Mercedes Marco Polo updated, as V-Class promises S-Class lux in a van

Published: 25 August 2023 Updated: 25 August 2023

► Extensive visual and interior improvements for Mercedes V-Class
► Range-topping Exclusive brings back trad grille
► Marco Polo camper get self-levelling air suspension

Mercedes-Benz has given its ‘V’ family of mid-sized van-adjacent products an update. This particular arm of Mercedes-Benz Vans consists of the Vito panel van and eVito electric panel van, V-Class and EQV people-carriers, and the V-Class Marco Polo campervan.

All models get significant cosmetic and interior upgrades, while the V-Class range has a new halo product – the V-Class Exclusive, offering S-Class luxury with a lot more headroom.

Perhaps more realistically, the Marco Polo is now available with self-levelling air suspension, and has just been revealed to the public at the 2023 Dusseldorf Caravan Salon, where its competing for attention with the all-new Ford Nugget. There’s also a preview of the next VW camper at the same show in the form of Multivan-based Volkswagen California Concept.

Mercedes Marco Polo facelift campervan at 2023 Dusseldorf Caravan Salon - rear, blue

There’s a new Marco Polo camper?

Just a minor update, really, as the living and camping interior wasn’t doing the business just fine already. It’s therefore still luxurious inside – even more so than the Volkswagen California that’s this van’s biggest rival. Major changes are the same exterior and dashboard enhancements as the rest of the revised V-Class range, the key feature being the adoption of Mercedes’ dual screen infotainment and instrumentation displays..

However, Merc has added two highly useful new camping features. Vans equipped with the optional air suspension can now self-level on an uneven campsite – that’s usually the preserve of much larger, much more expensive motorhomes and its inclusion here is great news.

Mercedes Marco Polo interior

The new infotainment is now also the control centre for everything camping-related. You can check the battery, fresh and waste water levels, control the heating, raise or lower the roof, and configure the fridge and lighting. You can also do this through a companion app, allowing you to set up the van before you get back from a trip out.

S-Class luxury? From the van-based V-Class? Really?

Your first clue that this is meant to be taken seriously is the grille. Mercedes’ traditional upright grille with the upstanding bonnet emblem has all but disappeared from the UK in favour of the ‘Sport’ grille with inset logo. It’s now only available on the S-Class, which is a real pity for those of us who enjoyed the feeling of imperiousness one got from seeing that emblem at the end of a bonnet.

Mercedes V-Class rear seats

However, Mercedes has confirmed that the top-of-the-line V-Class Exclusive will get this fascia in the UK. Couple that with the seriously cool monobloc wheels (optional) and you’ve got a van that’s sure to divide opinion. This author loves it.

In the back, you get just two seats – but they’re straight out of Lufthansa business class, and are heated, cooled, electrically adjustable and massaging. They even have a footrest, Alcantara-swaddled pillows for the headrests and wonderfully overengineered tray tables on the front seat backs.

What about the rest of the range?

The regular V-Class comes with six, seven, or eight seats, plus a natty sliding table affair that’s especially useful when the van’s in conference mode. Up front, both it and the EQV get a new dashboard similar to Merc’s passenger cars, with twin 10.25-inch displays under a seamless piece of glass and a central touchpad controller to help navigate them.

The outside sees new wheel designs in 17, 18 or 19 inches, plus five new exterior colours. A refreshed grille for non-Exclusive models includes three-pointed stars in the interior plus an LED strip around the perimeter.

Mercedes V-Class front three quarter

If you fancy your van with a sporty edge, you can add AMG Line or Black styling packs to the Style or Avantgarde mid-level trims.

The Vito’s had a serious refresh too, with new front and rear styling. But the interior’s undergone the biggest transformation, as it was really very dated before. Now, it’s similar to the Sprinter, with a 10.25-inch MBUX infotainment system as standard.

Powertrain and payload details are yet to be revealed, but we’ll know more this year ahead of the refreshed V models launching in 2024. The combustion-engined Vs will continue for several years yet, while the electric eVito and EQV will eventually be replaced by all-new models on Mercedes’ new scalable electric van architecture.

By Tom Wiltshire

Bauer Automotive staff writer; enjoys Peugeots, naturally-aspirated diesels, column shifts and steel wheels