Mercedes refreshes the V-Class van and camper vans
In 2014, Mercedes introduced the all-new V-Class van, quickly adding the V-Class-based Marco Polo camper van. Five years later, it's giving its mid-size van a proper refresh, retouching the style, adding a more powerful four-cylinder diesel engine and expanding the available driver-assistance suite. Those new changes also improve the Marco Polo and Marco Polo Horizon, narrowing the features gap between the small camper vans and larger campers built on the latest Sprinter.
We're talking a refresh, not a complete new-generation model, so the new V-Class doesn't receive the full boat of new styling, technology and powertrains seen with the new Sprinter debut a year ago. But the new van does get some tangible updates, most notably the OM 654 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel engine and an available 9G-Tronic transmission in place of the 7G-Tronic.
The four-cylinder engine is available in two states of tune: 190-hp and 325 lb-ft (440 Nm) of torque for the V 250 d model and 239 hp and 369 lb-ft (500 Nm) on the V 300 d. That's a significant boost from the current V-Class lineup, which tops out at the 190-hp V 250 d model. Moreover, the 300 d can muster a quick "over-torque" burst, spiking things up to 391 lb-ft (530 Nm) during acceleration to cut 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time to 7.9 seconds.
Both V-Class variants come standard as rear-wheel drive, with 4Matic permanent all-wheel drive available optionally.
Mercedes also gives the V-Class a more robust safety tech package, making active brake assist available on the van for the first time. Highbeam assist plus also finds its way to a pool of tech options that includes lane keeping assist, blind spot assist, and active parking assist with 360-degree camera.
The V-Class looks largely the same, but wears some subtle restyling up front. The new front bumper design is nearly all intake, and the radiator grille is filled out with diamond mesh. Buyers can add a little more color to their V-Class with four new options on offer: steel blue and hyacinth red metallic give the van a bit more vibrancy, while graphite grey metallic and selenite grey metallic add new neutral looks. Buyers can also choose from a selection of restyled 17-, 18- and 19-in light-alloy wheels.
Interior revisions include turbine-style air vents and new instrument dials. Buyers can enhance second-row comfort with a pair of S Class-style luxury recliners with massage and climate control functions.
Not only does the V-Class itself benefit from the refresh, but the V-Class-based Marco Polo and Marco Polo Horizon camper vans also get the styling, powertrain and driver-assistance updates. The added power and enhanced driver-assistance suite should prove welcome to long-distance travelers and weary campers.
The Marco Polo lineup is converted by Westfalia and offered directly by Mercedes-Benz. The standard Marco Polo is the most complete camper van in the line, offering a pop-up roof and full interior conversion with kitchen block, storage cabinetry and four sleeping berths. The Marco Polo Horizon is a lighter sleeper van with pop-up roof and cabin beds, swivel front seats and a table, but without the kitchen and storage cabinetry.
We've recently taken a closer look at the Marco Polo camper van at expos like CMT 2019, and it nicely combines modern style and luxury with full camping capabilities. The look of the upholstery and interior trim definitely feels a step up from the average camper van conversion.
European ordering for the new V-Class will open up in March. Prices in Germany will start at €36,990 (approx. US$42,350), after 19 percent VAT. Mercedes' announcement does not list camper van pricing, but the current Marco Polo starts at €58,120 ($66,525) in Germany, the Horizon at €53,157 ($60,850). The V-Class starting price jumps by €2,000, so we suspect Marco Polo prices will follow fairly closely.
Mercedes also plans an all-electric van in this class, which it will preview with the world premiere of the near-production Concept EQV at next month's Geneva Motor Show. So if you aren't sold on the usefulness of a semi-integrated electric motorhome, perhaps an all-electric V-Class camper van sounds more enticing ... but we guess that'll hinge on the production van's specs. We'll get our first taste in Geneva.