Mercedes-benz have proven that despite the best efforts of the suv, there is still a market for a van-based luxury people mover such as the v-class.
The V250 replaces the previous generation Mercedes-Benz Viano people mover, and because it’s 40mm shorter, at 1.8mm tall it should easily fit into standard height multi storey car parks and automated car washes
The medium wheelbase eight-seat V 250 d Avantgarde isn’t cheap at $104,560, but its tailored to discerning fleet and family buyers who need to move up to eight people plus their luggage on a regular occasion.
There is a very simple reason you will happily pay more for the V-Class than competitor product, it has the hewn-from-stone build quality you’d expect from Mercedes-Benz combined with quiet yet sprightly performance from it’s four-cylinder turbo diesel engine, and a specification sheet that rivals an E-Class sedan.
The V 250 d has all of the luxury items and driver assistance features you find in a Mercedes-Benz passenger car, but offers greater flexibility and functionality for fleet and family users.
It is also quite fun to drive for vehicle that is essentially a utilitarian box on wheels, albeit one that is shaped rather nicely, has a slippery drag coefficient of 0.31, and has a friendly rear-wheel drive chassis.
While it is derived from the Vito light commercial vehicle range, inside the V 250 d Avantgarde has a completely different dashboard set-up which is not dissimilar from that of the C-Class family.
The premium price tag guarantees a premium interior and the V 250 d Avantgarde does not disappoint in this regard.
Our test vehicle was fitted with the optional electric front/tilt slide sunroof and a fixed rear panoramic sunroof with a twin panel electric roller blind for $4000, in addition there was also the $5850 Avantgarde interior design package.
This package included an upgrade to Nappa leather upholstery, active seat ventilation for the driver and front passenger, roof lining to match the upholstery colour, rubber studded brushed stainless steel sports pedals, topstitched Artico leather on the upper dashboard, and wood look trim which also matches the upholstery colour.
The V 250 d offers some clever features such as the rear parcel shelf with integrated shopping crates, stowage nets on the driver and front passenger seat backs, a seat rail system with quick release locks, and a stowage compartment in the centre console that contains cup holders that may be hidden by a retractable cover.
The front doors open and close with the familiar solid-feeling Benz “thunk” while the twin sliding side doors have automatically powered open and close functions, as does the rear tailgate.
Another well considered feature of the V-Class is the tailgates built-in flexibility – the rear window can be opened independently allowing access to the rear parcel shelf, which is very helpful when the vehicle is parked in an awkward space or tight situation.
Despite being more than five metres in length, it is relatively easy to park thanks to the 360 degree camera and front and rear parking sensors.
Another feature that is worth it’s weight in gold is the LED intelligent light system fitted as standard to the V 250 d. The adaptive high beam function, the cornering lights, and the LED daytime running lights let you see the world as well as the world see you!
Passengers in the two rear rows of seats are not hard done by, as not only do they have their own climate air-conditioning, the seats offer excellent head, leg and knee room, and getting into the third row doesn’t need a contortionist-act as the seats on the second row fold down easily to allow quick access, as our models Monty the Giraffe and Ozzy the Tiger can attest to.
The 15 speaker Burmester sound system will turn the V 250 d into a mobile concert hall or discotheque if you wish, thanks to its 10GB hard drive storage system for music, data, and video files.
Safety features are a given in the V 250 d which scored a five star rating in the Euro NCAP crash test in 2014.
As well as six airbags, anti lock brakes, traction control, and electronic stability control, the V 250 d Avantgarde also offers blind spot assist, drowsiness warning, crosswind assist, and radar cruise control with stop and go, or in Benz-speak, Distronic Plus!
Thanks to the combination of the 440 Newton metres of torque from the 2.1-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder engine and the seven-speed automatic transmission, the V 250 d never feels underpowered or overstressed. It’s a muscular unit whose performance belies its capacity, and single digit fuel consumption is easily achieved. We never exceeded 8l/100km.
In top gear on the motorway, it’s barely turning over 2000 rpm, and conversation with front and rear passengers isn’t a problem.
The Agility Control system offers a choice of Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Manual modes, and most of our driving was carried out in Comfort mode which we felt best suited the vehicles application as a people mover. Eco would certainly be useful for conserving fuel on long motorway journeys, but Sport felt too harsh and frenzied in this vehicle.
From the driver’s seat which offers a commanding view of the road ahead, the V 250 d feels exceptionally well planted to the road, even in comfort mode, its corners well with very little body roll, and the steering feels crisp and communicative through the multifunction steering wheel.
Apart from the Volkswagen Multivan, and the Ford Tourneo, the V 250 d has few competitors in the class and on current performance we believe it continues to set the benchmark for features, functionality and that all-important luxury feeling of a Mercedes-Benz.
|Model||Mercedes-Benz V 250 d Avantgarde MWB||Price||$41,990|
|Engine||2143cc, 4-Cylinder, 140kW/440Nm||Drivetrain||7-speed auto|
|Fuel Use||6.3L/100km||C02 Output||0g/km|
|0-100km/h||0.00 sec||Weight||2145kg kerb weight|
|Service||25,000km intervals, 3 year / Unlimited km warranty||Load||5.2m3 volume, 2537m length, 1387m height|
|Vitals||3100kg GVM, 995kg payload||Vitals||2500kg towing capacit|