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What Car? says

2 out of 5 stars

For There's vast space, luxury fittings and proven, reliable mechanicals

Against It's expensive to run, poor to drive and noisy

Verdict Prestige badge, yes. Prestige car, no. The V-Class isn't pleasant or rewarding

Go for… 2.4-litre turbodiesel

Avoid… Everything else

Mercedes-Benz V-Class MPV
  • 1. Steer clear of franchised showrooms because cars there will be pricey. Find sellers specialising in executive or ex-fleet vehicles instead
  • 2. Known problems include sliding side doors that can jump their runners
  • 3. Rust was an issue on some models, and there were reports of collapsing rear suspension struts, too
  • 4. There's a huge amount of space inside, but also lots of engine, road and wind noise
  • 5. Pick the 2.2-litre diesel engine, as it's the lesser of all the evils
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Mercedes-Benz V-Class MPV full review with expert trade views

The phrase 'van with windows' to describe people carriers has never been more accurate than when applied to the V-Class.

Despite its appeal to the chauffeur-driven industry for groups of travelling executives, this is a Mercedes Vito van with extra glass in the body, six captain's chairs in three rows of two, and lots of luxury kit added. That includes electric everything, plus air suspension at the rear.

MPVs aren't meant to be hurled around, but the sheer size and weight of the V-Class makes it unwieldy, even at low speed. The huge turning circle is a pain, too.

To its credit, the cabin doesn't feel too van-like from behind the wheel: there's decent visibility and a good driving position. All models come with air-conditioning, and there's a host of options including folding tables and chromed coathangers.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Expensive people carrier. Slow uptake for used examples at first but early ones sell easily

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

There's only really one answer to this question - avoid the petrols and go for the diesel.

The 2.3-litre 143bhp petrol engine from the old E-Class struggles and wheezes to shift the V-Class's considerable bulk and only gives 24mpg fuel economy. The 2.8-litre V6 with 174bhp offers a more powerful alternative, but returns an appalling 21mpg. So, pretty much by default, that only leaves the 2.2-litre diesel, badged 220 CDI, giving a half-decent 35mpg.

However, you've still got to floor the throttle to get anywhere, and the same is true in the 2.3. Driving any V-Class isn't a peaceful experience, and you really notice the coarseness of the 2.2 and 2.3 if you have the four-speed automatic gearbox, which was an option on those two models and standard on the V6.

Trend is the basic trim, while Fashion gets a special velour upholstery and Ambient adds leather, cruise control and wooden inserts on the door and dashboard.

Trade view

James Ruppert

V220 CDI with seven-seat Ambiente spec, petrols struggle

James Ruppert
Used car guru

By MPV standards, the V-Class is not cheap to buy or run. And, how much it costs depends on the age of vehicle and where you buy it from.

The V-Class lost more than half its value after three years, although the turbodiesel fared better than the other two. So, if you buy one now, it will be a lot of car - size-wise at least - for the money. The problem is it's just not a very good one.

We'd steer clear of the franchised showrooms because they will be pricey. Instead, find sellers who specialise in executive or ex-fleet vehicles, and consider auction houses, as well.

Don't think that running costs will be cheap, either. Insurance will hit your wallet hard, for a start. The 2.2 and 2.3 are Group 14 or 15 depending on trim, and the V6 is Group 16.

You can also expect high, and probably quite regular, maintenance bills. The V-Class is way below average for reliability in the respected Warranty Direct index.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Expensive people carrier. Slow uptake for used examples at first but early ones sell easily

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

With plenty of V-Classes sold or leased to the chauffeur-driven market, it could go one of two ways. The vehicles are either used responsibly by their drivers, well cared for and serviced according to the manufacturer schedule... or they aren't.

Needless to say, try to avoid the latter and anything with high mileages. Known problems include sliding side doors that can jump their runners, as well as a host of different electrical gremlins.

Check the paperwork to see what warranty work has been done before you buy, and if it's a catalogue of disaster there may be more to come in the future.

Rust was also an issue on some models, and there were reports of collapsing rear suspension struts, too.

Trade view

James Ruppert

V220 CDI with seven-seat Ambiente spec, petrols struggle

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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