KING OF THE EX­PLOR­ERS: MERC’S MARCO POLO CAMPER VAN GETS A RE­FRESH

Mercedes-benz’s high-end camper van has been given a re­fresh. If you’re into ‘glamp­ing’, is this the ve­hi­cle for you? We find out

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - PAUL CON­NOLLY

WHAT’S NEW?

The Marco Polo is Mercedes’ an­swer to the Volk­swa­gen Cal­i­for­nia camper van. Launched in 2014, it has all the at­tributes of a typ­i­cal Merc – only it sleeps four peo­ple as well (and it has a lit­tle kitchen).

Based on a long-wheel­base V- Class peo­ple car­rier, the Marco Polo has been given a mild re­fresh to keep it up to date, in­clud­ing some se­ri­ous safety and tech.

LOOKS AND IM­AGE

It has to be said the Marco Polo doesn’t look quite like your tra­di­tional camper van. It’s more glamp­ing (‘glam­orous camp­ing’) than camp­ing.

It has a dy­namic ex­te­rior styling com­ple­mented by a beau­ti­fully ap­pointed in­te­rior, which of­fers a host of prac­ti­cal fea­tures cou­pled with pre­mium ma­te­ri­als and fin­ishes.

There are two main mod­els, the Sport and the AMG Line. The Sport fea­tures gen­er­ous equip­ment lev­els and dy­namic de­sign.

Ex­te­rior high­lights in­clude 18” al­loy wheels and tinted rear win­dows, while the in­te­rior fea­tures am­bi­ent light­ing, Garmin Map Pi­lot nav­i­ga­tion, and Ther­matic three-zone au­to­matic cli­mate con­trol.

The AMG Line is even classier (and costlier). It fea­tures its AMG body-styling, 19” AMG bi-colour al­loy wheels, chrome trim el­e­ments, and metal­lic paint.

An AMG spoiler lip on the tail­gate is another sig­na­ture de­tail, as are brake calipers with ‘Mercedes-benz’ let­ter­ing, while sports sus­pen­sion en­hances driv­ing agility.

SPACE AND PRAC­TI­CAL­ITY

With a fully equipped kitch­enette and two built-in beds that can be set up in mo­ments, the V- Class Marco Polo of­fers the com­forts of home, wher­ever you may be.

It comes with a full range of equip­ment in­clud­ing a built-in kitch­enette with a fridge and hob, plus a two-seater sofa which can eas­ily be trans­formed into a bed (with un­der-bed stor­age).

It also fea­tures a roof bed that can ac­com­mo­date two peo­ple, ac­cessed via an “easy-up” elec­tri­cally rais­ing roof; a wardrobe and a lug­gage com­part­ment de­scribed as “gen­er­ous”.

As stan­dard, Sport mod­els come with a two-seater sofa with bed ex­ten­sion; yacht wood floor­ing in rear com­part­ment (avail­able in a choice of two colours at no ex­tra cost); camp­ing ta­ble plus two chairs with stor­age bag; elec­tri­cally op­er­ated pop-up roof and swiv­el­ling driver and pas­sen­ger seats.

There is also au­to­matic three­zone cli­mate con­trol; ex­ter­nal con­nec­tions for power and fresh wa­ter; tinted rear win­dows; 18inch al­loy wheels; am­bi­ent light­ing; Garmin nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem; leather up­hol­stery; Ac­tive Park­ing As­sist with rear-view cam­era; and split tail gate.

The kitch­enette with two gas hobs, a re­frig­er­a­tor box, a sink, and var­i­ous stor­age com­part­ments.

There’s a fold-out ta­ble for din­ing in­doors, plus a camp­ing ta­ble and two chairs for eat­ing al fresco.

There’s even a built-in wardrobe, com­plete with clothes rail, shelf and van­ity mir­ror.

When night falls, you sim­ply ex­tend the two-seater lux­ury couch into a comfy bed, draw down the built-in roller blinds, and, in the­ory, drift off to sleep.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

There is a choice of two “frugal” en­gines. These are the 220 d and 250 d, both us­ing a tur­bocharged 2.1-litre diesel en­gine.

The 220 d has an out­put of 163 hp and max­i­mum torque of 380 Nm, with of­fi­cial fuel econ­omy of 44.8 mpg on the com­bined cy­cle and CO2 emis­sions of 166 g/km.

The 250 d gen­er­ates 190 hp and 440 Nm of torque, can of­fi­cially achieve 44.8 mpg and emits 169 g/km of CO2.

A 7G-TRONIC PLUS au­to­matic trans­mis­sion is stan­dard across the range, and the AMG Line comes with sports sus­pen­sion which is said to de­liver a bet­ter driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

SAFETY

There’s a ver­i­ta­ble wealth of ad­vanced safety sys­tems in­clud­ing Col­li­sion Pre­ven­tion As­sist, which con­tin­u­ously mon­i­tors the road ahead and helps you man­age po­ten­tial haz­ards.

For ex­am­ple, if the ve­hi­cle in front of you sud­denly slows down, the sys­tem alerts you to ap­ply the brakes and, on do­ing so, op­ti­mises brak­ing force to help re­duce the risks of a col­li­sion.

Other fea­tures in­clude Sidewind As­sist, which de­tects sud­den strong gusts of wind act­ing on the sides of the ve­hi­cle, and uses tar­geted brak­ing to pre­vent you drift­ing out of your lane. There is also a fea­ture called At­ten­tion As­sist, which helps you stay alert at the wheel.

The V- Class Marco Polo is also equipped with LED In­tel­li­gent Light Sys­tem head­lamps, which au­to­mat­i­cally ad­just the beam’s range, di­rec­tion and in­ten­sity to suit the driv­ing.

VALUE FOR MONEY

The Mercedes-benz V- Class Marco Polo camper van is now on sale, with prices start­ing from £53,180 for the en­try-level V 220 d Sport.

The V 220 d AMG Line is £55,320, the V 250 d Sport £55,055 and the V 250 d AMG Line is £57,195.

Al­though the ve­hi­cles are very well specced, there are, as you’d ex­pect, a range of op­tional ex­tras.

For £595, the Lane Track­ing pack­age in­cludes Blind Spot As­sist and Lane Keep­ing As­sist.

The Driv­ing As­sis­tance pack­age is op­tion­ally avail­able for £1,695 and in­cludes Distronic Plus; Blind Spot As­sist; Pre-safe; and Lane Keep­ing As­sist.

Stand-alone op­tions in­clude metal­lic paint (£645); Com­mand On­line in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem (£1,795); 360° cam­era (£335); ex­tra in­di­vid­ual seat in the mid­dle row (£1,045); side awning (£695); and aux­il­iary heat­ing (£1,345 – avail­able across the en­tire V- Class range).

WHO WOULD BUY ONE?

The V- Class Marco Polo would suit cou­ples and fam­i­lies who want to tour/hol­i­day in style and com­fort. Ad­di­tion­ally, busi­nesses that need a camper van for at­tend­ing ex­hi­bi­tions, etc.

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