The first clues in answer to that question hit you as you climb aboard, either through the front seats or the sliding side door (which it’s worth noting is on the Euro-friendly driver’s side, meaning rear passengers will be entering and leaving on the road side in the UK).
The interior of the Marco Polo is nothing less than a delight. The two-burner hob, fridge, sink, pop-up table and storage space arrangement is compact, easy to access and cleverly orientated so that, for instance, the bits you’re more likely to access while standing are located below the point the roof will raise to its highest.
The as-standard yacht flooring lifts the ambience, while the sliding rear seat bench, which converts to a double bed at the push of some buttons, is comfortable and easy to move fore and aft. The front seats also rotate round, making turning your kitchen/car into a living room the work of moments, albeit slightly fiddly ones as you manoeuvre the chairs into the right position so they will swivel without catching anything. The roof sleeping area opens and closes at the push of a button and is released via two simple clips.
Compromises are few and far between, albeit with the glaring exception of the USB ports between the front seats, which are located underneath the protruding Comand controller for the sat-nav, radio and other functions. It’s a minor blip on an otherwise well resolved interior. It’s worth noting, too, that USB and power plugs are located all around the interior, so only the driver or front seat passenger are likely to be impacted.
The driver's high seating position is excellent, however, delivering very good forward visibility, while the standard parking sensors and rear-view camera make light work of tight parking situations. The Marco Polo is big, but not unwieldy.
The V-Class's four-cylinder diesel engine is impressively refined aside from a grumble when it is fired to life or sat at idle, and it pulls well enough to make overtaking, or perhaps more commonly matching motorway speeds as you join a carriageway, comfortable. Most of the torque is low down, too, so you rarely need to stretch the Marco Polo’s legs. The engine is well matched to the silky smooth seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which seems impervious to getting flustered, no matter how hurried your demands.
There’s only so much isolation a van-lengthed vehicle on 18in wheels can offer from pockmarked roads, but despite being easily unsettled, overall the Marco Polo is comfortable to be in. The only other reminder of its size and weight comes under braking, which isn’t quite as immediate as its other bountiful qualities may suck you into expecting.