FIRST DRIVE | 2019 Mercedes-Benz V-Class offers corporate touring in style
Brenwin Naidu gets acquainted with Merc's latest luxury people-mover
Sometimes we need reminding of the bountiful natural beauty that exists in SA. And what better way to take a break from the gloom and hit the reset button than with a road trip?
A sojourn in solitude can be good for the soul — but the laughter and cheer of selected company can be great too. And if a whole troupe of merry passengers is on the bill, then the vehicle needs careful consideration.
The Mercedes-Benz V-Class is high on the list when it comes to the business of touring in a plush fashion. It remains a mainstay for the corporate transfers industry. And its presidential duties are well-documented too.
Sold under the Mercedes-Benz Commercial Vehicle banner, the updated version of the model was launched in SA last week. Sowetan Motoring attended the event in the Western Cape, allowing us to traverse some of the most scenic routes on offer by the province.
Inclement weather aside, it was a day of luxuriation as company representatives sought to give us a glimpse into the projected lifestyle the customers of the high-end multi-purpose vehicle would enjoy. Overall, it must be said that the enhancements are subtle.
Note the redesigned frontal bumper on both Standard and Avantgarde model lines, featuring more aggressive-looking cooling inlets. Meanwhile, the AMG Line package on offer adds additional presence in the form of a radiator grille with chrome pins — similar in design to what you can specify on the passenger cars range. New alloy wheel choices are also on offer.
Not much has changed inside, where additional upholstery and trim options merely complement an already spiffy cabin. But now buyers can order specialised rear seating with massage functions and ventilation.
Strangely, the latest-generation MBUX digital interface, as seen in a many other contemporary Mercedes-Benz wares, is not included.
The safety arsenal has been upped, however. Available in the V-Class is a system dubbed Active Brake Assist, which intervenes with stopping input should the driver not react adequately. This reacts to pedestrians and obstacles in addition to other vehicles.
As before, the V-Class retains the four-cylinder, turbocharged-diesel OM 651 unit. It is served in three states of tune.
The V200d is good for 100kW and 330Nm, the V220d produces 120kW and 380Nm. At the top of the pile is the V250d, with 140kW and 440Nm.
Fittingly, our experience with the product was exclusive to this flagship derivative. The truck-like seating position empowers the person at the helm with a sense of command. For refinement in this category, the V-Class is only matched by the Volkswagen Caravelle. Rival products such as the Ford Transit and Hyundai H1 are a bit less successful at disguising their van-based roots.
Perhaps our black test unit would have looked even more appropriate with red livery, like the chariot employed by a certain team of justice-seeking mavericks. That sounds ambiguous, come to think of it, and would apply whether one was referencing the A-Team or the EFF.
Either way, the V-Class is priced in a manner befitting the presence of the three-pointed star. Prices range between R913,951 and R1,292,474
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