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Mercedes-Benz V-Class MPV (2019 - ) review

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The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 4.0

When it comes to executive-level transport for up to eight people, the V-Class is the only real choice. It’s a more luxurious offering than cars like the VW Caravelle, but luckily the absence of rivals doesn’t mean Mercedes has rested on its laurels. The V-Class is roomy, versatile and well-made, and it’s pretty good to drive too.

Pros

  • Loads of space
  • Best quality in this type of vehicle
  • Comfortable ride and impressive handling

Cons

  • Marco Polo version doesn’t handle as well
  • Steering feel is disappointing
  • Expensive

Interested in buying a Mercedes-Benz V Class?

How good does it look? 4/5

This version of the V-Class is broadly the same as the model launched in 2015, but it’s had a mid-life spruce up with updated headlights and a wide grille at the front. That said, it’s still very similar to the way it was before, which is very square and van-like to maximise interior space. It’s available in three different lengths: standard, long and extra-long.

All versions get full LED headlights and alloy wheels. There are three trim levels – Sport, AMG Line and Exclusive (although Exclusive is only available in Long) – and you can also have your V-Class as a campervan, called the Marco Polo.

Sport models ride on 18-inch wheels, while AMG Line models have a sportier bodykit, and have 19-inch wheels. Exclusive V-Classes have a panoramic sunroof.

The Marco Polo comes in two versions – normal and Horizon, which doesn’t have a kitchen – and in Sport or AMG Line trim.

What's the interior like? 3/5

Inside, there’s a revamped dashboard with a central infotainment screen controlled via a dial in the centre console. The feel of the plastics isn’t quite as classy as the look, and not as nice as in Mercedes’ less van-like cars, but it still feels like a suitably premium environment. You sit quite high in the front, but the seats are very comfortable for spending long hours in.

How practical is it? 5/5

The practicality of the V-Class is its main selling point, and thankfully it excels. You can spec the back of your V-Class in a variety of ways. The standard-length car comes with seven seats in a 2-2-3 formation, while the Exclusive model comes with six individual chairs. Long and Extra Long cars come with eight seats as standard in a 2-3-3 format, but you can specify seven seats instead. All of the layouts give plenty of head and legroom for adults.

The Marco Polo campervan comes in two forms. The Horizon model has five seats, with a rear bench of three seats that folds down into a bed. There’s also another double bed on the roof, with a pop-up canopy. The regular Marco Polo has four seats, with a kitchen unit installed down the left-hand side, containing a sink, cooking hob and fridge. It also has an electric pop-up roof.

What's it like to drive? 4/5

Surprisingly for such a large, practicality-focused, the V-Class handles well, if you accept that it’s not really a car, it’s more of a posh van. All models come on Mercedes’ Agility Control suspension, which adjusts itself to deal with whatever surface it encounters. As a result, the V-Class Long that we tried boasts a smooth, comfortable ride but also impressively contains body-roll through the bends, feeling solid and composed. The steering lets it down a bit though. It’s very light, which means you’re never entirely confident of what the front wheels are doing. It does, however, make for easy manoeuvring at low speeds.

The suspension can’t quite counteract the extra weight in the Marco Polo, which feels a bit less agile through the bends, although it’s still perfectly acceptable for leisurely progress.

How powerful is it? 4/5

There’s a choice of two diesel engines in this version of the V-Class. The V 220 d has 163 horsepower, and the V 300 d has 239 horsepower. While the V 200 d isn’t bad at all, the extra power is very useful when it comes to hauling a full complement of passengers (or an actual kitchen in the Marco Polo), and we suspect this will be the one that most people go for. It’s quite and strong, too. Gears are changed by a smooth and unobtrusive nine-speed automatic gearbox.

Expect to see a full-electric version of the V-Class towards the end of 2019.

How much will it cost me? 3/5

Whatever way you look at it, the V-Class isn’t cheap, and if you’re purely looking for practicality then there are cheaper options out there. But there aren’t any as swanky and luxurious as this, so that’s what you’re paying the extra for. Hyundai’s i800 will seat eight for almost half the price, and Volkswagen’s Caravelle and the Ford Tourneo Custom are also thousands cheaper than the Merc. Sure, the resale value of the V-Class is likely to be very reasonable, but overall the image of the Mercedes badge is likely to cost you.

How reliable is it? 3/5

Mercedes doesn’t have a particularly great record for reliability. We don’t have data for the latest generation of V-Class, but its predecessor, the Viano, was given a poor rating by Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index. JD Power’s 2019 Vehicle Dependability Study put Mercedes in the bottom half of the manufacturer tables, with a score well below the industry average. Should anything go wrong with your V-Class, Mercedes offers a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.

How safe is it? 4/5

The V-Class was crash tested by safety organisation EuroNCAP in 2014 and scored the maximum five stars, which is reassuring even if standards have moved on since then. Automatic emergency braking is included as standard on all models and all have parking cameras. There are front, side and window airbags for driver and front passengers.

The Driving Assistance Pack – which includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning system and lane-keep assist – is standard on the Exclusive model but an option on other versions.

How much equipment do I get? 4/5

As you’d expect for the high price, the V-Class comes with a decent amount of features included. The entry-level Sport model has a powered boot-lid and in Long versions, a panoramic sunroof, with electric sliding doors, satellite navigation and leather upholstery. Upgrade to AMG Line and you get the exterior styling but not much inside save for racier-looking pedals and some carbon-effect trim. The Exclusive trim comes with the Driving Assistance package mentioned above and a Burmester sound system, as well as a centre console with a fridge in it. The first row of seats are super-swanky, with massage and recline functions and a footrests too.

Why buy? 4/5

If you’re in the market for a large people carrier and it has to be as luxurious as possible, then the V-Class is the only choice. It’s as swanky as swanky gets for this class of vehicle, and it’s not too bad to drive either. Oh, and the Marco Polo version will get you camping in some serious style.

Interested in buying a Mercedes-Benz V Class?