Automotive

Mercedes serves up van campers in three flavors

Mercedes serves up van campers...
Mercedes-Benz shows the new Sprinter's camping potential with a cut-away concept
Mercedes-Benz shows the new Sprinter's camping potential with a cut-away concept
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The Sprinter on display featured a four-cylinder diesel engine
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The Sprinter on display featured a four-cylinder diesel engine
Mercedes-Benz shows the new Sprinter's camping potential with a cut-away concept
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Mercedes-Benz shows the new Sprinter's camping potential with a cut-away concept
The interior includes white leather and Alcantara trim
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The interior includes white leather and Alcantara trim
The front seats swivel around to face the camper cabin
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The front seats swivel around to face the camper cabin
The seating bench turns into a bed
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The seating bench turns into a bed
The display Sprinter includes a kitchen unit
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The display Sprinter includes a kitchen unit
The Sprinter's rear houses a bathroom with integrated wardrobe closet
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The Sprinter's rear houses a bathroom with integrated wardrobe closet
Obviously built for display, the Sprinter cut-away will not be available for sale
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Obviously built for display, the Sprinter cut-away will not be available for sale
Mercedes shows the Viano Fun camper
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Mercedes shows the Viano Fun camper
The Viano Fun starts at €42,114.10
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The Viano Fun starts at €42,114.10
A peek inside the Viano Fun
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A peek inside the Viano Fun
The 163-hp Marco Polo Edition CDI 2.2 here includes a 4Matic all-wheel drive for all-conditions traction
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The 163-hp Marco Polo Edition CDI 2.2 here includes a 4Matic all-wheel drive for all-conditions traction
The Mercedes-Benz Viano Marco Polo in Dusseldorf
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The Mercedes-Benz Viano Marco Polo in Dusseldorf
The Marco Polo includes a tailgate shower
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The Marco Polo includes a tailgate shower
Storage units in the rear of the Viano Marco Polo
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Storage units in the rear of the Viano Marco Polo
The Marco Polo gets set up for sleep
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The Marco Polo gets set up for sleep
The Marco Polo offers driver side kitchen and storage equipment
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The Marco Polo offers driver side kitchen and storage equipment
The Marco Polo offers driver side kitchen and storage equipment
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The Marco Polo offers driver side kitchen and storage equipment
The 224-hp Viano Marco Polo Edition CDI 3.0
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The 224-hp Viano Marco Polo Edition CDI 3.0
Mercedes Viano Marco Polo CDI 3.0 set up for dining and lounging
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Mercedes Viano Marco Polo CDI 3.0 set up for dining and lounging
The rail system makes for easy adjustment
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The rail system makes for easy adjustment
Another Viano Marco Polo on display at Westfalia's booth
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Another Viano Marco Polo on display at Westfalia's booth
Another Viano Marco Polo on display at Westfalia's booth
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Another Viano Marco Polo on display at Westfalia's booth
The Viano Marco Polo includes a kitchen with two burner stove, sink and refrigerator (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
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The Viano Marco Polo includes a kitchen with two burner stove, sink and refrigerator (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
The Viano Marco Polo includes a kitchen with two burner stove, sink and refrigerator (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
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The Viano Marco Polo includes a kitchen with two burner stove, sink and refrigerator (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
Mercedes rail system (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
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Mercedes rail system (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
All set up for cooking (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
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All set up for cooking (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
The Sprinter cut-away (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
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The Sprinter cut-away (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
Mercedes' 2014 Sprinter includes a number of improvements (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
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Mercedes' 2014 Sprinter includes a number of improvements (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
Mercedes says the Sprinter van is the most popular choice for luxury campers (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
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Mercedes says the Sprinter van is the most popular choice for luxury campers (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
The 2014 Sprinter comes with a variety of safety system options, including Blind Spot Assist (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
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The 2014 Sprinter comes with a variety of safety system options, including Blind Spot Assist (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
Mercedes' Sprinter camper concept has a vibrant look thanks to its white interior and LED lighting (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
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Mercedes' Sprinter camper concept has a vibrant look thanks to its white interior and LED lighting (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
The Mercedes-Benz Viano Marco Polo Edition in the field (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
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The Mercedes-Benz Viano Marco Polo Edition in the field (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
A Mercedes-Benz Viano Marco Polo Edition equipped with a rear bike rack (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
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A Mercedes-Benz Viano Marco Polo Edition equipped with a rear bike rack (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
The Mercedes-Benz Viano Marco Polo Edition (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
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The Mercedes-Benz Viano Marco Polo Edition (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
An available 4Matic AWD system allows the Marco Polo to comfortably navigate all kinds of terrain and conditions
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An available 4Matic AWD system allows the Marco Polo to comfortably navigate all kinds of terrain and conditions
The Mercedes-Benz Viano Marco Polo Edition (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
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The Mercedes-Benz Viano Marco Polo Edition (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
The Mercedes-Benz Viano Marco Polo on the Tuscany Tour 2011 (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
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The Mercedes-Benz Viano Marco Polo on the Tuscany Tour 2011 (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
The Mercedes-Benz Viano Marco Polo on the Tuscany Tour 2011 (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
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The Mercedes-Benz Viano Marco Polo on the Tuscany Tour 2011 (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
The Mercedes-Benz Viano Marco Polo on the Tuscany Tour 2011 (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
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The Mercedes-Benz Viano Marco Polo on the Tuscany Tour 2011 (Photo: Mercedes-Benz)
The HRZ Freedom is based on a Mercedes Sprinter van
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The HRZ Freedom is based on a Mercedes Sprinter van
"Freedom" comes by way of all-wheel drive and mud tires
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"Freedom" comes by way of all-wheel drive and mud tires
The rear of the HRZ at the Dusseldorf Caravan Salon
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The rear of the HRZ at the Dusseldorf Caravan Salon
HRZ's photo of the Freedom bathroom
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HRZ's photo of the Freedom bathroom
HRZ photo of the interior layout of the Freedom
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HRZ photo of the interior layout of the Freedom

