Mercedes-Benz V250

The transporter by three-pointed star

Starting from the electric sliding door, you are welcomed by a luxurious interior with a lot of possible seat configurations."

"The car works beautifully here especially because the child seat rule is now imposed in full force and this MPV can easily swallow two families and their entire luggage."

"It's like moving from a studio flat into a fully furnished 2 BHK."

"For this part of the world, I think the V250 will continue its current duties as a business class airport shuttle and the acceptance as a family car will take a bit more time," said Ershad.

I have always been amazed by those chic vans that are mostly seen parked near luxurious hotel entrances or at airport parking lots. The big boxy set of wheels always looks super clean and ready to shuttle businessmen. I don't know why, but in my mind the vans were always associated with business passengers whereas SUVs I would consider to be better as family cars. (Maybe I am just accustomed to seeing them like this on UAE roads.)

Anyhow, I had a chance to lay my hands on one of the best names in the van or MPV (multipurpose vehicle) business, the Mercedes-Benz V250 Avantgarde. The V250 replaces the Viano MPV range and joins the A to Z of the Mercedes-Benz model lineup. Available in three trims, namely Standard, Avantgarde and Exclusive; our test car is the V250 Avantgarde.

This is no people-carrying rocket. The V250 is a practical people mover, which is made to transport a good number of passengers and their luggage comfortably, even for long drive hauls. Practical cars seldom look sleek and the V250 is no exception. But it is a Mercedes, so it needs to look the part and so it does. Instantly recognizable as a member of the Mercedes family, the front grille and light design add a lot of dynamism and class to the V250. In Avantgarde trim, the V250 is adorned with LED Intelligent lighting up front and on the rear, which adds to the visual appeal. The V250 looks tall when viewed from the front and hints at the acres of space available within. The profile is essentially boxy with some character lines to take off that one-big-flat-panel look. 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels (which are a part of the Avantgarde trim) make the V250 look a class apart. I would've loved the 20-spoke wheels, which are added on as part of a Sport package, but it adds on a lot of other things not really required on a car like this. The design is wrapped up in the rear in a similar no-nonsense way; it's function over form here.

Anybody who drives an SUV (or so-called SUVs) and spends most of their time on tarmac should definitely experience the V250. The driving position is commanding and you have a great view of the surroundings, and you will be surprised by the comfort offered by the roomy cabin. It's like moving from a studio flat into a fully furnished 2 BHK. I would say that MPVs are greatly unappreciated in this part of the world, but I would definitely recommend this car to anyone who is looking for a three-row SUV. The V250 is available in two wheelbases, standard and long, with the latter offering more legroom and luggage space.

Powering the Mercedes-Benz V250 is a four-cylinder turbo petrol engine generating 211 horsepower and 350 Nm of torque. These numbers can efficiently propel the V250 to freeway speeds and remains composed when doing so. For a car of this size, it has a respectable fuel consumption of 8.9 L/100 km. The Avantgarde trim features 'Agility Control' which basically provides drive mode selections like Eco, Comfort, Manual and Sport. Each setting modifies the suspension, throttle response and gearshift patterns to suit your driving mood. Best left in Comfort, the V250 is happy to chug along in city traffic or cruise at 140 km/h on freeways. The 7G-tronic PLUS transmission easily works through the gear ratios, albeit feeling a bit outdated. An upgrade should be coming soon. Steering feels light and easy, gradually feeling heavy as speed picks up. Body roll in turns is much less than similarly sized SUVs, mainly due to the lower ground clearance, I guess. For a five-meter long MPV, the V250 is well behaved and you feel the size only in tight parking spots. A 360-degree view camera and reversing camera takes care that the V250 remains safe. In addition, you get automatic parking assist, which can fit you into the tightest parking spaces with minimal or close to no effort.

Starting from the electric sliding door, you are welcomed by a luxurious interior with a lot of possible seat configurations. Fit for an MPV, the V250 features three rows of seats with a lot of sliding and folding possibilities. In effect you have a vehicle that can carry seven passengers as standard or can load up a lot of luggage depending upon the situation. On the test car we had two rear-facing seats fixed behind the front seats as the second row and a forward-facing three-seater as the third row. We have a foldable table neatly housed between the rear-facing seats that can be manually drawn out to make space for a quick bite or to run a presentation on your laptop. Kids can enjoy an occasional board game as well! There is no shortage of cubbyholes, cup holders, power outlets etc., which are cleverly placed throughout the cabin. The car works beautifully here especially because the child seat rule is now imposed in full force and this MPV can easily swallow two families and their entire luggage. Even when fully occupied, the cabin feels airy and everyone gets their own bit of space. In a typical SUV, you would be tightly packed and find it difficult to sustain more than a 30 minute drive. The V250 also features a full-length panoramic roof, which sort of transforms your travel environment into a glass house. Nothing better than this to shrug off long travel stress. Individual climate control, available for front and rear seats, ensures that all passengers are comfortable even in the hottest of climates.

Adding luxury to the versatile interior is the use of embossed Lugano leather for the upholstery and ash wood-look trim all around the cabin. The Avantgarde trim also has ambient lighting throughout the interior in three different shades. The optional 640W Burmester surround sound system is a must-have and the V250 can create the effect of a concert hall! One clever add-on is the mic and speaker arrangement for the driver, so that there is no need to turn around and scream instructions to kids in the rearmost seats!

The Mercedes-Benz V250 is host to a list of safety features including Crosswind Assist, which can help in improving driving control in heavy crosswind conditions (which I guess would be tested to its limits in this region). You get Attention Assist, which monitors driver attention and warns in case of drowsiness or lack of attention; and features like DISTRONIC Plus, which is an adaptive cruise control system and Collision Prevention Assist, which can initiate braking if a possible crash situation is detected. Many standard assist features of today, including Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Monitoring and High Beam Assist, also find a place in the V250.

Verdict
Mercedes-Benz V250 is an MPV that gives you an answer to all those reasons why you didn't want to buy an MPV. For this part of the world, I think the V250 will continue its current duties as a business class airport shuttle, and the acceptance as a family car will take a bit more time. Definitely worth a try if you are looking for an efficient people mover with the three-pointed star.

Pros: Very practical, spacious, comfortable ride, efficient engine
Cons: Van image, pricing versus exterior styling
Rivals: Volkswagen Multivan Executive, Ford Grand Tourneo Connect
one word: 5 star people hauler
4.5 stars

Specs
2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, 211 hp @ 5,500 rpm, 350 Nm @ 1,200 - 4,000 rpm
4WD, 7G-Tronic Auto
0-100 km/h: 9.5 sec, top speed: 210 km/h, fuel consumption: 11 L/100 km
Weight: 2,145 kg

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