What is it?
The V-class represents Mercedes’ attempts to move its big seven-seat people mover into the consciousness of passenger car buyers.
The Viano that it replaces followed the traditional van-with-seats format. But although the V-class in passenger car form tested here is built alongside commercial vehicle variants, there is little that gives away this model’s more humble roots.
It is also impressively refined thanks to a surprisingly slippery shape, resulting in a low drag coefficient of 0.31 - the same as a Lexus LFA. It benefits further from the implementation of the 2.1-litre turbodiesel fitted to many of its passenger car models.
And, thirdly, the interior has been crafted with the care you’d hope for, given that it will cost nearly £40,000 in entry-level guise. This V250 BlueTec in Avantgarde trim is likely to command a price on the far side of £45,000, although prices will be confirmed closer to its launch in March 2015.
The V-class will be offered in short- and long-wheelbase configurations, and despite the latter measuring more than 5m in length, is surprisingly easy to drive. That has much to do with the width, barely wider than a Ford Galaxy, and Mercedes says its 1880mm height makes it car-park and car-wash friendly.