New Mercedes V-Class review

Category: Van-based MPV

The V-Class offers luxurious transport for up to eight people but it's very expensive

Mercedes V-Class front left driving
  • Mercedes V-Class front left driving
  • Mercedes V-Class interior dashboard
  • Mercedes V-Class interior back seats
  • Mercedes V-Class interior infotainment
  • Mercedes V-Class front right driving
  • Mercedes V-Class front left driving
  • Mercedes V-Class front right static
  • Mercedes V-Class front left static
  • Mercedes V-Class rear right static
  • Mercedes V-Class front static
  • Mercedes V-Class grille detail
  • Mercedes V-Class alloy wheel detail
  • Mercedes V-Class rear badge detail
  • Mercedes V-Class interior dashboard
  • Mercedes V-Class interior back seats
  • Mercedes V-Class front left driving
  • Mercedes V-Class interior dashboard
  • Mercedes V-Class interior back seats
  • Mercedes V-Class interior infotainment
  • Mercedes V-Class front right driving
  • Mercedes V-Class front left driving
  • Mercedes V-Class front right static
  • Mercedes V-Class front left static
  • Mercedes V-Class rear right static
  • Mercedes V-Class front static
  • Mercedes V-Class grille detail
  • Mercedes V-Class alloy wheel detail
  • Mercedes V-Class rear badge detail
  • Mercedes V-Class interior dashboard
  • Mercedes V-Class interior back seats
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Introduction

What Car? says...

Imagine you’re rich enough to travel the world on your own private jet. That’s great, but when you’re being whisked from the runway to your next engagement, what’s going to carry you there? The likely answer is the Mercedes V-Class.

The V-Class is a high-end MPV based on the Vito van, and the theory is that it’ll offer you more space – and more luxury – than regular people carriers such as the Ford Galaxy and VW Touran

Not so long ago, Mercedes had this market pretty well sewn up, because major rivals including the Ford Tourneo Custom and Peugeot Traveller couldn’t match its opulence. Like those two models, the V-Class’s party trick is being able to carry up to eight people.

Now, though, the market has heated up faster than Taylor Swift’s record sales, and there's more upmarket competition, chiefly from the Lexus LM. There’s also the VW Multivan to consider, although that's limited to seven seats.

The question is, is the Mercedes V-Class the ideal choice to transport your troop of kids or colleagues, and how do we rate it against the best MPVs? Read on to find out...

Mercedes V-Class rear cornering

Overview

Few rivals can claim to transport you and up to seven passengers in quite as much comfort as the Mercedes V-Class, but there’s no getting away from its eye-watering cost. While some will find homes with larger families and more will be put to work on shuttle fleets, we think most buyers would be better served by smaller and cheaper seven-seat SUV.

  • Well equipped
  • Incredibly spacious
  • Great infotainment system
  • Unrefined engines
  • Very expensive to buy
  • High running costs
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Car buyers seem to be falling rapidly out of love with diesel, but in a vehicle as big and heavy as the Mercedes V-Class, it still makes a lot of sense. 

There are two diesel engines to choose from, the 220d and the 300d. Both are based around the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine, and produce 161bhp and 233bhp respectively.

For drivers who want a greener alternative to diesel, there will soon be a V-Class with mild-hybrid tech. That version mates a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for a combined 227bhp, and feels pleasantly nippy.

Speaking of the diesels, the 161bhp 220d model is more than up to the job of long-distance hauling, and pulls well from low down in the rev range. However, if you plan to fill all the V-Class’s seats regularly, we’d recommend opting for the more powerful 300d version.

With 233bhp, the 300d feels noticeably brisker than the 220d, and not having to rev it so hard tempers the engine noise.

All three engines will come with the same slick-shifting nine-speed automatic gearbox. You can take control of gear changes yourself using paddles mounted behind the steering wheel.

Unfortunately, the V-Class's close relationship with the Mercedes Vito van are made clear right from the off by the somewhat rudimentary way it rides. Even with the optional adaptive suspension, it bounces along on undulating roads, and if you hit a hefty bump or ridge at any speed, a resounding shudder will echo through the interior.

