Mercedes-Benz’s commercial vehicles division has lifted the veil off of the all-new 2014 V-Class, a mid-size van that slots between the Renault-based Citan and the full-size Sprinter.
Designed to replace the existing Viano, the V-Class adopts a dynamic exterior design that is heavily inspired by recent members of the Mercedes lineup including the CLA-Class and the redesigned E-Class. The front fascia features familiar elongated headlamps and a twin-slat radiator grille while the rear end gains a large window and short tail lamps.
The V-Class follows the van industry’s shifts towards more car-like interiors with a curved dash, analog gauges, circular air vents and a touch screen mounted on top of the center stack. Both six- and eight-seater variants are offered, and buyers have access to a mile-long list of extra-cost add-ons to customize their van’s cabin.
As expected, the V-Class ditches the current Viano’s six-cylinder engines in favor of a smaller 2.1-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine available with 136, 163 or 190 horsepower. Front-wheel drive will be the only configuration offered at launch, but an all-wheel drive setup is expected to join the lineup later in the production run.
All V-Class vans come standard with Crosswind Assist and Attention Assist, and the list of options includes a 360-degree camera, active parking assistance systems and a seven-speed automatic transmission.
The new V-Class is scheduled to go on sale across Germany next May with a base price of €42,900 ($58,000) before taxes are factored in. Whether or not the van has been earmarked for the United States, where the market for compact front-wheel drive commercial vehicles is steadily growing, is not known.
A cargo-hauling variant of the V-Class with welded-in rear windows, steel wheels and black plastic bumpers is expected to go on sale before the end of the year. Likely called Vito, it will feature a considerably less upscale cockpit and retail for significantly less.