October 31, 2020
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Image: Mercedes-Benz SA

Road trip in new Mercedes-Benz V-Class

The facelift Mercedes-Benz V-Class lands in SA and builds forth on the outgoing model's proven recipe.

Mercedes-Benz’s V-Class has been around since 2015. Come 2019 the bus received quite a substantial facelift. And what better way to explore the new van than to undertake a road trip to the outskirts of Cape Town. That’s exactly what Mercedes-Benz planned when media gathered at Cape Town International airport for one of the world’s favourite vans.

And a favourite it is because according to Mercedes-Benz, they’ve sold a “substantial amount” of V-Classes the last couple of years to “dominate” its market.

Mercedes-Benz highlighted one thing about the V-Class: it’s a van made for road trips. Wealthy South African families buy into because of its versatility and practicality, and it is a proven vehicle for when traversing either tar or gravel. On a journey covering a distance of just over 500km, the V-Class was fuelled, clean and ready to go.

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Image: Mercedes-Benz SA

Getting comfy

Media representatives were paired into groups of four: two in front, and two in the rear. Though only a facelift, Mercedes-Benz did not skimp on ensuring that the new V-Class is fitted with class-leading features; albeit optionally available in some instances.

In the rear, the V-Class can accommodate six people, but prospective owners can specify to have their V-Class fitted with seven or eight seats. The V250 Avantgardes we drove at the launch were fitted with seven seats: three in the back and then two-two. Between the middle seats, two stables are stored and can they be set up quite easily. The front seats are electrically adjustable and do they offer heating and cooling functions, too. The rear seats, however, have to be adjusted manually.

Clambering into the rear compartment is quite an easy task. Simply pull the door handle and let the side doors slide open automatically. These doors can also be controlled from the center console next to the driver’s left knee.

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Image: Mercedes-Benz SA

About the drive

At the halfway point and spending time both in the rear compartments and the front passenger seat, it was time to take the wheel and command the V-Class back to the airport. Luckily, it didn’t take long to get reacquainted with the van and was it a matter of seconds before familiarity kicked in. the V250 uses the same turbocharged 2.1-litre diesel engine as the rest of the range and has power been left unchanged at 140kW and 440Nm.

The V250 is certainly no slouch, but there is a bit of turbo lag before power kicks in. Toggle the driving mode to Sport and the seven-speed automatic gearbox takes no prisoners, but navigating down a mountain pass in said mode will have the ‘box hold onto a gear whilst engine revolutions are in the red.

Despite this, Comfort and Eco will most probably be the driving modes of choice, as there is enough oomph to get the V-Class from point A to B without breaking a sweat.

At times the suspension does come across as a bit harsh, but the ride quality will surely improve if the full 542L of cargo space has been put to use.

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Image: Mercedes-Benz SA

Technologies?

As is to be expected, the V-Class is fitted with a number of safety features and technologies to ensure your trip is undertaken in the safest way possible. For starters, there’s Crosswind Assist that actively keeps the vehicle in a straight line in heavy winds. Active Brake Assist detects an impending collision and will take evasive action if the driver fails to do so.

Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX system, aka ‘Hey Mercedes’, has not been fitted to the facelift V-Class, but the multimedia system is quite capable of handling user commands.

Summary

The Mercedes-Benz V-Class has sold more than 64 000 units globally in 2018 and has, since 2015, sold more than 209 000 units. This says a lot about a vehicle that has made the MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) segment its own, regardless of price bracket. Referred to as the “Mercedes of MPVs”, the new V-Class benefits from a range of exterior and interior features that will no doubt make it a fresh proposition again.

The mechanicals of the vehicle remains the same, but this rear-wheel people mover will have customers coming back.

Price:

  • V200d auto: R913 951
  • V220d auto: R955 518
  • V250: R1 027 686
  • V220d Avantgarde: R1 247 819
  • V250d Avantgarde: R1 292 474

Mercedes-Benz Vans South Africa is offering all V-Class facelift customers a complimentary top-up to a six-year/100 000km maintenance plan. This is a limited special launch offer, enhancing the standard five-year/100 000km maintenance plan.

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Image: Mercedes-Benz SA