Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo

A refined but pricey way to search for your inner explorer

Camping in style. But a VW California offers similar and is cheaper

This is a well-presented two-bedroom detached house with a newly fitted kitchen and dining area with yacht wood flooring, situated in the heart of anywhere you care to park it. You get the idea. The Mercedes-Benz V-Class Marco Polo is a bite-size luxury property on wheels, and it’s just had a few updates as part of a facelift for the entire V-Class MPV range.

Chief among them is a very welcome refresh in its engine and gearbox offering. The OM654 four-cylinder diesel engine from the E-Class, GLE and CLS with two different outputs (220d and 300d) are now available, along with Mercedes’ nine-speed automatic gearbox, which is standard.

Elsewhere in the V-Class line-up, automatic emergency braking is now standard and there’s a tweak to its design inside and out.

Even though it’s massive, you’ll still be amazed at what they’ve managed to fit inside. Seating for four, two beds, a kitchenette complete with sink, hob and fridge – it’s a proper Tardis. Tweaks for the facelift are mild. There’s some new upholsteries, a new front-end design, some new paint colours and alloy wheels, but really the dashboard design now feels a step behind Mercedes’ latest flashy widescreen interiors found in the new A-Class and GLE. There’s not even the option of a digital driver display.
Still, perceived quality is high, and a decent feel of luxury abounds.

But the most notable changes are the engines and gearbox, which are both big improvements. It’s not just the difference in pace that’s noticeable – the 300d is an impressively strong, gutsy engine – but rather the huge leap forward in refinement. Noise, vibration and harshness is better all round, with the gently idling diesel a welcome replacement for the gruffer 2.1-litre. The nine-speed automatic gearbox is slick and not easily flustered, with those two extra ratios greatly helping cruising refinement.

Sure, you can still tell it’s a van underneath it all – with a rickety ride especially telling – but dynamic ability might not be high on your list of priorities for a vehicle such as this.

True, a Volkswagen California does a similar job for less money, but if you’re after lifestyle adventures with a premium badge, then the Marco Polo is pretty compelling – for a significant price.

DOUG REVOLTA

 

Mercedes-Benz 300d V-Class Marco Polo
Cheap house, expensive car… luxury camper van now comes with a better engine and gearbox

 

Price £62,100 (est)
Engine 4 cyls, 1950cc, turbocharged, diesel
Power 236bhp at 4200rpm
Torque 369lb ft at 1600-2400rpm
Gearbox 9-spd automatic
Kerb weight 2487kg
Top speed 134mph
0-62mph 8.6sec
Economy WLTP figures tbc
CO2, tax band WLTP figures tbc
Rival Volkswagen California