Mercedes-Benz V-Class (2015) First Drive

V Class Scenic

Mercedes-Benz went all out to launch the new V-Class in South Africa and it has arrived in style. We attended the launch of the new MPV in Johannesburg at the specially constructed V-Class Dome where the media were introduced to the vehicle. It was all lights and music when the new V-Class suddenly appeared being lowered from the high ceiling with chains to the stage below – very fancy!

The new V-Class is a ‘Jack Of All Trades’ kind of vehicle and is aimed squarely at large families, leisure enthusiasts and business users. Mercedes-Benz made it clear that the V-Class is not a commercial vehicle, but rather blends the brand’s passenger vehicle expertise into an MPV that’s clearly differentiated from the ordinary.

In The Lap of Luxury

Step inside the new V-Class and you will soon realise what Mercedes-Benz is trying to achieve here. Whether you are seated in the front or rear, luxury is ever present. If you are familiar with the new C-Class then you will feel right at home in the V-Class, because the interior is near identical and that means that all that tech is part of the package too.

Speaking of tech, there’s lots of it. Standard features include Crosswind Assist, Attention Assist and Active Parking Assist which takes care maneuvering the V-Class safely into its parking bay. Buyers can also opt for a host of additional optional features such as a 360° camera, DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control with Collision Prevention Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist, LED Intelligent Light System and Adaptive High Beam Assist.

The infotainment system takes care of audio, telephonic and navigational functions and is accessed via a free-standing 7-inch central display. Functionality is enhanced using a touchpad, which is a nifty piece of equipment also found in the new C-Class.

The new V-Class is flexible and is equipped with four individual seats with armrests at the rear. Additional seating can be had to accommodate either seven or eight passengers and they can be placed in varying positions according to your needs. The seats are set on a rail system and can be moved or removed completely to increase load space. On higher spec models, the rear windscreen can open separately to the tailgate which provides additional access to the loading bay. Overall the interior is very smart and the leather seating will keep any passenger happy.

Under the Bonnet

Three equipment lines are on offer and these include V-Class Standard, V-Class BlueTEC and V-Class BlueTEC AVANTGARDE. All variants are powered by a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine with three power outputs on offer. The entry-level V 200 CDI offers 100 kW and 330 Nm of torque whilst the mid-range V 220 CDI offers 120 kW and 380 Nm of torque. The top-of-the-line V 250 BlueTEC offers 140 kW and 440 Nm of torque.

The V 200 CDI and V 220 CDI are fitted with a 6-speed manual transmission as standard while the V 250 BlueTEC features a 7G-TRONIC PLUS automatic transmission, which is also available as an option on the other models. AGILITY SELECT is offered as an option with the automatic transmission which allows the driver to select a preferred driving mode including ECO, Comfort, Sport and Manual.

On our short driving test covering about 35 km of highway and urban roads, we were able to test the V 220 CDI and the V 250 BlueTEC, both fitted with the 7-speed automatic transmission. The V-Class, thanks to all its luxury appointments was comfortable to drive with good ride and handling. We found that the automatic transmission wasn’t as responsive as we’d hoped for but the engine/transmission combination managed to perform fairly well despite feeling a bit under powered. The fact that we were driving in convoy also meant that we weren’t able to test the full capability of the vehicle. Nonetheless, the V-Class impressed with its styling and luxurious interior and we look forward to having it on test for a more thorough evaluation.

Mercedes-Benz V-Class Price in South Africa   

V 200 CDI Standard - R 695 981

V 220 CDI Standard - R 726 875

V 250 BlueTEC - R 782 416

V 220 CDI AVANTGARDE - R 949 175

V 250 BlueTEC AVANTGARDE - R 984 196

Pricing includes the Mercedes-Benz Premium Drive 6-year/100 000km maintenance contract.