Mercedes' new minivan: V for vacation
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz V-Class. The V-Class has been developed to blend practicality with comfort and driving perfomance. (Mercedes-Benz)
Mercedes' new MPV, the V-Class, offers seating for up to eight and a host of practical features but without scrimping on luxury or performance.
As such, it could be the perfect vehicle not just for pulling up outside a family-friendly resort hotel, but also for arriving at a red carpet event.
The reason is that despite its huge size -- the vehicle will be available in two wheelbases, the biggest of which measures 5370mm -- the German car company has tried every design trick in the book to ensure that the MPV doesn't just look like a converted van.
However, like a van, the V-Class should be seen as an empty shell that each customer can customize to suit his or her needs.
The seats are trimmed with leather as standard, while all of the gadgets and driver aids and infotainment elements associated with the company's executive cars are also present in the V-Class.
Before customization, the car comes with four individual rear seats in two rows which can be moved forward and back to improve access and increase trunk space. A foldaway table between the first row of rear seats is also available.
For drivers with more seating needs, the car can be specified with two rows of three rear seats. They can be fitted so that all rear passengers face each other.
Mercedes hopes that the car will be capable of ticking all of the boxes, whether the V-Class is specified by a driver with a large family, a young couple with an active lifestyle -- there's plenty of room in the back for a couple of mountain bikes -- or a chauffeur.
Getting in or out of the car regardless of seating arrangements is made simpler thanks to a sliding rear passenger door, while access to luggage and storage space is equally optimized thanks to the rear tailgate's clever design. The whole tailgate can be opened for full access, or just the rear windshield portion when space behind the car is tight -- say when parked nose to tail in a side street.
When it officially goes on sale in 2015, the V-Class will be available with a choice of two engines -- 2.1-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine with two-stage turbocharging; and a sportier, more potent BlueTec 3-liter V6 turbodiesel.