Mercedes-Benz may not have as timeless a name in van camping as Volkswagen, but it does offer several popular platforms for van camper conversions. In fact, it claims that its Sprinter van is the number one base vehicle for luxury campers. The German manufacturer recently showcased three camper conversions of its own using both the Sprinter and Viano platforms.

Sprinter cut-away

Showcasing the new Sprinter van, and its roomy, high-roofed potential for camper conversions, seemed to be Mercedes' primary goal at last month's Dusseldorf Caravan Salon. It used a sort of half-van in the form of a Sprinter stripped of its siding from the middle of the front passenger door to the rear axle as its main showpiece.

The seating bench turns into a bed
The seating bench turns into a bed

By cutting away the van's side, Mercedes was able to place focus entirely on the clean, white interior. The open-air cabin includes a bench seat that transforms into a double bed and a kitchen area on the other side. The front driver and passenger seats swivel around to serve as living and dining seating. The materials selection of white leather seating, high gloss white furniture finish, and gray laminate flooring was made to give the Sprinter camper the feel of a yacht. The interior also has Alcantara trim, LED lighting, and a combination bathroom/wardrobe in the tailgate.

The Sprinter's rear houses a bathroom with integrated wardrobe closet
The Sprinter's rear houses a bathroom with integrated wardrobe closet

Mercedes revealed the revised 2014 Sprinter van earlier this year. The new model receives updated exterior styling, a new 2.1-liter four-cylinder diesel engine as standard, a seven-speed automatic transmission, an upgraded interior and new available driver assistance systems such as Crosswind Assist, Collision Prevention Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Highbeam Assist and Lane Keeping Assist. For camper conversion companies, Mercedes offers the Sprinter with a camper van package that includes a passenger airbag and a folding handbrake lever designed to prevent collision with the swivel seats when the handbrake is deployed.

