The German automaker proudly refers to its V-Class as the 'Mercedes-Benz' of MPVs (multi-purpose vehicles) and has the model undergone a significant upgrade in 2019.
The current generation V-Class, launched in 2015, is a sales success for Mercedes-Benz and in 2018 it sold more than 64 000 units. Over the last four years, more than 209 000 V-Classes were sold. In South Africa, according to Merc, they’ve sold a “significant number” of the V-Class to guarantee "market dominance".
The 2019 model sees upgrades to its exterior and interior, though the mechanicals of the van has been left unchanged.
With regards to overseas models coming to South Africa, like the V300, MBSA said that there are no plans to bring the model to our shores. The current models are adequate to sustain the range in the country.
Image: Mercedes-Benz SA
Much of the V-Class’ updates can be seen from outside; the most notable probably being the new front-end design. Featuring daytime-running LED lights, a new nose, and a grille available in two designs, the V-Class does have a more modern outlook on life.
As is standard on German vehicles, prospective owners have a choice of wheel designs to choose from, and the V-Class is no different. The V250 we drove on launch is shod with 19" wheels, while the V200 comes standard with 16" wheels (17" and 19" optional), and the V220 standard with 17” wheels (19" optional). The V220 and V250 can be had in either standard or Avantgarde trims, but on the latter Merc’s AMG Line exterior kit can be chosen as an additional extra.
At the rear, the massive fifth door has been retained to grant access to 542 litres of loading space.
The V-Class’ interior retains the familiarities of the outgoing model and is there not much to bring the vehicle in disrepute. Atop the dashboard is a fixed multimedia screen/system that is compatible with audio devices such as Bluetooth, USB, as well as a CD player! However, an AUX port has been omitted from the device list.
The media system can be operated from the rotary knob on the panel next to the driver’s left knee. One can also work the volume and driving modes from this panel, as well as open and close the electric side doors. The latter is an optional extra, seeing that some of the models' side doors had to be operated manually at the launch.
Electric windows have been brought-on for the front doors, but the aft ones are fixed. Only the most-rear windows can be opened ever so slightly with a latch. The seats, all covered in leather, can be customised and configured to the owner’s liking. Standard across the range is seating for six passengers, but options to accommodate seven or eight passengers are also on offer.
The V-Class has a length of 5140mm, stands 1880mm high, and the weighs in between 2075kg (V200) and 2145kg (V250 Avantgarde). The sheer size of the van means that there is ample space to go around and the roomy cabin does go a long way in making you forget about your claustrophobia.
Interestingly, Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX system, aka ‘Hey Mercedes’, has not been fitted to the facelift V-Class because it will only arrive with the new-generation model.
Image: Mercedes-Benz SA
Engine and drive
Across the V-Class range, Mercedes-Benz implemented its turbocharged 2.1-litre diesel engine, in different states of tune. In the V200 power is rated at 100kW/330Nm, in the V220 it’s 120kW/380Nm, and in the V250 it’s 140kW/440Nm. All engines are mated with Mercedes-Benz’s seven-speed automatic gearbox and power is sent to the rear wheels, only.
Mercedes did not increase power on the engine but, says Merc, the entire power- and drivetrain still provide the best possible driving experience for the V-Class.
On the launch route, the V-Class was exposed to various road conditions to put the van to the test. From national roads to B-roads, as well as the occasional 'back-road', the V-Class handled it as best it could. Absorption of bumps is a bit harsh at the rear, but with a load in toe, the V-Class will handle bumps in a much smoother manner. On the open road, however, the van is much less inclined to drop the ball and will passengers quickly find themselves on the right side of Dreamland.
The V250 Avantgarde we sampled at launch had ample shove and toggling between the driving modes (Eco, Comfort, Sport, Manual) brought out a different characteristic in the vehicle. Eco and Comfort would perhaps be to everyone’s favour, while Sport would have the gearbox hold onto a gear for much longer periods - often sending the engine’s revolutions skywards.
Image: Mercedes-Benz SA
The revised Mercedes-Benz V-Class is a more rounded product, and with a 3% increase in price over the outgoing model, Merc is confident it’ll maintain market dominance. Families are the V-Class' most significant clients, and we're sure it’ll remain the case in the vehicle’s next lifecycle.
- 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.