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The Mercedes-Benz V-Class gets a facelift and, in V250d Avantgarde specification, is the most luxurious family van in our market...

Each vehicle segment is bookended by entry-level and upmarket versions. In no other category is the spread as wide as the minibus. Originally developed as a basic commercial workhorse, the division stretches all the way up to über-lavish people movers priced on the wrong side of R1 million. The only two players in this top tier locally are the Volkswagen Caravelle and Mercedes-Benz V-Class. The latter, the subject of this test, is in its third generation and recently received a facelift.

From the outside, where most of the styling upgrades have been focused on the front, the V-Class continues to look surprisingly upmarket considering its humble workhorse origins. There’s a new bumper design including air intakes, as well as a reformed grille. Maybe it was the black body colour with its tinted rear windows that caused many people to stare; perhaps they were trying to spot a celebrity in transit or merely appreciating the vehicle.  

Inside, it’s familiar older-generation Mercedes-Benz fare with a sweeping facia, free-standing infotainment screen and Comand controller dial on the centre console. The new additions are limited to turbine-style air vents and updated upholstery. Although classy for an MPV, the team felt the jump to the new MBUX infotainment system in the firm’s other offerings is significant and is missed in this application (along with keyless entry, a surprising omission given the vehicle’s price tag). Luxury continues at the rear with thick carpeting, plush leather seats (five individual units) and styling lines in the door panels accentuated by ambient lighting.

It’s not all rosy; that vast expanse of opulence tends to rattle and squeak on the go (admittedly, all buses do) and, when it comes to family use, there are shortcomings. The V-Class lacks sufficient storage spaces; the rearmost side windows cannot open; headroom’s less generous than you’d think; and changing the configuration means removing the heavy seats from the vehicle. This is in stark contrast to the user-friendliness of the less lavish Caravelle. However, the Benz does offer electrically sliding doors and tailgate, a picnic table and a horizontal split in the boot area housing two shopping baskets. Our test unit was fitted with dual sunroofs which are a R38 000 option.

Where the V250d impressed is with its powertrain operation. It still employs the previous OM651 2,1-litre unit (Europe gets the new OM654 2,0-litre with 176 kW/500 N.m mated with a nine-speed transmission in the V300d) that sounds slightly gruff at times but provides good punch considering the V250d made our scales groan at 2,5 tonnes. The 0-100 km/h time of 11,40 seconds shades the almost 14,0 seconds required by both the Caravelle 2,0 BiTDI and the V220d versions tested in February 2016. And the V250d posted an equally impressive fuel-run figure of just 7,90 L/100 km. Interestingly, the passenger door needs to open to release the fuel flap, again highlighting its commercial-oriented roots.

Braking performance is commendable for this type of vehicle, with an average stopping time of 3,06 seconds (with active brake assist available for the first time to prevent collisions). Some testers complained the brake pedal feels under assisted in normal use and requires more force than anticipated. Even on gravel, the ride is comfortable, although you shouldn’t expect luxury-SUV levels of compliance and isolation; the optional (R15 807) 19-inch wheels send a few tremors into the cabin over sharp road scars.

