IT TOOK a while for a lot distinguish the new from old Avantagarde 250 d V CLASS MPV.
Thanks to its new bumper design with striking cooling air inlets and a new diamond structure in the radiator grille, that yours truly had to explain to curious and obvious Merc aficionados in both Soweto and East London.
We tested the popular Black painted V. Lets’ all give it to Benz – this is a cash-cow considering the number of this MPVs on the road, though it would be hard to quantify the numbers as the Germans are known for being secretive in that department.
The uplift of 250 d and V 300 were unveiled in 2019 respectively and one wondered why the fuss on the change and so forth. Now after a long haul test, I can safely attest comfortable space; it boast 140kW and 440Nm torque and luxury seats for the first row of seats are a real treat and, just like in the S-Class, they offer a fully reclining function, back massage and climatisation.
So, reaching EL on this road trip was a walk in the park – stress FREE…
What happened in Soweto remains in China, (no pun intended) as CoronaVirus runs amok in that State, unfortunately. Whilst in Dube, famous township that has produced Soweto’s greats we bade our final farewell to the wife of Orlando Pirates boss and PSL chairman Dr Irvin, Mantoa Khoza who died due to illness.
Its no brainer that “we blacks” easily love anything black so was the interior that follows the trend of modernity and clarity. Loved the Lugano or Nappa leather, each available in black or silk beige colours. Oh and the panoramic sliding sunroof. Typical Benz touch…
The personalisation concept with the attractive Avantgarde and Exclusive lines continue to exist, while the AMG Line will become visually more powerful: it features a new diamond radiator grille with chrome pins and thus delivers a sporty note.
The facelift, presents itself with new air vents in a more sporty turbine look as well as new dials in the instrument cluster. Thanks to the reduced design, drivers can orientate themselves much more simply, so did our “guests”. More often than not we used the separately opening rear window for replenishments.
We opted for Dynamic Select switch but still one can choose an option of the drive programs “Comfort” and “Sport” or alternatively “M” mode that allows the driver to shift manually using the Direct Select steering wheel gearshift paddles.
With strong crossing winds popular in areas with hills and mountains such as, the uplifted V Class’s new engine generation is even more efficient and clean and offers further improved noise and vibration characteristics. It is pleasantly quiet inside the vehicle and annoying vibrations have been reduced, thanks to its optionally equipped 9G-Tronic automatic transmission.
Safety, a key element on any Benz brand- the new Active Brake Assist can now detect the risk of a collision with a vehicle driving in front and initially initiates a visual and acoustic warning. If the driver reacts, Active Brake Assist increases the brake pressure to suit the requirements of the situation.
If the driver fails to react, the system initiates autonomous braking.
In line with the facelift, the new version will be equipped with the four-cylinder OM 654 diesel engine in output variants including the following:
We accelerated from 0 to 100km/h in 7.9 seconds, with a top speed of 220km/h, as we approached the chilly and quite Aliwal-North (EC)- as dogs wandered around shamelessly, unperturbed by this “big bus” to borrow from my Gran, in hesitation.
The four new light-alloy wheel designs ensure a powerful and avant-garde appearance.
They include 5-twin-spoke 17″ light-alloy wheels painted in black with a high-sheen finish as well as 18″ light-alloy wheels in tremolite grey with a high-sheen finish and 5-twin-spoke design or in black with a high-sheen finish and 5-spoke design.
At the upper end of the new wheels portfolio are black-painted 19″ 10-spoke light-alloy wheels with a high-sheen finish.
Yes, we did pass the headquarters of Benz SA in EL that is perched on the hill- beautifully.
So, what else is exactly new apart from a fresh bumper design (which also houses redesigned air inlets) lends the luxury bus a cleaner, more athletic look?
Answer: Optioning the AMG-Line package adds more visual excitement, with lovely 19-inch light-alloy AMG wheels, an AMG boot lid spoiler and the striking diamond grille being the highlights of the R55 413 package. With vehicles of this sort, styling normally plays second fiddle to practicality and interior space. Despite this, the V-Class is aesthetically pleasing, and manages to look classy and upmarket without being too flashy.
In line with the facelift, the new version is equipped with the four-cylinder OM 654 diesel engine in output variants. As we made our way out of the Coast with full tank (confirmed fuel in the Coast is more lesser as opposed to Inland) –we only topped up in Bloem. Yes, it is fuel convenient particularly with fuel price going down this week.
The only gripe with the uplifted Avantgarde 250 d V CLASS- limited time to play it…stru!
Mercedes-Benz Vans SA is offering all V-Class derivatives with a complimentary top-up to a 6-year/100 000 km plan.
It retails from R1, 185, 820.00
Performance 1-10 (9)
Fuel 1-10 (8)
Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz has confirmed it will no longer produce the slow-selling X Class.
According to Mercedes-Benz Vans SA: “In our global product portfolio, the X-Class is a niche product which plays a great role in a few markets, including Australia and South Africa.
“Already in the first quarter of 2019, we decided the X-Class would not be built in Argentina as planned. The reason for this was, above all, that the price expectations of Latin American customers have not been economically viable.”
The company reiterated the current demand for the X-Class, and service and warranty coverage will continue to be assured by Mercedes-Benz Vans.
Although unconfirmed only 973 X-Class units were sold in SA last year, following the fanfare that came with the launch of this expensive double cab bakkie.
Some attributed this nightmare to a Nissan Navara brand ideology.
Image Mdu Mphahlele (The uplifted new V Class 20d MPV in a class of its own, finish & klaar).