Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
There’s no cheap version of the Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo that does without a kitchen as you’ll find with the VW California, so the purchase price isn’t particularly low. Once you factor in all the camping gear you get and the availability of What Car? Target Price discounts, you’ll find it’s actually pretty good value. You’ll probably find that Volkswagen and especially Ford have more tempting PCP finance deals, though.
As with other similar campers, the CO2 emissions are on the high side, putting it it the top benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax bracket, but economy isn’t too ruinous. We managed a reasonable 32.1mpg during our tests, which is not quite as frugal as the California TDI 150, but is better than the Ford Transit Custom Nugget when fitted with an automatic gearbox.
Euro NCAP hasn’t crash-tested any campers, but they have tried the vans they’re based on. Happily, the Mercedes V-Class got a five-star rating and proved better at protecting occupants than the Ford Transit Custom, another five-star van. The VW Transporter could only manage four-stars.
Helping the Marco Polo get such a high score is standard automatic emergency braking, (AEB) with lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control all bundled together as an option.
We don’t have any reliability data on the Marco Polo itself, but Mercedes came a disappointing 26th out of 31 manufacturers in our 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey. That’s below both 18th place Ford and 20th place Volkswagen.