Mercedes-Benz India has usually had its eye on the luxurious stop of the minivan marketplace, which continues to be an empty and elusive area of interest. It’s a section that Mercedes has had a crack at two times before, however with little success. In 1999, it released the SsangYong-constructed MB100 and MB140 minivans, imported from Korea. Though the MB vehicles were pretty difficult and sturdy they didn’t provide the luxury and high-quality worth of the three-pointed megastar and, as an end result, they quietly died in 2001. In 2011, Mercedes released the R-magnificence however once again this MPV failed to pull in customers because of its unconventional layout (for a Merc). Also, the shortage of a diesel engine at release (unthinkable for an MPV consumer at the time) ensured that it was quite a lot dead on arrival.
Nearly a decade on, the India growth story continues but at an even faster pace. Businesses are developing, human beings are at the pass and the want to tour in fashion and comfort has by no means been greater. This situation is an opportune time for Mercedes-Benz to convey the V-class into showrooms however will it be 0.33-time lucky? Can Mercedes make its trendy minivan stick in a segment that has eluded the company all these years? These are questions Mercedes doesn’t pretty yet have the answers to and is consequently trying out the waters via uploading the V-class immediately from Spain (wherein it’s far made) in small numbers. And if the demand is right, the agency will recall domestically assembling the V-elegance at its Chakan plant. However, the hassle with completely built-up (CBU) imports is they appeal to punitive duties and which can knock costs into the stratosphere.
One gain of sourcing the V-magnificence from Spain is that the lower price of manufacturing there, compared to Germany, translates to a decrease rate, which in turn reduces the knock-on effect of the high customs responsibilities on CBUs. Still, taking that advantage into consideration, the V-magnificence isn’t cheap and charges Rs 68.40 lakh sixty-eight. Forty lakh for the Expression trim and the Exclusive version examined here is even pricier at Rs 81.90 lakh. So have to you be paying a lot for a minivan, even supposing it’s got a three-pointed celebrity on its grille? Let’s see how away your cash is going.
What is it?
That this minivan has no longer-so-mini proportions is right now obvious the moment you come back within 5 ft of it. This is a huge car in each dimension, which – in conjunction with the charge – units it a class aside. In truth, the slab-like proportions, towering top, and flattish body panels make the
V-elegance extra van than MPV. Vans include industrial vehicle connotations, which (for obvious motives) Mercedes has attempted to masks with a clever set of alloy wheels, sleek metallic paint and a nose that could belong to any Merc. No doubt it’s the front end with the nicely distinct headlights, sculpted bumpers and huge grille that increase the V-magnificence’ photograph.
Overall, it’s a clever-searching van but it’s a van nonetheless, derived from the industrial Viano’s front-wheel-pressure platform. However, this platform – which is underpinned with robust mechanicals and an efficiently packaged suspension device of MacPherson struts up the front and trailing palms at the rear – has its personal set of advantages, with the area being the largest one in all them.
The V-elegance comes in frame sizes – the standard period, that is five,140mm, gets a 2+2+2 seating configuration, at the same time as the more-long 5,370mm model gets a 2+2+three layout which will increase seating capacity to seven passengers.
The six-seater version we’re testing is more for personal and corporate use and is aimed at CEOs and large families. So is the V-class versatile sufficient to switch among boardroom and family room?
Let’s first begin up the front. The motive force is instantly put in a relaxed way to the lofty seating function which gives brilliant visibility and spot-on ergonomics. The dashboard is quite plush with leather-based all round, and the overall ambiance and layout make you experience such as you’re in an ordinary Merc sedan and no longer a 5-meter-plus-lengthy MPV. In truth, the old-faculty dials are just like the C-class’, and the infotainment display is the small and as a substitute outdated 7.0-inch COMAND unit. Speaking of old, the engine too is the previous-gen OM651 2.1-liter unit, which has been upgraded to BS-VI spec. So even as there’s no stinting on high-quality, the V-elegance doesn’t get the modern-day functions discovered on its modern sedan siblings. You do, however, get functions like heated and cooled seats, USB ports and a non-obligatory 15-speaker Burmester audio system.
If the front row in business class, then the second and 0.33 rows offer an excellent tour. The primary cabin can be without difficulty accessed even in a tight parking spot way to the electrically operated sliding doors that open wide. From the inside, the doors can be opened or closed with a touch of a button by using both the rear passengers and the driving force.