Mercedes V-Class image
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It falls a long way behind the comfort offered by regular MPVs such as the Ford Galaxy, and even the similarly van-based Peugeot Traveller does better here.

The same is true of handling. Bar the Galaxy, no large MPV feel particularly agile, but with low-witted steering and a hefty amount of body lean through corners, the V-Class lives firmly in the shadow of rivals.

Another area in which it lags behind purpose-built MPVs is refinement. Wind and road noise are reasonably well checked, but you get lots of suspension noise over broken surfaces. 

Both diesel engine options are vocal, even when you’re cruising along. Only the mild-hybrid petrol is impressively hushed at motorway speeds. And no matter which version you’re in, a Ford Galaxy (or any number of seven-seat SUVs) will be a far more relaxing car to travel long distances in.

Driving overview

Strengths Quick-shifting automatic gearbox; strong engines

Weaknesses Bouncy ride; rivals are more comfortable; poor refinement

Mercedes V-Class interior dashboard

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

The Mercedes V-Class pulls off the transformation from van into business-class transport more convincingly than the cheaper Ford Tourneo Custom.

The standard leather seat trim, lashings of chrome and faux-leather across the dashboard make it look and feel pleasingly smart inside. The effect is enhanced at night by 64-colour ambient lighting.

As part of its mid-life update, the V-Class now gets the latest version of Mercedes’ MBUX infotainment system. It's arranged across two 12.3in screens, with one given over to digital instruments, and the other to infotainment. They’re arranged side by side in one panel, making the dashboard look quite futuristic.

You can control the infotainment system with touch, voice, steering-wheel buttons or using a mousepad-style controller on the centre console. It’s not quite up there with BMW’s iDrive system for usability because it lacks a rotary controller, but it is easier to use than touchscreen-only set-ups.

The system looks snazzy and is loaded with features. However, while most are useful, the augmented-reality sat-nav feel like a gimmick.

The V-Class's driver’s seat is set quite high and offers an excellent view of the road ahead. Large side windows and door mirrors also mean you can easily see what’s coming up alongside.

The view behind isn’t quite so clear: the third row of seats hinders your vision through the rear screen. Fortunately, all models come with parking sensors (front and rear) plus a reversing camera, so this isn’t too much of an issue.

There’s also a handy optional  system that shows a feed from the rear camera on the rear-view mirror housing at the flick of a switch. It's handy if your passengers' heads or piled up luggage block your view out of the back.

The "captain’s chair" driving seat, with its folding armrest, feels comfortable to sit on but doesn’t provide much side support during cornering. Nevertheless, it and the steering wheel both offer plenty of adjustment, so it shouldn’t take you long to find a comfortable driving position.

It’s also worth noting that if you’d rather swap your business shoes for hiking boots, the V-Class forms the basis of the Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo – which has been our favourite campervan for the past few years.

Interior overview

Strengths Looks and feels premium; logical dashboard arrangement; good visibility from the front

Weaknesses Third-row seats hinder rear visibility; seats don't provide much side support

Mercedes V-Class interior back seats

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Access to the front seats in the Mercedes V-Class is easy thanks to large, wide-opening doors. The rear seats are even easier to get to because of the vast sliding doors – one on each side. They open electrically at the push of a button, and are very useful when you need rear-seat access in a tight multi-storey car park.

There’s a flat floor that makes it easy for passengers to move around inside. The interior is roomy, but the standard length V-Class doesn’t actually offer much more space for each passenger than a Ford Galaxy. If you want to truly feel like royalty in the rear seats, you’ll need to go for an Extra Long model.

The second and third row of seats sit on rails that run from front to rear, allowing you to position them to maximise leg room for either of the two rows, or to enlarge the boot space. Sliding them back and forth isn’t as easy as it is in a regular MPV though.

The standard arrangement is two individual seats in the second row with a storage box between them containing cup holders and two fold-out tables. If you wish, you can turn the second-row seats to face the three third-row seats.

You can also upgrade them to recline and massage you. If you do opt for this VIP-spec V-Class, you’ll enjoy truly luxurious treatment. Extra kit includes pillow-soft headrests to wine glasses with magnets in the bases so they stick to the centre console and prevent spills.

That said, even in the top-spec V-Class, you can still find traces of its van DNA, with hard and scratchy plastics around the lower edges of the interior and on the door cards.

