Quick Review | Mercedes-Benz's V-Class minibus is a luxury train on wheels

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• The V 300d Exclusive is the top-model in Mercedes-Benz's V-Class range.

• The van is powered by a turbocharged 2.1-litre diesel engine.

• Pricing starts at R1.6-million, before options.

For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za

A few months ago, Mercedes-Benz expanded its V-Class range with the addition of a new V 300d model. The van, or multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), is widely regarded as the S-Class of family buses, but the new model takes things up a notch. The automaker added several bits and pieces to the package but succeeded in not alienating current and prospective owners from the V-Class formula.

Our test unit, the V 300d Exclusive, is well-specified and comes standard with items such as a panoramic sunroof, 360-degree camera package, a small refrigerator in the centre console, and climatised rear seats. While our unit was specified with seven seats - in two-two-three configuration - owners can choose whether they want their V 300d with six or eight seats, as well.

The Wheels24 test team makes no secret of the fact that buses are among our favourite vehicles, given their overall practicality, functionality, and abundance of space. These are things that speak to most South Africans, regardless if you're by means to acquire one or not. There's just something about this kind of vehicle that encourages you to take on the open road, which is exactly what we did.

Mercedes-Benz V 300d Exclusive
2020 Mercedes-Benz V 300d Exclusive (Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond)

Smooth operator

Powered by a turbocharged 2.1-litre diesel engine, the V 300d makes small work of any task and will never feel as if it's about to throw in the towel. The 176kW and 500Nm churned out by the engine always feel adequate and the torque, available between 1600 - 2400rpm, rarely forces you to push the van's engine revolutions into the stratosphere. Performance is not too shabby either, with Mercedes-Benz claiming a 220km/h top speed and sub-eight-second 0-100km/h sprint time.

Our average fuel consumption hovered around 9.0-litres/100km, which is a definite win given Merc's claim of 8.8-litres/100km.

While it all seems inspiring, the V 300d impresses further with its on-road manners. Ride quality is akin to that of a luxury train, thanks to Merc's Airmatic air suspension. This feature allows the V 300d to glide over the road, minimising body roll and imbalances to a great deal. It also comes into play when crossing speedbumps and other undulations.

Quick stats: Mercedes-Benz V 300d Exclusive

Price: R1 645 880 (November 2020)

Engine: 2.1-litre diesel, turbocharged

Power: 176kW @ 4200rpm

Torque: 500Nm @ 1600 - 2400rpm

Gears/Drive: Nine-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive

Fuel economy: 9.0-litres/100km

Wheels24's Janine van der Post says: "Who doesn't love a lekker van in the form of a luxurious minibus to haul around your loved ones?

"The V-Class came around the Wheels24 test garage at just the right time. I needed to take my Mother to her sister in the Boland to sort through some things their late sibling left behind. And oh boy, did we need all the space we could get.

"The V-Class has a nifty shelf in the vast boot so we could comfortably load a very large suitcase and several big bags and boxes with no fuss. After a good sorting we decided to drop off some bags of clothing for charity. Another one of their friends came to visit so we had bums in all of the van's seven seats, including my sprog in her car seat. The drop off happened to be in the vicinity of one of my oldest friends and his new wife, hence an impromptu visit was called for with biltong, red wine, and corona-mask shopping.

"But having a bunch of aunties in their early sixties as passengers was nearly too much fun to handle as we drove around. The loved the sliding doors on either side and they all found getting in and out of the vehicle incredibly easy. They thoroughly enjoyed all the room, and that they could still move around pretty freely while being strapped in. I ended up doing various stops for unplanned shopping.

"Nini?", as they fondly refer to me, they asked "Will you have this lekker bus for the holidays so you can take us places?"

"The V-Class competes against the VW Caravelle, Ford's Tourneo Custom, and Toyota's fancy version Quantum, but if it's class and comfort you're after, this luxurious V-Class is right up your alley."

Mercedes-Benz V 300d Exclusive
2020 Mercedes-Benz V 300d Exclusive (Wheels24 / Charlen Raymond)

In summary

The V-Class is out of reach for many South Africans, and this V 300d Exclusive even more so. But if you are by means to acquire one, there will be little to no regrets when you leave the showroom floor. Every drive feels like a journey and yearning for the open road will come knocking each time you clamber into the driver's seat.

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