years after the V-Class first went on sale, Mercedes is shaking issues up. Not solely is the agency gifting its posh folks mover a mid-life facelift, it’s additionally getting ready a totally electrical model with a 100kWh battery (it’ll arrive earlier than the top of the 12 months). However earlier than we strive that version, we’ve been thrown the keys to the recent 300 d – full with a strong new diesel engine from the C-Class saloon.
There’s loads of selection in relation to speccing your new V-Class. Along with the 2 engine choices, Mercedes gives three wheelbases (customary, lengthy and extra-long) in addition to three trim ranges (Sport, AMG Line and Unique).
Regardless of being billed because the mannequin’s mid-cycle replace, little or no has modified on the surface. There are new bumpers and a few up to date trim, however the lights and glasshouse are unaltered. Inside, the V-Class is displaying its age; the iPad-style central display screen and analogue dials merely aren’t as much as the usual of brand-new Merc fashions just like the A-Class and E-Class.
High quality is excellent, thoughts. There are squashy plastics on the doorways and sprint, and also you’ll have to go looking fairly arduous to search out something that feels notably low cost or scratchy – even on probably the most fundamental fashions. The ‘turbine’ air vents are a sensible contact, too.
Normal variations get seven seats, whereas the 2 longer fashions include area for eight. Nonetheless, in the event you go for the expensive long-wheelbase Unique model, you’ll get ‘Luxurious’ rear seats as customary, boasting therapeutic massage and reclining capabilities from the S-Class limo.
However all variations – even the short-wheelbase ones – provide sufficient room for adults to get snug. The seats slide and recline, and may even be eliminated utterly if in case you have one thing notably cumbersome to hold. It’s large inside; the largest V-Class gives a plethora of seating configurations and as much as 5,010 litres of area. No fashionable MPV comes shut.
Actual specs can be introduced later this month, with first deliveries anticipated later in the summertime. That mentioned, Mercedes UK has confirmed that each mannequin will get electrical sliding doorways, in addition to a collection of 13 totally different security and help programs together with Energetic Brake Help, Consideration Help and Crosswind Help.
With 236bhp, the V 300 d doesn’t cling about. Few consumers will commonly utilise the 7.Eight-second Zero-62mph time, however the 500Nm of torque will show helpful – notably with a full cohort of passengers and baggage on board. It’s actually faster than a van with home windows has any proper to be.
Being such a giant automobile, nevertheless, the V-Class doesn’t actually have the dynamics to again up its prodigious energy. You sit decrease than you do in a Volkswagen Caravelle, and physique management is sweet. The long-wheelbase fashions trip properly, too, however the steering is much too mild to offer you any sense that it may be leaned on via quicker bends.
The set-ups on the shorter wheelbase do really feel extra direct, however that’s unlikely to bother the type of purchaser this van is made for. Refinement – each on the town and on the motorway – is extra vital, and that is the place the large Merc impresses most.
The brand new engine is much much less clattery than the two.1-litre unit within the outdated mannequin, and the stop-start system isn’t as intrusive because the set-up in a Caravelle. It isn’t as hushed as an S-Class, nevertheless it’s a soothing place to spend time – no matter whether or not you’re within the entrance or the again. The nine-speed gearbox is best resolved than VW’s DSG, too, particularly when pulling away from junctions or roundabouts.
We additionally tried the V 220 d, which makes use of a de-tuned model of the 300 d’s 2.Zero-litre motor. It’s punchy sufficient and simply as quiet, which means it ought to go well with most consumers – particularly in case your journeys are largely restricted to city errands and the odd airport run. It’s prone to price round £3k lower than the 300 d, too.