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New Mercedes V-Class 2024 review: popular MPV gets welcome tech upgrade

The Mercedes V-Class has been updated to keep it competitive against new premium MPV rivals

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.5 out of 5

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Verdict

We’re confident the updated Mercedes V-Class will be just as popular as before, but that’s more a comment on its lack of competition than anything else. Mercedes won’t have the premium MPV market to itself for much longer, so the intriguing mild-hybrid petrol version could be crucial. 

Perhaps no other car signifies the power of the Mercedes badge like the V-Class. You might think a van-based people carrier would dilute the prestige of the three-pointed star, but with the V-Class, it reinforces Mercedes’ premium appeal. 

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You would hope so too, considering the V-Class costs near enough £75,000 in entry-level form. With this mid-life facelift we’ve seen the entry-level AMG Line become a £3,950 optional extra, replaced by the ‘Premium’ version complying with Mercedes’ goal to drive its brand even further upmarket. With this in mind, we a go in the range-topping ‘Exclusive’ to really find out if Mercedes is still the champion of the luxury people carrier. 

We say ‘people carrier’ in the loosest possible sense, because instead of the usual eight-seat or seven-seat configuration, the car we’re driving here has the suitably-named ‘VIP luxury seat’ layout in the rear. This means you get two lounge seats in the middle row, with space for two ‘regular’ seats behind, creating a six-seater. With room for fewer passengers, Mercedes says this isn’t going to be the most popular model, but with a focus on opulence it could be the only competitor to the new Lexus LM and upcoming (not yet for UK sale) Volvo EM90

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Seating comfort is a personal preference, but you’d be hard pressed to find the Merc’s VIP luxury seats anything but truly cosseting. If we were a global pop star with a penchant for pickiness we’d flag that the seam on the lower back section is a little firm, but other than that we’d be happy being ferried between concerts in this most luxurious of V-Classes. 

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Look away from the seats and the premium overtones start to unravel, with the V’s more utilitarian foundations becoming apparent. For starters, the climate control buttons for rear passengers are located on the roof between the front seats – virtually inaccessible for those in the rear. The rear seats are positioned more inboard than the front seats, too, meaning the fold out table on the back of the front seats is noticeably askew. 

Further to this, the foot stool and seat rails are manually adjustable, which a surprise given nearly every other adjustment is electronic. We did find the champagne-glass magnets on the armrests pretty amusing, holding on while we inflicted as much G-force as we could by throwing the Mercedes into corners.

The facelifted V-Class receives a few tweaks on the outside, with a new grille and bumper arrangement, plus Mercedes’ ‘Multibeam’ adaptive LED headlights as standard. 

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Having been on sale for almost a decade now, the V-Class was due an interior tech upgrade, and this arrives in the form of a new dual-screen setup for the infotainment. You get two 12.3-inch displays (like we’ve seen on the A-Class), plus a mouse pad, which we found worked well, on a redesigned centre console. The use of touch-sensitive steering wheel buttons replacing the old physical ones is a shame though. 

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As standard there are new safety systems such as active distance assist and blind-spot assist, with the Exclusive gaining a Burmester sound system and a Driving Assistance Package, which adds active emergency stop assist, active speed limit and active steering assist. Other useful features include a 360-degree camera, wireless smartphone charging, an electric split-opening bootlid. 

While our car was the ‘Long’ model, the V-Class is also available in ‘Extra Long’ form, adding an extra 230mm in length, plus a panoramic sliding sunroof as standard.

The V-Class’ diesel powertrains haven’t changed for this update with a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel offered with either 161bhp and 380Nm of torque (in the V 220 d) or 236bhp and 500Nm in this V 300 d. Power is sent through a nine-speed automatic gearbox to the rear wheels. 

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It’s a little gruff at low speeds, with an audible groan under hard acceleration. Thankfully there’s a lot of low-down torque and the gearbox seems calibrated to change up at the earliest possible chance, so you’re revered passengers will rarely have to put up with any diesel clatter at high-revs. What was really noticeable is how much quieter the V-Class was at motorway speeds. It also seemed to settle down over bumps much better than around town. 

There’s very little to pick between the 300 d and its less powerful diesel sibling in terms of economy. We know power probably won’t be at the forefront of any business looking to expand their fleet of luxury people movers, but the 300 d’s extra grunt is tempting. 

Mercedes will soon add a mild-hybrid petrol to the V-Class range. We had a brief go in a prototype model, though the version we tried went without pretty much every creature comfort fitted to our Exclusive-trimmed diesel. Concentrating on the powertrain, we found the petrol to be smoother and quieter, and therefore more in-keeping with the premium image Mercedes is trying to cultivate with this updated MPV. 

Most of the changes also apply to the electric EQV, but if the petrol’s fuel efficiency stacks up, it could be a welcome addition to the V-Class range. 

Model:Mercedes V-Class 300 d Exclusive
Price from:£87,635
Price as tested:£87,635
Powertrain:2.0-litre turbocharged diesel four-cylinder
Transmission:Nine-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power/torque:236bhp/500Nm
0-62mph:7.9 seconds
Top speed:137mph
Economy/CO238.2mpg/195g/km
Size (L/W/H):5140mm, 1,928mm, 1,901mm,
On sale:Now
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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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