Mercedes-Benz V-Class review
The Mercedes-Benz van-based MPV makes a qualitative leap forward.
Neil Briscoe
Neil Briscoe

Published on April 15, 2015

Overall rating: 4/5

It's a van - even if Mercedes encourages us not to call it that, but it's a very plush, comfy and refined van.

In the metal 4/5

Well, it's a van. The Mercedes people were rather keen that we shouldn't consider the new V-Class as a van, but seeing as on the outside it's more or less indistinguishable from the new Vito van, it's rather hard to do anything else. Still, as vans go it looks pretty slick - standard fit LED headlights, side privacy glass and nice 17-inch alloy wheels all help sharpen the look.

When you get inside, it is rather different. You open a big, square door and heft yourself up a couple of feet, just as you do when getting into any van. But once you get your bum on the leather, suddenly, you're in a gorgeous, high-quality Mercedes-Benz cabin - just with a much higher eye levels than you're used to. The steering wheel is compact, chunky and nice to hold, the screen in the centre of the dash is the same 8-inch display you get in the C-Class and the seats are big, squishy and comfy. In fact, it's only the cheaper, scratchier plastics at the bottom of the door panels that give the van game away, and they're well out of sight most of the time.

In the back, thanks to a €5000 option box-tick that also brings with it an automated parking system, there were five pleasantly upholstered seats - three across the rear, facing forwards, and two behind the driver, facing rearwards. These can all be separately lifted out and moved around, but you'd probably better ask a friend to help as they're hefty. A pop-up and fold-out table sat in the middle of the rear compartment floor, bringing just a frisson of business jet to the layout. Basically, it apes what you can get by spending similar money on a VW Caravelle, but does so with a higher-quality interior. Plus, if there's just the two of you in the back, you can stretch out and put your feet on the seats in front - seriously comfy.

Out the back, there's a decent split level boot with a luggage cover which itself contains cubbies and compartments and the rear tailgate has a separate opening window for loading smaller, lighter items. It's all hugely practical.

Driving it 3/5

It's fine to drive, the V-Class. Not exceptional in any sense and you'll spot the van genes in the way it lumbers softly around corners, but it's very comfy and friendly and never feels intimidating. The optional 360-degree camera system makes manoeuvring this big, slab-sided thing a doddle even in tight confines and once you get it up to a motorway cruise it's just lovely - all lofty visibility and long-legged comfort.

The 2.1-litre diesel, driving through a standard seven-speed auto, actually seems more quiet and refined here than it does in some of Mercedes' saloon cars. We can't tell you much about fuel consumption or outright performance on the basis of this quick spin, but it has decent power and feels more than up to the task of hauling itself and its passengers around.

Mercedes is also including a lot of standard safety equipment including Driver Attention Assist (which detects if you're getting drowsy and advises you to take a break) and Cross Wind Assist, which uses the ESC to help keep you in a straight line when it's blustery out.

What you get for your money 4/5

For a posh van with seats, €53k is a serious amount. Still, these cars are not really aimed at families and individuals, but at businesses who can claim back the VAT and who use them for work that, ultimately, turns a profit. Besides, the V-Class is actually pretty well equipped as standard. All come with an automatic gearbox, a high-quality interior, an 8-inch touchscreen, lots of safety kit and a choice of seating layouts. In fact, if you think what you would spend on a well-specced E-Class saloon or GLE SUV, then the V-Class, with its space and versatility, suddenly starts to look like quite good value.


Volkswagen Caravelle: also van-based and also useful and practical, but doesn't have the Merc's stem-to-stern high quality feel.

Renault Espace: good luck tracking one down but there may still be a few unregistered ones lurking around in the dealer network. Plush and refined but the design is ancient.

Toyota Hiace with a sofa in the back: Ummmm, perhaps not...


OK, so it's a lot of money for a van (even if Mercedes says it's not a van) but actually, dig a little deeper and the V-Class starts to make a sort of sense. For the price of a specced-up E-Class, you can have a big, comfy Merc with excellent build quality, tonnes of space, seats for seven and a lengthy list of high-end standard kit. Your kids are going to love it...