It comes standard with an aerodynamically styled roof box, a paint job that changes in different lighting, and all sorts of safety specifications. The Mercedes-Benz V300d Special Edition is undoubtedly one the most luxurious people mover on the South African market, our Road Test Editor Kyle Kock took the model on a 1 500 km road trip to get a detailed impression.
What are we driving
The V300d is the top dog of the Mercedes-Benz vans range. Yes, the Vito, as a crew bus can hold another passenger and are more load-friendly, but the V-Class is where executives are seated as they’re being shuttled around. With a second row that can be lifted and rotated to face the third row, it could even be the staging ground for meetings on the go. Or perhaps it can be used to transport a team of professional athletes… The applications for the affluent are vast.
Traditional German naming conventions don’t apply here, because under the bonnet lies a 2,0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel motor. It makes a peak 174 kW and 500 N.m of torque that gets sent to the rear axle via a nine-speed automatic transmission. Those outputs are nothing to pull your nose at but rather than make this model an outright sprinter (excuse the pun). It all results in a cross-country athlete capable of carrying a large family or group of friends over long distances with ease.
Why is the Mercedes-Benz V300d Special Edition significant?
Over and above what would otherwise be the range-topping model, the V300d Exclusive, this Special Edition will set you back just under R200 000 more. It also comes standard with an AMG roof box and is finished in a special colour called Sothalite blue metallic (a mixture of blue and purple pearl). It features a host of AMG trim and model-specific accents, as well as Mercedes’ Agility Control, which adjusts the suspension damping automatically according to road conditions.
What’s it like to drive and live with?
While the V300d will easily exceed the national speed limit and cruise comfortably above 120 km/h, it must be said that the roof storage box can be a hindrance in when doing so, forcing the pilot to behave. I’d been warned beforehand that the box would tap against the roof at around 140 km/h, and just as a precaution, I left the blinds of the panoramic roof wide open to monitor the box. Only once during a 1 500 km round trip to Jeffreys Bay and back from Cape Town did I experience the alarming tap in strong wind, and it was just after overtaking a slower-moving vehicle at around 130 km/h.
My advice? Set the cruise control and speed limiter to 125 km/h and enjoy the scenery. Otherwise, the V300d Special Edition is a wonderful cruiser. The lane keep assist isn’t an intrusive braking force, but rather strong vibrations through the steering wheel. Overtaking slow trucks and nervous followers is a doddle thanks to the torque on tap and, contrary to most racks and boxes on our market, the aerodynamically styled AMG unit atop the Special Edition’s roof made little wind noise.
The journey to J-Bay returned an average of 8,5 L/100 km, but some driving around the little surfing town ramped up the average to 10,2 L/100 km. That figure then dropped on the way back home to 8,8 L/100 km. That’s quite a respectable figure considering that the V-Class was fully loaded with luggage, a packed roof box (a weight limit of 70 kg applies) and had occupants in all seven seats.
The automatic sliding doors, with switches accessible by the second-row occupants and controlled by the driver or front passenger, make ingress and egress a breeze. The heated and cooled drink holders just aft of the centre console storage bin are also a pleasant welcome in mixed weather conditions.
What does the Mercedes-Benz V300d Special Edition cost?
The V300d will set you back a cool R2 206 698, with all the bells and whistles as standard. The price is also inclusive of a seven-year or 140 000 km maintenance plan.
What are the Mercedes-Benz V300d Special Edition’s rivals?
The Kia Carnival in SXL specification is the most affordable of what could be considered the V300d Special Edition’s rivals at R1 076 995, but also the most powerful with 148 kW and 440 N.m – it has the most airbags though, at seven. The Hyundai Staria Luxury costs R1 208 900, and even though it’s an airbag down there’s some kit that justifies the price hike and of course it has a seven-year/105 000 km service plan. Then there’s the Volkswagen Caravelle Highline, which is R1 394 300, but only has a five-year/60 000 km maintenance plan.
The Mercedes-Benz V300d Special Edition eclipses all its rivals significantly in all these areas, though the asking price for all the niceties is dear. Yes, it’s by far the most luxurious option of all the van-like MPVs in South Africa, but unless you’re an MVP or executive, it’s unlikely to appeal to you. You could have a V300d Avantgarde for R500 000 less…
Mercedes-Benz V300d Special Edition Fast Facts
- Price: R2 206 698
- Engine: 1 950 cc, turbodiesel, four-cylinder
- Power: 174 kW at 4 200 r/min
- Torque: 550 N.m at 1 600 r/min
- Transmission: nine-speed automatic
- Driven wheels: rear
- 0-100 km/h: 7,8 seconds
- Fuel consumption: 9,6 litres/100 km
- Top speed: 220 km/h
- Rivals: Hyundai Staria, Kia Carnival, Volkswagen Caravelle