If you’re more about people than pampering, you can have two rows of three seats in the back, making the V-Class one of the few models available as an eight-seater (the Ford Tourneo Custom and the Land Rover Defender 130 are too).

With all seats occupied, the V-Class’s boot is reasonably large, with enough room for your holiday luggage. Extra Long models have a gargantuan amount of room, dwarfing the boots of the Ford Galaxy and VW Multivan.

To open the monster tailgate, you need to leave a lot of room behind the car when you park, so it's fortunate that there's a loading hatch built into the boot lid, allowing you to reach in and grab what you need.

You can remove the third row of seats altogether t0 create a van-like space (they're cumbersome things to store in your shed or garage, though).

Practicality overview

Strengths Easy access to seats; flat floor; up to eight seats

Weaknesses Huge tailgate needs lots of space to open

Mercedes V-Class interior infotainment

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

If you’ve ever wondered what price you’d put on luxury travel, the answer according to the Mercedes V-Class brochure is: "A lot." It costs more than the similarly van-like Ford Tourneo, Peugeot Traveller and VW Multivan, as well as regular MPVs such as the Ford Galaxy.

However, that’s not the full story, because it’s worth remembering that the Lexus LM costs even more (although it should be cheaper to run), and the V-Class is still a lot cheaper than some seven-seat luxury SUVs, including the BMW X7 and Range Rover. You can compare prices using our New Car Deals pages.

We’re not saying the V-Class is a bargain – it most definitely isn’t – but it’s also not hideously expensive when put in context. It also has some of the best residuals in the van-based MPV class.

In terms of running costs, the V220d offers the best official fuel economy, averaging up to 39.2mpg (or less for Extra Long models), alongside CO2 emissions of 190g/km. In the V300d, that falls to 38.2mpg, with C02 emissions of 195g/km.

Official figures for the mild-hybrid petrol model have yet to be revealed, but we managed 27.7mpg on a mixed route that included town and motorway driving.

Because of their relatively high C02 emissions, all versions except the fully electric Mercedes EQV will cost you more to run in benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax if you’re a company car user than other models.

The V-Class comes with plenty of standard kit. Entry-level Premium models come with 19in alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, adaptive suspension, all-round LED lighting, a heated steering wheel and heated front seats.

The jump up to Exclusive trim seem a little unnecessary – not to mention pricey, because it’s only available with the V300d engine. However, it does get you the useful digital rear-view mirror, a Burmester sound system and extended ambient interior lighting.

Mercedes doesn’t have the most consistent reliability record, as was highlighted in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey. Mercedes finished near the bottom of the table, in 24th position, below Ford, Volkswagen and Seat. At least Mercedes provides a decent three-year, unlimited-mileage manufacturer’s warranty, which should offer some reassurance.

In terms of safety, the V-Class was award five stars out of five when it was tested by Euro NCAP but that was in 2014 so the rating has long expired.

All versions come with a driver fatigue monitoring and automatic emergency braking (AEB). An optional Driver Assistance package includes adaptive cruise control, seatbelt pre-tensioning, blind-spot warning and lane-keeping assistance.

Costs overview

Strengths Strong resale values; good standard equipment

Weaknesses Eye-wateringly expensive; questionable reliability

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FAQs

  • The V-Class costs more than £70,000 new – more than most van-based MPVs. Still, at least it comes with lots of kit and should hold on to its value well, meaning you should get a decent percentage of your money back when you come to sell it.

  • The V-Class is classed as a van-based MPV, which means it's sold as a car but is based on a van. In this case, that van is the Mercedes Vito.

  • Yes, the V-Class can carry seven people – or eight, if you pay extra for the Extra Long model, which has an extra seat on the back row.

At a glance
New car deals
Save up to £2,800
Target Price from £71,870
Save up to £2,800
or from £710pm
Swipe to see used car deals
Nearly new deals
From £94,995
RRP price range £74,670 - £98,070
Number of trims (see all)6
Number of engines (see all)3
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)diesel
MPG range across all versions 35.8 - 39.2
Available doors options 5
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £5,399 / £7,131
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £10,799 / £14,262
Available colours