2019 Mercedes V-Class Review
Car Tested: 2019 Mercedes V220d; Road Test No. 1087; Test Location: Mumbai
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 85.94 lakhs - 1.03 crores
With flexible seating options & outstanding ride quality, the V-Class takes practicality, comfort & space to a whole new level
Mercedes-Benz is a brand known for its elegant sedans, polished SUVs and angry AMGs. The brand has consistently managed to strike a chord amongst the luxury car buyers in India with its product diversity. With more people travelling than ever before, with the demand for big and premium cars increasing at an astonishing rate, Mercedes-Benz has launched its luxury MPV, the V-Class in the Indian market. Can the V-Class be an ideal vehicle for people looking to travel in groups in luxury or can it be an answer to the question that no one asked? Here's what we think.
Motor Quest: It is not the first time Mercedes-Benz has entered the luxury MPV segment. Mercedes first cracked the segment in 1999 with the SsangYong built MB100 and MB140 vans which were imported from Korea. Although these vans had space and the durability expected from the segment, they felt a little crude for the three-pointed star. Mercedes made the second attempt in 2011 with the launch of the R-Class. The R-Class was sadly considered a misfit in the Mercedes line-up and with fuel-guzzling V6 petrol as its only engine option, it was a flop show from the start. With the V-Class, Mercedes hopes to have a successful third attempt.
Exteriors - The V-Class is a massive car and there are no two ways about it. The standard version of the V-Class which we had here is 5140 mm long making it only a little shorter than the Mercedes' very own S-Class. The V-Class has a staggering height which means it towers over everything on the roads, even decent sized SUVs. Add in the slab-sided rear profile, the V-Class has an unmistakably van-like silhouette.
At over 5-meters long and 1.8-meters high, the V-Class is absolutely gigantic
As vans normally come with commercial vehicle connotations, Mercedes has done an incredible job at making the V-Class look thoroughly premium and in tandem with the rest of the company's line-up. The front has sharp headlights which look similar to the last generation Mercedes GLE SUV and there is a large grille with a bold three-pointed star. The rounded bumpers and the sloping bonnet also make it look more car-like.
The side is characterised by extra-large windows and equally dominating rear-sliding doors. This only heightens the van-credentials of the V-Class' design. Nonetheless, Mercedes has created a few creases across the body and given in smarter looking alloys meaning a side profile that does look van-like but not completely bland. The rear, again, reminds you of a large cargo van but the nicely executed design of the taillights and the wide glass area tries to hide the fact that it is an MPV. Overall, we think the V-Class is a very cool looking van whose sheer dimensions are its biggest design asset.
Interiors - Getting in the V-Class is surprisingly easy and once inside, it is pleasing to see the familiar Mercedes-Benz cabin. The interior of the V-Class certainly has the luxury ambience and we love how tastefully Mercedes has executed the design of the cabin. Nothing feels even remotely crude and it is a sort of a cabin that won't look out of place in a C-Class. The beige and black theme works well and the wood inserts, although a little excessive, look and feel nice. The quality of materials is top notch. The buttons are tactile in operations and the front seats are supremely comfortable. Features like electric adjustment with memory function are also included.
All the seats are very comfortable and the position of the rear seats can be adjusted
Space is simply terrific. There is surplus legroom, headroom and shoulder room at the front. You sit higher-up in the V-Class than in the normal sedan which gives you a commanding seating position. The overall visibility is great with large glass area all-round. If there is one thing that we don't like, it would be the COMAND interface which is from the previous generation and the screen feels a touch too small in a cabin this big.
The sliding doors to get into the rear seats can be opened electronically via the button on the key fob or the button on the door handle. There is a convenient footstep to enter into the rear part of the cabin. The seats at the rear are similar to the front seats. The individual seats have adjustable headrests, armrests, three-pointed seat belts and ISOFIX anchorages. The seats can be adjusted backwards and forward depending on the required space.
Quality levels are excellent and the rear passengers also get a table for that added practicality and convenience
The real party trick with the rear seats is that they can be positioned either facing one another or facing forward. This gives the cabin of the V-Class a certain degree of versatility not found in any other car in India. However, the seats are quite heavy and changing the positions can be a cumbersome affair. When the seats face one another, you will notice the slight lack of legroom as there is a chance of brushing your knees with the passenger sitting opposite to you. When all the seats are facing in the way of travel, the legroom for both the rows is decent but nothing too exceptional. However, space still remains a trump card. The headroom is in excess and because the seats are individual, everyone can sit in good comfort.
The six-seater version also comes with a clever table that is very easy to open and close, The sturdy table has a cup holder and can be useful for working or eating or even playing a board game. You also get additional cup holders near the doors and a dedicated climate control system for the rear passengers. The backseats in the V-Class are impressive but the overall experience isn't without some faults. The large glass area has no privacy blinds or sunshades meaning you will be visible to the outsiders and the excess sunlight will directly come into the cabin. The windows are fixed, which is not a cause of a problem as most luxury cars don't go without the air conditioning. But the few people who wish to breathe natural air will have to rely on the front windows.
