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
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.
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.