Mercedes-Benz created the V-Class MPV by thoroughly reworking its ageing Viano, which was starting to look a little long in the tooth alongside the newer Ford Tourneo Connect and Volkswagen T6 Caravelle, not to mention the left-wing choice - the Hyundai i800.
The latest Mercedes materials, technology and infotainment are present and correct on the V-Class, while the exterior styling has been updated to incorporate the firm's two-blade grille incorporating the three-pointed star.
The 2.1-litre diesel engine in the V-Class has been carried over from the previous model, but it was revised for 2015, with the entry-level 220 CDI version producing 160bhp and 280lb ft of torque. The 250 d, tested here, produces 187bhp and 324lb ft. The CDI 220 emits 163g/km and is claimed to average 49.6mpg, while the 250 d emits 166g/km of CO2 and returns 44.8mpg combined respectively.
Our V-Class test car was specified with seven individual seats in a two/two/three configuration, but a 'Long' model - 24.5cm longer - and the 'Extra Long' model - 47.5cm longer - with the latter fitted with eight individual seats as standard, are both also available. For 2017, Mercedes has expanded the V-Class range by offering a direct competitor to the Volkswagen California, in the shape of the Marco Polo.
In terms of perceived quality, the V-Class is a far more luxurious place to spend time than either the Ford, Hyundai or the VW. There are two trim levels to choose from, with the Sport equipping the V-Class with, sat nav, parking sensors, reversing camera, automated power tailgate, leather upholstery with heated front seats, LED headlights and 17in alloys. The flagship AMG Line trim gets 19in alloy wheel, carbonfibre interior trim and an aggressive AMG bodykit.
As for the camper Marco Polo, it is available in two trim levels also. The entry-level Sport model comes with all the equipment that a standard V-Class benefits from plus the addition of two seater luxury sofa bed, three-zone climate control, pop-up roof with a double bed, yacht wood flooring, swivelling front seats, and a kitchenette - complete with refrigeration box, a gas hob, sink and multiple cupboard space. Upgrade to the AMG Line version and find all the AMG-styled appendage found on an equivalent V-Class plus added chrome, and sports suspension.
But while the switchgear and the S-Class-derived metallic infotainment scroller feel impressive to touch, other areas bend and squeak, while our test car exhibited continuous rattles from the parcel shelf assembly, detracting from the generally high-end feel.