Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 1 April 2020

Mercedes V-Class: Big, bonny, and braced for the band

MPVs are not in short supply, but you won't always find one with enough luxuries to keep a bunch of up-and-coming musicians happy

Probably the nicest thing you could say about vans designed to cart around more individuals than you’d fit in a car is that they don’t feel like vans when you’re in them. That is certainly the case with the Mercedes V-Class. The marketing bumf for this roomy personnel carrier avoids all mention of the word “van” (despite the V in V-Class hinting that’s what it might stand for – it doesn’t). This, my friends, is an MPV, or multi-purpose vehicle. And a tidy one at that.

Mercedes has achieved something of a coup with this MPV. Despite its size, the V-Class has the feel of much smaller SUVs. The acceleration is decent (you can get from 0-100 kilometres per hour in under eight seconds – try doing that in your average dune basher) and every seat is agreeable enough to keep whoever is in it happy on a lengthy journey.

Given the opportunity, the V-Class will roll along the highway with the ease of a runaway steamroller, but with none of the apparent danger the latter would pose to human life. The very opposite, in fact. This luxury carrier has safety features a-­plenty and, while you might think controlling such a large vehicle would be difficult, the handling isn’t challenging in any way. It’s a nippy beast; put your foot down and you’ll hit 210kph.

You could easily take, say, a lesser rock band on tour in this vehicle and keep everyone cheerful and relaxed enough to perform the evening show’s plus obligatory encore. If you’re a manager of such a beat combo, you might think twice about this though, as, without wishing to seem unfair to lesser rock bands, they’d probably leave pizza boxes everywhere and, with all the available space, that would amount to quite a few cartons in the cabin. However, there’d be few complaints from the musicians while you’re on the road, not least because of the range of in-car entertainment.

The V-Class is, of course, designed for more traditional tasks, such as shipping a lot of youngsters to and from school in extreme comfort, going on a road trip with friends and / or family in extreme comfort, or earning a bit of cash ferrying VIPs around in extreme comfort. That comfort thing applies to both the driver and whoever they’re transporting.

The interior is stylish and smart – it is a Mercedes, after all – and, while it’s undeniably a big old unit, the exterior gives an air of smoothness and refinement.

So the V-Class is an ideal vehicle to get a lot of people from A to B in a stress-free manner, and, while it’s not a budget option, it’s simple to drive and comes with plenty of kit. Just don’t call it a van.

Updated: December 29, 2019 08:13 AM

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