What's the used Mercedes V-Class estate like?
The only sporty thing about the Mercedes-Benz V-Class is the fact that it's used as transport by Formula 1 drivers. But that’s fine, since the buyers of this van-derived MPV just want lots of space, luxury and a premium badge – all of which it delivers with the same ease as it does Lewis Hamilton from his five-star hotel to the paddock.
In the normal world, you might be looking at the V-Class as a seven or eight-seater that can compete with the likes of the Citroën Spacetourer and Volkswagen Caravelle, or even cars such as the Ford Galaxy.
The V-Class is available with a choice of diesel engines: a 161bhp unit in the V220d and a 187bhp one in the V250d. Both come attached to a slick eight-speed automatic gearbox, which does its best to quieten down the sometimes gruff engines by quickly shifting into higher gears.
The V-Class drives in a slightly uncouth, van-like manner, with very noticeable body roll at all speeds. The slow-witted steering doesn’t help; it makes the V-Class feel ponderous along country lanes, because you’re never completely certain of what the front wheels are up to. So, the V-Class is at its best on straight sections of motorway, where wind and road noise are surprisingly well suppressed, although the ride is quite bouncy whatever the speed and sends shudders through to the interior over prominent bumps. The Galaxy and Seat Alhambra are far more cultured in all situations.
Inside is where the V-Class starts to win points back, because the quality of its controls and materials is more akin to that of a luxury car than a commercial vehicle. Apart from a complicated infotainment system, the interior is logically laid out. The high driving position affords a great view out, the side windows are nice and deep and the big door mirrors mean you can clearly see approaching traffic along either flank.
Those in the rear will appreciate the ease of access provided by the enormous sliding doors, especially in tight parking spots. You can have either two captains chairs in the second row and three seats in the back or three chairs across each row. They’re all on runners that allow them to slide, swivel and fold in a multitude of ways, but they're very bulky and difficult to remove.
Boot space is compromised if you go for the seven-seat, short-wheelbase V-Class, so big families might need to go for the larger eight-seat, long-wheelbase version instead.
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