Mercedes rivals the VW California with Marco Polo campervan

Classy home away from home is now on sale, with prices starting from £53,180 for an entry-level model

The iconic campervan has always been a Volkswagen, whether it be a Type II bus or a modern T6 Transporter. That hasn’t stopped Mercedes from trying to get in on this market, though, and it’s introduced its first factory campervan, named the Marco Polo.

The Marco Polo competes with the Volkswagen California, which is built by Volkswagen and sold through its van dealers, but it also has lots of competitors from third-party converters like Auto Sleepers, Hymer, Bilbos, and many others.

The Mercedes Marco Polo is built for the company by experts Westfalia, and is based on the luxurious V-Class people carrier – a step up from most Mercedes-badged campers which would use the more spartan Vito as a basis for conversion. It uses the classic campervan layout of a side kitchenette and storage unit with a rising roof and a rock’n’roll folding bed in the rear. With two additional berths in the electrically operated rising roof, the van can seat and sleep four people.

Volkswagen California review

Equipment levels are broadly comparable to the Volkswagen California Ocean. That means swivelling front seats and a sliding rear bench, plus a smart combined hob and sink unit in the kitchenette. There’s also a small top-loading fridge, but no oven or grill – so you’d better get used to pan-fried toast!

A small dining table is on a sliding rail to keep it out of the way when not in use, and a storage unit behind the seats houses a wardrobe and storage for a porta-potti.

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In addition to the luxurious rear cabin, Mercedes has pushed the boat out when it comes to the cab and exterior of the van. The Marco Polo is available in Sport or AMG Line trims, with the choice of the entry-level 161bhp 220 d or 187bhp 250 d engines. Both engines are fitted with a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

All models come with wooden flooring in the rear, a camping table and two chairs in a dedicated storage bag, 18-inch alloy wheels, ambient lighting, sat-nav, three-zone climate control, and leather seats. AMG Line models add racy body styling details plus larger, 19-inch alloy wheels. Driving Assistance and Lane Tracking packages are optional, as are metallic paint, an upgraded Comand infotainment system, and a fifth travel seat.

Entry-level sport models cost from £53,180 when fitted with the 220 d engine. AMG Line trim raises this to £55,320. Sport and AMG Line trims fitted with the 250 d engine costs from £55,055 and £57,195 respectively. Customers can order a Mercedes Marco Polo now, with first deliveries arriving in the spring.

Would you prefer a Mercedes van to a VW camper? Let us know in the comments below...

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