‘The primary mission is luxury comfort’
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