The Mercedes-Benz of people movers. Designed for people who take task of transporting people seriously, this spacious V-Class shares its platform with Benz’ commercial Vito van.
How much does it cost and what do you get?
Ever had to squeeze into the third row of a seven-seat SUV? It’s often an undignified and uncomfortable experience, particularly for adults. The V-Class’ main selling point is the luxury of space - this is an open-plan van offering easy access to six, seven or eight seats intended to accommodate grown-ups.
The big bus isn’t particularly cheap, priced from $74,990 plus options and on-road costs that pushes its sticker well north of $80,000.
Measured by the metre, that’s not bad going for a new Mercedes, and you do get a taste of the brand’s luxury and tech appeal.
Standard kit includes 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera hooked up to a 7-inch interior display, power sliding doors and a six-seat cabin layout. Our test model features eight seats ($1224), a 360-degree camera ($560) and metallic paint ($1355) that make it a more attractive proposition.
Mercedes supports the V-Class with a three-year, 200,000-kilometre warranty.
What’s under the bonnet?
The V220 is powered by a 2.2-litre turbo diesel engine that sends 120kW and 380Nm to the rear wheels through a seven-speed automatic transmission.
Reasonably punchy on the road, the diesel can feel a touch unrefined when pressed into service. How you feel about that will be shaped by your expectations surrounding the model - approach it as a van, and you’ll likely be impressed by the effortless torque and well sorted shifts of its engine and transmission combination.
But those looking to sample a new Mercedes may be disappointed by the experience.
What’s it like to drive?
The same is true on the road, where the V-Class’ humble origins are evident in its cab-forward, van-like driving position. Mercedes’ rear-drive layout means you won’t be troubled by torque steer tugging at the steering wheel, offering a traction advantage when loaded up with passengers or gear.
Light steering, excellent visibility and powerful brakes make the V220 easy to punt in urban traffic, where the machine is frequently used by airport, hotel and corporate shuttle services.
Drivers who want to sharpen the V-Class’ dynamics can specify sports suspension and low-profile 18-inch wheels, which feels like a somewhat selfish choice given the model’s design purpose.
What’s it like inside?
Up front, the V-Class is all modern Mercedes - think door-mounted seat controls, a multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles, 8-inch stereo with sat Nav and digital radio, sports pedals and more. It’s a comfortable place to be, offering a wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustment as well as adjustable armrests for driver and front passenger.
Rear occupants get a decent amount of room, along with individual seats and headrests (as opposed to simple benches) that represent a comfortable and safe proposition. We frequently ride in all three rows of the V-Class range and find it to be one of the most comfortable ways to get lots of people and gear from A to B.
Buyers keen to emphasise the Mercedes’ luxury appeal can add a panoramic sunroof ($3076), Burmester stereo ($1385) and Comand online infotainment system ($2300) to the V-Class’ feature list. Additional versatility is offered in the form of a parcel shelf and folding table that make the van easier to work with.
Is it safe?
Yep, the V-Class offers a full suite of front airbags as standard, along with curtain rear airbags and crash-prevention features such as forward collision warning, driver attention monitoring and crosswind assistance features. Active cruise control is a $1000 option well worth considering for people who spend a lot of time on the road.
Would I buy it?
If I had a good reason to, sure. The V-Class’ specialised nature and comparatively high price restrict it to corporate customers and cashed-up families with enough kids to start a tennis club - i don’t qualify for either of those.
What else should I consider?
Volkswagen’s Transporter is a natural rival, while the Kia Carnival is a cheaper package for families in need of an eight-seater.
2018 Mercedes-Benz V220 pricing and specifications:
Price: From $74,990 plus on-road costs
Engine: 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
Power: 120kW at 3800rpm
Torque: 380Nm at 1400-2400rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed auto, rear-wheel-drive
Fuel use: 5.7L/100km
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The declared fuel consumption figures are determined by testing under standardised laboratory conditions to comply with ADR 81/02. Real world fuel consumption is influenced by many additional factors such as individual driving style, load, traffic and vehicle condition. The declared fuel consumption figure should only be used for the purpose of comparison amongst vehicles.