Driven - Mercedes-Benz V300d Exclusive
- Price: From R1 440 203
- Engine: 2.0-litre diesel 4-cylinder engine
- Power/Torque: 176kW/500nm
- Transmission: 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission
It is said that one should never meet their hero as they may be left disappointed. Well, in this case, I had a weeklong date with my hero, and I can confidently say that I was not at all disappointed. Enter the Mercedes-Benz V-Class V300d Exclusive.
The V300d was added to the range in South Africa a year ago and has proved to be quite well received by consumers as there are many of them on our roads. New to the V300d is the engine as well as the transmission. Powering the luxury MPV is a 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine that churns out 176Kw and 500Nm of torque, mated to the new 9G-TRONIC automatic transmission. The engine and transmission pairing are like a match made in heaven. The engine pulls with great ease considering the size and weight of the vehicle. The transmission shifts ever so smoothly and hardly struggles to find the right gear. Under hard acceleration, the V300d manages to work its way down the gears swiftly.
The interior of the luxury MPV is quite a pleasant place to be in. Upfront, although the layout may not look as futuristic as some of the latest Mercedes-Benz models, the V-Class still manages to keep retain a modern look and feel thanks to the new 10.25-inch MBUX touchscreen infotainment system. The system is crisp, bright and quite responsive to the touch. It includes Apple Carplay and Android Auto however I was left rather disappointed at how the system did not use the full width of the touchscreen.
That aside, the system itself is quite easy to operate. It can either be operated via the new touchpad or via touchscreen. I found it more convenient to use the touchpad whilst driving but this also meant that the beautiful touchscreen could stay free of nasty fingerprint marks. The MBUX system may also be used for certain functions in the vehicle. The integrated navigation system is one of my favourite features of the infotainment system as it does a good job of finding destinations as well as displaying directions quite well.
Included is also a 360-degree camera package. There are cameras all around the vehicle which are all very high resolution and allow you to see all angles of the vehicle in order to make parking easy.
Complimenting the infotainment system is the standard Burmester 16-speaker surround sound system. Being a big fan of different sorts of music, I quite looked forward to testing out the system and I can happily report that it exceeded my expectations. Whether at the front or at the rear, the sound stays equally balanced and retains the rich quality even at high volumes.
The rear of the V-Class is where the fun really starts. Upon opening the electrically sliding rear doors, I was greeted by a five-seat configuration (a four-seat configuration is available). The second row of seats, which are climatised, can face the third row of seats for a conference-like setup. I however received my test unit with the second row facing forwards. A quick dash to YouTube for a tutorial on how to switch the seats around quickly changed my mind on changing the setup. It takes a somewhat lengthy and tedious process that involves entirely lifting and removing the actual seats from their rails and facing them to the rear. I found this to be a letdown considering that the V-Class’s closest competitor has a much easier process which involves simply pulling a lever and swivelling the seat alone.
Furthermore, the lack of actual USB ports in the rear was another gripe which I experienced. Again, the V-Class’s closest competitor has one up over the V-Class as it includes USB ports in the rear. In place of USB ports are 12V socket outlets so not all hope is lost. Rounding up the niggles, I experienced quite evident rattles from the right-side rear door. The rattles were most evident at urban speeds and more so on roads that weren’t too well maintained. This however is something that I could live with, more so with thanks to the superb surround sound system. Some may however argue that they shouldn’t need to live with the rattles considering the asking price of this luxury MPV.
All bad things aside, Mercedes-Benz has set the benchmark for luxury MPV’s for quite a while now. The V300d is no exception and is simply the one and only choice of vehicle in the luxury MPV market. My range-topping V300d Exclusive test unit includes niceties such as the AMG Line kit, panoramic sunroof, Distronic & cooled and heated cup holders as standard.
Pricing for the Exclusive model is R1 645 880 however the range kick starts at R1 440 203.