Mercedes-Benz V Series big but precise
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MERCEDES VAN IS A LUXURY VEHICLE DESPITE SIZE
While it wasn’t in any way planned, it was appropriate that I ended up going out to the airport about five times during my time with the Mercedes-Benz V250d.
You see, this will be the life for most of the V250d’s sold in New Zealand — shuttling people back and forward between airports and high-end accommodation. Not that my crappy little one-bedroom flat is in any way high-end accommodation, but you get the idea.
The V250d is what the Viano used to be. No, not a weird combination of the words “van” and “piano”, rather it is Merc’s uber-efficent way of moving up to eight people in the utmost comfort and, yes, even luxury.
While its van beginnings are unmistakable from the outside, the V250d transcends this external appearance as soon as you climb up into the driver’s seat where you are presented with a dashboard not entirely unlike that of a C-class.
The space it takes up on the road, however, does not.
The V250d is long and big and you can never afford to forget it, lest you whip off a door mirror on an unsuspecting cyclist.
This is made all the harder to remember by the V20d’s performance, which is also most un-van-like.
The 140kW/440Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel turbo engine pushes the V250d along at an impressive rate, when needed, and is happy to lug along on torque alone when in a more relaxed state of mind.
This makes the V250d surprisingly effortless both around town and out on the open road, with remarkably car-like performance and ride complimenting the massive space advantages of its distinctly van-like dimensions.
While those van-like dimensions provide massive internal space, they surprisingly aren’t responsible ponderous, van-like handling, as the V250d quickly proves itself adept at the whole cornering business. Light and precise, the V250d’s steering is a delight both around town and out on the open road, while it is also packed with a lot of Mercedes driver assist technology as standard, including Distronic plus radar cruise control, lane assist and blind spot assist as well as a full range of active and passive safety technology.
While all the various rear seats can be moved to provide more luggage space, the V250 is surprisingly capacious even with them left in place.
Practical and remarkably useful (even just for a lone journalist with one as a test vehicle) the clever shelf is made even more useful by the inclusion of a separately-opening window in the tailgate.
Along with clever little touches like this, the V250d also comes packed with a long list of standard equipment, such as 18-inch alloy wheels, satellite navigation, LED lights, a driver assist package, remote tailgate and passenger’s side sliding door, a 15-speaker Burmester surround sound audio system and climate control.
But then it does need to come with a fair bit of spec to justify its price of $104,560. With this fairly hefty amount of money you could buy any number of highly specified people movers, but the V250d easily outdoes any of these with not only its specification, comfort and performance, but also by sheer van-ness.
Yes, it is basically a $100K van, but it is a spectacularly comfortable, ridiculously practical van that has all the poise and luxury of a high-end car, as well as the massive space of a van.
While it could quickly become impractical for everyday family use, for the V250d’s intended purpose in life, space is not a problem.
After all, airport drop off areas are hardly narrow now, are they?