Glamping doesn’t come much smarter than this
- Glitziest luxury camper van yet
- Beautifully crafted camping gear
- Undaunting to drive day-to-day
- Double bed very comfortable
- Up to five seats but only four beds
- Much pricier than VW California
- Sliding door on wrong side for RHD
This chrome-laden camper van is the Mercedes-Benz V-Class Marco Polo. It’s based on the V-Class MPV, a car that’s essentially a plush version of Mercedes’ Vito van.
While previous iterations of the Marco Polo have been sold on the Continent for some years, it has never made it to the UK in right-hand drive – until now.
For 2017, Mercedes relented and launched the V-Class Marco Polo in Britain, designed to compete with the Volkswagen California. They’re the only two factory-fit camper vans made in-house by mainstream car makers – all other campers on the market are made by third-party conversion specialists.
Mercedes-Marco Polo: the range choice
Choose from two different models in the UK, both available in two trim levels:
- V 220 d Sport or AMG Line
- V 250 d Sport or AMG Line
Both models use the same 2.1-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, familiar from generations of Mercedes-Benz road cars. The lustier V 250 d model offers 190hp of power and 440Nm of torque; the entry-level V 220 d a more modest 163hp and 380Nm.
Because this is a leisure vehicle where outright performance is less of a priority, we’d happily recommend either derivative; however, if you often tow, travel in hilly areas or carry heavy loads, we’d upgrade to the V 250 d.
Just watch out for punchy prices, which start at well north of £50,000. Make no mistake, this is noticeably more expensive than the VW California competition.
What does Long mean in the badge?
Good question. The full name of the Marco Polo models are the V 220 d Long and V 250 d Long. This refers to the length of the body; the V-Class MPV, upon which the camper is based, is available with a choice of three lengths and this vehicle uses the middle version (confusingly called Long).
It’s consequently very roomy, with plenty of room for use as a day-to-day people carrier, or at weekends when it converts easily into a mobile home.
The Mercedes-Benz V-Class Marco Polo’s party trick is its glamping transformation. Park up, press a button and the roof raises electrically, to create extra headroom in the passenger compartment so you can stand up while cooking at the fitted kitchenette. When night falls, pull a lever and a separate base pulls down from the ceiling to create a rooftop double bedroom.
The rear seats fold flat to convert into a second double bed down below, making this a viable four-berth home-from-home. Note that the more comfortable bed for grown-ups is up above, where you’ll benefit from a super-flat mattress with clever springs for added padding.
How does the Marco Polo drive?
For such a big vehicle (it stretches to 5.1m long), the Marco Polo is remarkably easy to thread along British roads. All versions come with a seven-speed automatic gearbox and performance is adequate for keeping up at motorway speeds.
There are a few creaks and groans over crashy road surfaces, but these are no worse than in any other commercial or camper van we’ve driven and it rides reasonably well for such a big vehicle. Happily, a reversing camera is standard, making it a cinch to park up.
The Parkers Verdict
The Mercedes-Benz V-Class Marco Polo is a highly luxurious camper van that’s deeply desirable. The thoughtfulness of the conversion is impressive and a family of four will be very comfy living onboard for a few days.
As a camper van, it’s peerless – with quality that just shades the already impressive VW California, its inevitable rival. Only steep costs hold it back: the Mercedes has punchy pricing to match its lofty market positioning.
Read our full Mercedes-Benz V-Class Marco Polo review to see how Merc’s new camper van stacks up