Manufacturer Specifications

Standard - standard Optional - optional
  • Leather upholstery: Standard
  • Seats quantity: 6 (opt 7 / opt 8)
  • Air conditioning: front + rear
  • Climate control automatic air conditioning: front + rear
  • Lumbar support adjustment: front
  • Heated ventilated seats: front heated + ventilated
  • Antilock braking system (ABS): Standard
  • Electronic brake distribution (EBD): Standard
  • Brake assist (BAS/EBA): Standard
  • Traction control: Standard
  • Stability control: Standard
  • Tyre pressure sensor monitor deflation detection system: Standard
  • Driver airbag: Standard
  • Front passenger airbag: Standard
  • Front side airbags: Standard
  • Rear side airbags: Optional
  • Curtain airbags: Standard
  • Airbag quantity: 6 (opt 8)
  • Lane departure warning: lane keeping assist
  • Lane change blindspot warning assist monitor: Standard
  • Attention assist rest assist break alert: Standard
  • Automatic drive away locking: Standard
  • Directional turning headlights: Standard
  • Adaptive headlights varying light distribution: Standard
  • Emergency brake hazardlights: emergency-brake flashing brake lights
  • Engine auto Stop Start idle stop ecostop: Standard
  • Hillstart assist hillholder: Standard
  • Alloy wheelsrims: Standard
  • Sports suspension: Standard
  • Driving mode switch eg sport comfort: Economy, Comfort, Sport, Manual
  • Power steering: Standard
  • Multifunction steering wheel controls: Standard
  • On board computer multi information display: Standard
  • Navigation: Standard
  • Cruise control: std (opt adaptive)
  • Active adaptive cruise control: Optional
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Standard
  • CD player: Standard
  • USB port: Standard
  • Powersocket 12V: front + boot
  • Central locking: remote
  • Remote central locking: Standard
  • Electric windows: front (rear fixed)
  • Rain sensor auto wipers: Standard
  • Auto dim interior mirror: Standard
  • Electric adjust mirrors: Standard
  • Heated exterior mirrors: Standard
  • Auto dimexterior mirrors: Standard
  • Sun roof: opt sliding panoramic
  • Panoramic roof: opt sliding
  • Electric seat adjustment: front
  • Memory for electric seat adjustment: front
  • Daytime driving running lights: Standard
  • Light sensor auto on off lights: Standard
  • Xenon headlights: LED
  • Highbeam assist: Standard
  • Highlevel 3rd brakelight: Standard
  • Rear fog lamps lights: Standard
  • Camera for park distance control: rear
  • Towbar trailer hitch: removable
  • Metallic pearl escent paint: Optional
  • Fuel Type: diesel
  • Fuel range average: 1081 km
  • Driven wheels: rear
  • Driven wheels quantity: 2
  • Gearratios quantity: 7
  • Gearshift: automatic
  • Transmission type: automatic
  • Transmission name: 7G-Tronic Plus
  • Gear shift paddles: Standard
  • Electromechanical parking brake: Standard
  • Front tyres: 245/45 R19
  • Reartyres: 245/45 R19
  • Spare wheel size full: std 16-inch
  • Electric sliding doors: both sides
  • Length: 5140 mm
  • Width excl mirrors incl mirrors: 1928-2249 mm
  • Height: 1880 mm
  • Wheel base: 3200 mm
  • Turning circle wheels body: 11.8 m
  • Load volume / capacity: 542 L
  • Unladen/tare/kerb weight: 2145 kg
  • Load carrying capacity / payload: 905
  • Gross weight (GVM): 3050 kg
  • Towing capacity - unbraked: 750
  • Towing capacity - braked: 2000
  • Fuel tank capacity (incl reserve): 70l
  • Fuel consumption urban: 6.9 l/100km
  • Fuel consumption extra urban: 5.5 l/100km
  • Fuel consumption average: 6.5 l/100km
  • CO2 emissions average: 169g/km
  • Emission control phase Euro EU level: 6
  • Power maximum: 140 kW
  • Power maximum total: 140 kW
  • Power peak revs: 3800 r/min
  • Power to weight ratio: 65.3 kW/ton
  • Torque maximum: 440 Nm
  • Torque peak revs: 1400-2400 r/min
  • Torque maximum total: 440 Nm
  • Torque to weight ratio: 205 Nm/ton
  • Acceleration 0-100 kmh: 9.6s
  • Maximum top speed: 206 km/h
  • Engine position/ location: front
  • Engine capacity: 2143 cc
  • Engine size: 2.1l
  • enginedetailshort: 2.1TD
  • Engine + detail: 2.1 turbo diesel
  • Cylinder layout: inline
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder layout + quantity: i4
  • Valves per cylinder: 4
  • Valves quantity: 16
  • Turbocharger: Standard
  • Warranty time (years): 2
  • Warranty distance (km): unlimited km
  • Maintenance plan: Standard
  • Maintenance plan time (years): 5
  • Maintenance plan distance (km): 100000 km
  • Service interval indicator: Standard
  • Service interval (distance): service interval indicator (max 40000) km
  • Brand: Mercedes-Benz
  • Status: c
  • Segment: passenger car
  • MMcode: 44095059
  • MMVariant: V250d AVANTGARDE A/T
  • MMintrodat: 2019-07-29
  • Introdate: 2019-08-06
  • DuoportarecordID: MercV-Cl1Fe5

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