Can a minivan be green and luxury? Mercedes thinks so with its new V-class

Mercedes V-class

Mercedes V-class interiorIt’s hard to think of a minivan as an upmarket vehicle. Business executives prefer large sedans or limos, but it’s much easier to get in and out of a minivan, and with more height, there’s just more room. A minivan is also considerably shorter than a limo, and that’s a huge advantage in Europe. So the convenience is there, and Mercedes added all the luxuries it knows. That means a choice of Nappa or Lugano leather, 19′ light alloy wheels, radar detectors and cameras to observe surroundings and the brain to understand them so that the vehicle reads traffic signs, or can slow down automatically if a danger is detected.

Buyers may only worry about the price, but the engines available at launch are all very reasonable. It’s actually a single engine which but it’s available in three power levels. 136, 161 and 190 hp from a 2.1-liter diesel. We note that this same engine is available in Mercedes’ passenger cars, where it delivers 136, 170 and 205 hp. We guess power levels have been toned down for the harshest life of a minivan, while the torque curve were made flatter. Fuel economy is more important, and this is where these engines really shine.

Mercedes V-class interior

The Mercedes V-class 250 Bluetec (190 hp, that’s the most powerful), with an automatic transmission (the only one available) and a Stop&Start system has a combined rating of 39.2 mpg. For a vehicle this size, which still manages to go from 0 to 62 mph in 9.1 seconds with a 128 mph top speed, this is quite remarkable, and definitely better than the competition.

We shall get used to the idea of a green a luxury minivan.