The flat ground and massive amount of headroom make it handy for passengers to transport around inside the cabin and the seats themselves have generous amounts of the journey. In the Exclusive model, the pair of center row seats may grow to become around to stand the 0.33 row, which is a great configuration whilst engaging in meetings at the flow. The ahead-dealing with seats within the 0.33 row have individual fold-out trays that could slide forward, and with each open, they form a table like in a mini-conference room. However, going through passengers will watch their toes to avoid kicking each other. Also, the travel of the rearward-facing seats is constrained as they are pressed against the front seats. So with a truly tall driver up the front, there’s a piece of jostling needed to locate the most useful function.
As an own family automobile or luxury humans-mover, the V-magnificence is first-rate used with all three rows facing the route of the journey. However, rotating the middle row of seats by way of 180 stages is a bulky method. The seats are heavy to raise and difficult to unencumber and fix back onto their rails – something most owners gained’t have the persistence or ability to do. The simplest component to do is send the auto to the supplier wherein a trained technician can switch the seats round in a few minutes.
The seating role is spot on with its excessive ‘H-point’ and splendid outside visibility but the panoramic facet home windows could do with a sunblind, as a minimum as a choice. The aspect is, none of the six seats offer extraordinary consolation; the general seat cushioning is flat and difficult and you don’t sink into them as you will in an E-magnificence. You can’t recline the seat effortlessly either as it fouls with the rear parcel tray. There are bottle holders and sufficient cubbyholes to save stuff, however, you get simply two 12V sockets to rate your devices. There’s no AC output to charge your pc and no USB ports in the again either.
The cut up-beginning tailgate swings upwards to reveal a low loading lip and two-tier bags location, which helps you to make the maximum of the available area. Another very useful touch is the collapsible crates which when unfolded are perfect to maintain smaller gadgets in location to save you them from flying across the large boot place. And, in case you take away the remaining two rows of seats, there’s enough area to transport a pony. Space is one factor there is no scarcity inside the V-magnificence.
What’s it like to drive?
A 163hp engine pulling a three,100kg vehicle might also appear inadequate on paper however, tremendously, the 2.1-liter diesel is pretty as much as the activity in spite of all six seats occupied. Sure, you’re not going to be pinned again into your seats whilst you stamp on the throttle pedal, but the V 220d within reason brisk and may crack the 100kph barrier from relaxation in beneath a claimed 11sec. What’s extra extraordinary is the linear manner in which it builds energy and that is essential for a vehicle that desires to be driven smoothly and seamlessly, mainly if there’s a heated board assembly occurring in the back. The final component passengers need is an unexpected burst of acceleration in order to ship their files and papers flying throughout the cabin.
Overtaking, especially on the motorway isn’t as easy though and also you do want to override the smooth-transferring 7-pace automatic gearbox with quick tugs of the paddles for more urgency. This is not an engine that likes to be revved both, and, not like the smoother OM654 2.Zero-litre visible at the modern-day Mercs, it has a gruff observe past 4,000rpm.
That’s not to say refinement is a problem. In fact, pushed sedately, the V 220d is fairly hushed with little wind and road noise. The ride too could be very plush through MPV standards and aside from a little bit of low-velocity lumpiness this Merc, in actual Merc fashion, without a doubt smothers terrible roads. There’s a wee bit of pitching and some up and down movement whilst the road is genuinely bad but, ordinary, the V-magnificence, which has adaptive dampers, is surely properly composed and does a tremendous activity of now not demanding that ongoing meeting.
The massive surprise, but, is how easy the V-elegance is to deal with and is not in the least daunting to force as its length could advocate. Yes, you should have in mind that bus-like period, particularly whilst dodging visitors, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you adapt to the automobile’s giant dimensions.
It’s remarkably strong at the highway too, and the electromechanical steering (borrowed from the C-class) has a reassuring heft to it and offers you a sense of manage notwithstanding the truthful little bit of frame roll through corners.
Should you purchase one?
Yes, it’s a Mercedes; yes, it’s built to an excessive trendy, and sure, there’s no other MPV or minivan that gives everywhere close to the identical level of refinement consolation and luxury. But then no other MPV costs something close to the V 220d either. As a conventional six-seater MPV, it’s difficult to justify the fee, especially whilst for the same money you could get three top-end Innova Crystals and some exchange. No doubt it’s overpriced for what you get, however you’re paying a top class for what you don’t get in every other MPV. If anything, it’s simplest the sheer space and the unique seating configurations the V-elegance offers which could fairly justify its fee.