‘The pri­mary mis­sion is lux­ury com­fort’

Top Gear (Philippines) - - The Big Test -

The V-Class and the Al­phard aim to be the ul­ti­mate in fam­ily trans­port. Each model is loaded with fea­tures and per­for­mance that el­e­vate it above the usual MPV fare.

The pas­sen­ger cabin right­fully gets the most at­ten­tion here. Toy­ota’s con­tender of­fers a pair of sec­ond-row arm­chairs that are fit for a busi­ness jet or a personal home theater. They’re soft and wide, and have pow­ered ac­tu­a­tion in­clud­ing a fold­ing ot­toman. They can re­cline to make for com­fort­able places to take a power nap while stuck in traf­fic. Those alone could seal the deal for any­one look­ing for a premium van.

The Mercedes coun­ters with seats that are more con­ven­tional but also more ver­sa­tile. They are sim­pler in size and func­tion. They re­cline and have arm­rests, but are not as plush and lack that bed-like con­fig­u­ra­tion.

The V-Class in­te­rior is larger, too, thanks to an ex­tra-long wheel­base that yields greater legroom for both sec­ond and third rows. It also has the edge in lug­gage space. No won­der it’s the ve­hi­cle of choice for trans­port and tour­ing in many Euro­pean ci­ties.

Along with their pri­mary mis­sion as lux­ury trans­port, these two vans pro­vide a mea­sure of per­for­mance for the driver. The Al­phard has a gaso­line en­gine that is will­ing to rev and has a pleas­ing ex­haust note. The diesel mill in the V-Class is the smooth and silent type, with am­ple torque from low revs. The Toy­ota fa­vors a soft ride with floaty han­dling, while the Merc gives a more pre­dictable han­dling feel and good steer­ing re­sponse.

There’s no doubt an en­thu­si­ast driver will pre­fer the V-Class. As for the back­seat dweller, un­less you re­ally want the Al­phard’s arm­chairs, the V-Class’s more modern in­te­rior ap­point­ments and con­ve­nience fea­tures are enough to place it above the Al­phard.

They’re both lux­u­ri­ous, but also very dif­fer­ent

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