► Based on Citan van, itself based on Renault Kangoo
► Five seats as standard, LWB with seven coming soon
► Petrol and diesel engines with electric on the way
Mercedes has unveiled its new T-Class mini-MPV, providing a challenger to the Volkswagen Caddy and Ford Tourneo Connect as well as the now EV-only Citroen Berlingo and its siblings. Mercedes claims it’ll bring an air of luxury as yet untapped in the small van-based MPV segment. Though how important that is to buyers remains to be seen.
Based on the Citan van, which is itself a heavy reskin of the latest Renault Kangoo, the T-Class sits below the much larger and more premium V-Class and promises a hefty dose of family-friendly practicality, with three separate rear seats to accommodate a trio of child seats and a massive, 520-litre boot with all five seats in place.
It’ll also form the basis for the upcoming EQT, an all-electric variant based on the eCitan van.
For now, though, the T-Class will be made available with a limited range of petrol and diesel engines plus six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox options. The 1.4-litre petrol engines offer 101bhp or 129bhp, while the 1.5-litre diesels are available with 94bhp or 114bhp.
What’s the difference between the T-Class and a Kangoo?
Visual changes are limited to the front wings, bonnet and headlights, with Mercedes’ own grille and three-pointed star giving it the standard ‘family face’. Round both sides you’ll find sliding doors while the rear has a full tailgate as standard – though a twin-door layout more akin to the van is available as an option.
The biggest changes can be found inside where Mercedes has totally reskinned the dash. A new steering wheel, classier round air vents and leather dashboard trim on some models elevate it over the equivalent Kangoo, and you’ll also get Mercedes’ own 7.0-inch infotainment display running the MBUX operating system. That gives the T-Class the same functionality as one of the brand’s passenger cars, including ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice control.
Two trim levels will be available, named ‘Style’ and ‘Progressive’. The former can be optioned with colourful dashboard trim, ostensibly for a more youthful vibe, while the latter doubles down on the chrome trim and artificial leather.
Style cars also get tinted windows and 16-inch alloys, while Progressive models bring electric rear windows and LED headlights.
Safety kit is one thing that hasn’t changed – the Kangoo already offers more than just about any other small van, but on the T-Class it’s mainly standard. You’ll get seven airbags, crosswind assist, active brake assist and blind-spot monitors. Optionally available is adaptive cruise control, park assist and a reversing camera as well as active lane assist. Matrix LED headlights complete the roster of optional safety aids.
Pricing hasn’t been revealed yet but is promised to be ‘sub €30,000’, the equivalent of around £25,000. That’s about the same price as an entry-level Volkswagen Caddy, and significantly less than the electric-only Citroen Berlingo.
The Citan van isn’t set to go on sale until 2023 so don’t expect the T-Class to precede it. A long-wheelbase model with seven seats will join the range soon after launch.