Performance - The Mercedes V-Class is solely available with one diesel engine, not the latest 2.0-litre unit but the old 2.1-litre (OM 651) oil burner which has a task on its hand, to move close to 3 tonnes of luxury wheels. However, the diesel engine does its job quite well as there is more than adequate performance and Mercedes has done a great job of tuning this motor for linear performance so at no given time does a hard dab on the A pedal move things around as progress is gradual and mellow with the ton taking close to 11 seconds.
Engine offers linear performance but gets vocal post 4000 RPM
This old diesel engine does comply with BS6 emission norms and although not the most refined around, it gets even more vocal past 4000 RPM and redlines shortly thereafter. The 7-speed gearbox is slow with shifts but you can manually take control of the cogs using the steering mounted paddles, it will not hold onto a gear for you but is a smooth shifting unit. The 70-litre fuel tank seems a bit inadequate as this heavy people mover returns around 7-9 km/l.
Driving Dynamics - When I first sat in the driver's seat of the V-Class, I was intimidated, this is big and not really a good choice of car to drive to the hills. However, the V-Class proved otherwise. Driving it is just so easy as the steering is light at low speeds, yet weighs up quite well at high speeds. Body roll, expected, is there in acres but is much less than I expected and although I couldn't find a traction control switch, the grip levels are so good that the V-Class never leaves its line, no matter how hard you try to accelerate or corner, the latter though isn't recommended due to the tall height.
Ride quality is phenomenal and body roll is well contained for its size
Being a luxury people mover, ride quality is just brilliant, it does thud through on really bad roads but glides over most tarmac, taking everything in its stride. Ground clearance isn't an issue even though the wheelbase is to the moon and back, while it remains stable at high speeds and manages to keep most outside noise out of the bay. That said, it's no driver's car but driving the V-Class isn't as difficult a task as it appears.
Safety - The V-Class is loaded with all enough safety equipment to ensure complete peace of mind. You get a 360-degree camera, Cross Wind Assist, Attention Assist, tyre pressure monitoring system, 6-airbags along with the usual electronic and braking aids like Traction Control, ESP and ABS. Mercedes hasn't launched the V-Class with radar-based safety systems like in the S-Class. Nonetheless, the V-Class has scored a stellar 5-Star Euro NCAP crash test rating.
Verdict - The V-Class has no real rivals but at this price point, it competes with extremely competitive SUVs like the Volvo XC90, Audi Q7 and Mercedes' very own GLS. There are a host of luxury sedans available for the same price point and this makes us think, who will buy the V-Class. The V-Class is for the person who has a big family or likes to carry a lot of people around for business purposes and needs a comfortable, refined, spacious and luxurious vehicle to do the job. The V-Class ticks all those boxes. Add in the versatility of the rear seats, the V-Class is ready for the task of people moving. The MPV is also surprisingly easy to drive and comes with a capable diesel engine. Despite all its advantages, we still think that the price is hard to be justified and unless you want something really big or the flexible seating options, SUVs remain your best bet.
* Imposing dimensions, attention magnet and insanely premium looks
* Luxurious interiors with acres of space and practicality
* Smooth diesel engine along with comfortable ride quality
* Comes with a huge boot and a 5-star safety rating
What's Not So Cool
* Difficult to park and manoeuvre in traffic
* Interior does not feel as luxurious as other cars of this segment
Alternatives: - Volvo XC90, Audi Q7, Mercedes-Benz GLS
2019 Mercedes V-Class Specifications
* Engine: 2143cc, 4-Cyl, Diesel
* Power: 163 HP @ 3800 RPM
* Torque: 380 Nm @ 1400-2400RPM
* Transmission: 7-Speed AT
* Fuel Consumption: 7-9 km/l
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Tyre Size: 245/45/17 (Front & Rear)
* Suspension: Air Suspension (Front & Rear)
* Brakes: Disc (Front & Rear)
* Safety: 6 Airbags, ABS with EBD, ESP
2019 Mercedes V-Class Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 5140 mm X 1928 mm X 1880 mm
* Wheelbase: 3200 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 70-litres
* Kerb Weight: 3100 kgs
Mercedes V-Class Review
The Mercedes V-Class is a luxury MPV that aims to provide comfort and practicality to people who want to travel for business or with their families. It doesn’t boast of engaging driving dynamics nor does it offer aggressive performance, this car is more about touring and it does its job pretty well. Yes, it may not have the snob value of other Mercedes cars, but the V-Class is a sensible choice if you’re going to be chauffeured around for long distances regularly