Driven: 2019 Mercedes-Benz V250d
The Mercedes-Benz V250d is an interesting vehicle. It’s a big, luxury van that doesn’t really have any direct competitors. It’s also the kind of car that you didn’t know you want until you drive it. We got to live with one for a week to see how important people get carried around.
The facelift brings the majority of changes to the design of the V-Class. Outside, there is a new diamond radiator grille that sits above a wider, more striking front bumper with a lower air-intake. These parts are even more visually enticing on the higher spec AMG line, which includes new wheel design options. Customers can also choose between a few new colours, such as Hyacinthe Red, that are added to the existing palette on the luxury van. The interior features optional creature comforts such as electrically adjustable leather seats, with heating and cooling function, as well as a premium Burmeister sound system, a massive panoramic sunroof and electrically operated sliding doors.
In terms of performance it seems that not much has changed. Mercedes-Benz decided to keep the 7G-tronic transmission of the predecessor V-Class instead of introducing the new 9G-Tronic box that’s available to European markets. South Africa receives three model derivatives – the 100kW and 330Nm entry-level V200d, the mid-range 120kW and 380Nm V220d and the top-of-the-range 140kW and 440Nm V250d, all powered by a turbodiesel 2.1-litre engine.
I hopped into the driver’s seat of our test unit and was a little underwhelmed, especially after driving a lot of the newer Mercedes models that feature the beautiful new interior with the extended instrument cluster and infotainment system which Mercedes decided not to include in the new model. The feature that disappointed me the most was that I had to physically insert and turn a key to start this million-rand-plus car. Aside from these issues, the V-Class offers a comfortable driving position, smooth power delivery and a steering that’s smooth as butter. These positive features will most definitely shine during long road trips and cross-country family holidays. Visibility was good and the 360-degree camera really made navigating tight spots much easier.
As good as it is to drive, everyone knows that the real magic happens in the back of a V-Class. The rear captains-seats felt very comfortable, the windows were big, the sunroof was bigger and there was a lot of head and leg room, but that’s all there was, leaving me feeling a bit confused as to why someone would spend over a million-rand on this car. Jumping into a V-Class, you expect a level of luxury that you can’t get in a normal car, but here I was just sitting in a regular seat with a pair of adjustable arm-rests. I also noticed quite a bit of road noise in the cabin. I decided to fiddle around because surely this was not all this vehicle had to offer? To my surprise I stumbled upon the rear tray-table which, after a few minutes of pulling levers, adjusting seats and pulling out pieces, opened up and made the back seats a lot more exciting.
I expected the V-Class to be a bit of a mission to live with on a daily basis but it proved me wrong. The first few minutes of driving it feel overwhelming, especially because it’s so big but after a while the size disappears and you have a lot more confidence in your ability to manoeuvre this van on any road. The V250d especially is a great van, and is a vehicle that I didn’t expect myself liking, let alone actually wanting to keep.
Mercedes-Benz V250d Avantgarde: R1 292 474