Viano Marco Polo, a Mercedes Westie

The 224-hp Viano Marco Polo Edition CDI 3.0
The 224-hp Viano Marco Polo Edition CDI 3.0

The Viano Marco Polo, which Mercedes showed in two versions, was built with the help of Westfalia Van Conversion, which had a third model on display at its own booth. Based upon the middle-sized Viano model, the Marco Polo comes standard with a pop-up roof. The driver's side includes a fully stocked kitchenette with a stove, sink, water system, refrigerator and cupboards. There's also additional storage space, including a wardrobe closet. The Marco Polo's rear bench is actually two individual electrically adjusted seats that can recline and flatten down into horizontal position. The seats also include an electro-pneumatic side bolster system that provides better lateral support and shaping, a comfort aimed at long road trips.

The Marco Polo offers driver side kitchen and storage equipment
The Marco Polo offers driver side kitchen and storage equipment

Mercedes showed the Viano Marco Polo in flint grey metallic with a 163-hp, 2.2-liter diesel four-cylinder and 4Matic all-wheel drive, and in mountain crystal white with a 224-hp 3.0-liter V6 CDI. The latter model was built in standard rear-wheel drive. Both models included automatic transmissions, bi-xenon headlamps, Tempmatic air conditioning, 17-inch light-alloy wheels, Audio 50 APS navigation systems, and window bags for driver and front passenger.

The 163-hp Marco Polo Edition CDI 2.2 here includes a 4Matic all-wheel drive for all-conditions traction
The 163-hp Marco Polo Edition CDI 2.2 here includes a 4Matic all-wheel drive for all-conditions traction

The Marco Polo Edition starts at €54,538 (US$73,900), and Mercedes listed the final price of the CDI 3.0 version at €70,381.36 and of the CDI 2.2 version at €61,489.68.

Viano Fun

The Viano Fun starts at €42,114.10
The Viano Fun starts at €42,114.10

The Mercedes Viano Fun comes in both five- and seven-seat varieties. Like a number of the other van campers we saw in Dusseldorf, the Viano Fun features a rail-mounted seating system that makes the interior layout super flexible. The seats can quickly slide into different positions and be removed completely. In camper format, they're arranged around a fold-out table. The rear seats fold flat to create a sleeping platform, and an optional pop-up roof can serve to hold additional sleepers.

Bonus: HRZ Freedom

Mercedes claims that its vans are in hot demand around the world by camper conversion outfitters, stating that it sends around 4,000 vans a year to converters in North America. The German luxury marque definitely had a strong presence in Dusseldorf, beyond just its own booth. We ran into plenty of other Mercedes-based camper vans in Dusseldorf, including a few brutish off-roaders.

The HRZ Freedom is based on a Mercedes Sprinter van
The HRZ Freedom is based on a Mercedes Sprinter van

The final camper van with Mercedes badge we have in our photo collection, the HRZ Freedom is similar in look and feel to the HRZ Sahara we previously covered. It is the result of camper-izing a high-roofed Sprinter, and it includes all-wheel drive and mud tires. The Freedom offers seating for three or four, a fixed rear bed, a generous amount of rear storage, a washroom with sink and toilet, and a kitchen with 90-liter compressor fridge, double-burner stove and sink.

5 comments
Ahmed Mukhtar
Doesn't even come close to the Sprinter James Cook! http://www.westfalia-mobil.net/en/modelle/james-cook/james-cook-mobiler-komfort.php
BigGoofyGuy
I think those are nice. I wonder if they will make the smallest one a 'smart camper' after Mercedes Smart car line.
bergamot69
I'd have hoped for something more inspiring with the Viano Marco Polo- apart from the lack of woodgrain cabinet finishing, it is virtually a clone of the Volkswagen California- which itself is merely an evolution of 'VW layout' campers going back decades. Whilst limited interior space obviously has an effect on how such a van is laid out, I've only seen one short wheelbase compact camper (based on a dimensionally similar Renault Trafic) that featured an internal shower.
Kirk Thomson
For multi use, Airstream does it the best. Pleasure-way conversion for going camping.
nubwaxer
anything without a bathroom is a deal breaker from my personal experience. two burner stove let's you at least make morning coffee. the 4 cylinder diesels are a great option but the larger class C RVs with cabover sleeping lofts and the 6 cylinder engines on the mercedes sprinter chassis are outstanding if a bit pricey.