Next up in Keo’s Garage, Mark Keohane reviews the Mercedes V300d, the latest iteration of the Stuttgart-based manufacturer’s luxury people-moving offering.
The comedy was not lost on me as I cruised into Cape Town International’s drop-off zone in the newest Mercedes V-Class, that my nephew was getting delivered to the airport in the sort of luxury that one pays a packet to a chauffeuring business for.
The Mercedes V300d is arguably the most stylish people-mover on the market, and its AMG-line finishes combined with its multi-purpose capabilities make it a brilliant vehicle. The caveat, you pay for a hefty fee for that sort of combination of luxury and utility.
My eldest kids both drive, and my youngest is not even two years old. My partner and I could, at least for now, get away with two-door sports coupe’s with a baby-booster in the back. So to see me pull into the garage in a seven-seater Mercedes mini-bius was a comical affair for the family.
In fact, the only time we put the van’s full capacity to use in the week that I had it was when we took my nephew to the airport. We popped him in the middle, behind one of the fold-out tables, just to add to the chauffeur experience. The V-Class boasts ample boot space, with 542L at your disposal, and while there are other seating arrangements available the one I was driving had the driver’s and passenger seat, followed by two middle seats (with fold-out tables available to the passengers) and then a three-seat row right at the back. All the seats are upholstered in black leather, come with heating options and, while we’re on the subject of temperature, there is a mini-fridge compartment between the front seats.
My nephew was delivered in style and comfort, and I suppose that is the selling point of the latest V-Class, which is an upgrade on the previous V220d and V250d. The Stuttgart-based manufacturer has aimed to, and succeeded in, producing a car whose primary focus is transporting passengers in comfort, while not compromising on any of the luxury trimmings that have come to be associated with the Mercedes.
Comfort and Sport driving options are offered, and the infotainment system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with the sound delivered through a beautiful Burmester Surround Sound System.The 3D camera system is a welcome function in a vehcile that is so big, and it made reversing out the garage and navigating the Vredehoek Spar much simpler than I anticipated.
I found the driving experience, despite the sheer size of the vehicle, to be responsive. The V-Class contains a 2.0L, four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that pushes out 176kW and 500Nm, whiule the drivetrain also features a nine-speed automatic transmission and pulls away much quicker than one would expect. Although the braking is not as sensitive as most other Mercs I’ve been in, one would have to attribute the different response to the amount of weight being bought to a stop each time. Its not quite an A-Class hot-hatch.
The reality is that this beautiful boat – which just happens sail around on four 19-inch AMG alloys – comes in at R1.8 million. While there a number of great vans in South Africa at the moment – that more than tick the box of capable and quality people-movers – what sets Mercedes apart in the MPV department is the opulence and grandeur available to both driver and passenger, that make driving in the V-Class a first-class experience, where most of the market sits in business.
For a full breakdown, with engine specifications and the works, check out ROAD TEST: Mercedes-Benz V300d on CAR Mag.