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Mercedes-Benz T-Class review

2022 onwards (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 53.0
” New Mercedes MPV to take on Caddy and Berlingo “

Pros & cons

  • Stylish and practical compact family car
  • Well-equipped as standard
  • Choice of petrol and diesel engines
  • Not on sale until 2023
  • Lots of good rivals already available
  • Likely to be comparatively expensive

Written by CJ Hubbard Published: 3 May 2022 Updated: 24 May 2022


Compact van-based people carriers are experiencing a bit of resurgence at the moment, and the latest manufacturer to join the party is Mercedes-Benz with this brand new T-Class MPV.

The T-Class is based on the latest Mercedes Citan van, which also means it’s closely related to the new Renault Kangoo. Mercedes has made a large number of changes to ensure you’re getting an experience appropriate for a product with a three-pointed star on the front, however, including completely redesigning the interior. It’s also keen that you don’t view it just as a van with windows.

As a result, this is a smart looking small van both inside and outside. The exterior’s minimalistic lines not only tie-in with the latest Mercedes-Benz passenger car styling ethos, they help it look like a classier product to our eyes than the rather fussy Volkswagen Caddy rival. The T-Class also offers a step-up in quality versus the Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life. It comes with something that that electric-only trio doesn’t – a diesel engine. This might help it appeal to buyers who aren’t ready or able to take the step into EV ownership just yet.

We’ve now driven the T-Class, so read on for our verdict along with full details of its specifications, engines and features.

What’s it like inside?

Spacious and feature-packed is the immediate impression. The standard-length model is the first to launch and comes with five seats and a large boot area; a longer seven-seater variant will follow later. The dashboard is the same fundamental shape as the one from the Citan van, but has been given a thorough going over so you don’t feel like you are in a commercial vehicle.

Sure, some of the more basic-looking models can feel a little monochrome and dull, but there is the ability to thoroughly change that should you wish. You can get flashes of body colour on the inside that really brightens things up. It isn’t as smart as many modern cars’ cabins, but it really moves the overall aesthetic away from its commercial roots. The bespoke steering wheel and MBUX system are what really move the look more towards the passenger car realm though.

Mercedes-Benz T-Class, interior, dashboard, steering wheel, MBUX, yellow trim
Mercedes-Benz T-Class, interior, dashboard, steering wheel, MBUX, yellow trim

Those commercial roots pay dividends in other areas, though, with the T-Class all majoring when it comes to the amount of space, visibility and practicality on offer. Up front there is a real airy feel, with plenty of passenger space and a good amount of storage. You get a handy overhead shelf and a slot under the gear lever with a wireless phone charger. A couple of cupholders and a generous lidded central bin between the two front occupants. The door bins are suitably large, too.

Although UK specification isn’t yet finalised, one thing you will get is a 7.0-inch touchscreen with MBUX infotainment system fitted as standard, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. That bespoke steering wheel comes with touch-control pads and a high-quality feel to the finish.

Access to the rear is via sliding doors, which will be a real bonus for anyone with impaired mobility or parents needing to fit children into their seats in tight car parks. There are three Isofix-fitted seats in the T-Class, but only two of these are in the outer rear seats – the third is in the front passenger seat. The middle seat should still be useable, though, as it is wide enough that you should be able to fit a smaller adult or a belt-secured booster seat in there. Getting into the middle seat will prove a challenge though, as you have to clamber past any other child seats fitted in the outer seats and there isn’t loads of legroom to just slide past easily.

Mercedes-Benz T-Class, interior, rear seats with childseats fitted
Mercedes-Benz T-Class, interior, rear seats with childseats fitted

That front seat also gets a system that automatically detects when a child seat is fitted, ensuring that the front passenger airbag is correctly disabled so you don’t have to do it manually; this works with any child seat. There are seven airbags in total, including one that goes in between the two front seats to stop the front passengers colliding in a crash.

A large, top-hinged tailgate is fitted as standard for access to the boot – great as a temporary rain shelter while changing welly boots, but not always helpful when parked among other vehicles. The boot itself is a pretty basic affair, with a non-existent loading lip, a square opening and seats that fold down on a 60/40 split. It measures up at 520 litres with the seats and luggage cover in place and it, unsurprisingly, feels like a van if you start folding seats flat. It’s a shame there isn’t more of a bespoke handle for opening the boot – the one in place has a slightly sharp edge to it.

Side opening back doors are optionally available, and these can be locked in place at 90 degrees or folded right back to nearly 180 degrees.

What’s it like to drive?

Despite a range of petrol and diesel engines available in other markets, Mercedes-Benz UK’s simplistic approach to the T-Class means it is set to only be available with the most powerful diesel engine – a 116hp 1.5-litre turbo engine labelled T180d. This will be joined by a 100% electric model called the EQT coming in the future.

The improved levels of insulation in the T-Class, not to mention the addition of seats and carpets, mean that the diesel engine is relatively hushed on the move. In fact it’s wind noise that you are more likely to notice once you get going, particularly around the door mirrors.

Mercedes-Benz T-Class, yellow, rear view, driving on road
Mercedes-Benz T-Class, yellow, rear view, driving on road

A six-speed manual gearbox is fitted as standard, with a seven-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission (DCT – similar to Volkswagen’s DSG) optional at extra cost. We’ve only driven the auto so far, and it is a relaxed and smooth setup, perhaps best illustrated by the lack of steering wheel paddles. You can change ratios using the main gear lever, but the T-Class is much happier if you just slot it into Drive and leave it there

The ride quality befits this relaxed attitude, too. The suspension has been tweaked specifically for the T-Class – it’s one of the things that Mercedes says marks it out from the Citan and the partner vehicles from Renault – and it is excellent if comfort is your main thing. It didn’t feel phased by the roads in and around Munich and the overall feeling is one of unfussed smoothness. There is inevitably a touch of body roll if you carry too much speed into a corner, but it never feels like it is leaning too far and is certainly never disconcerting on that front.

The steering is the only notable disappointment about the T-Class’s driving ability as it is a numb and lifeless setup, with very little effort needed to change direction. This is great at low speeds when you want to head around town but less good at higher speeds. Another benefit of that light steering is the impressive 11.75m turning circle – the same as the van’s. It’s a case of deciding whether you can live with the less assured motorway manner for a greater degree of convenience the rest of the time.

What models and trims are available?

Although the UK trim line-up is yet to be finalised, Mercedes has indicated that it will go with a small range, concentrating on high-spec models, possibly just the one. with naming to mirror other Mercedes-Benz cars.

Highlights include the MBUX infotainment system, air-conditioning, keyless start, full-colour trip computer and height adjustable driver’s seat. There are also pockets on the front seat backs, LED interior lighting and a load cover for the boot.

The future holds a longer, seven-seat model and the electric version, which will be dubbed the EQT. The various delays to the worldwide automotive production process means these won’t be arriving as soon as Mercedes first planned, but they should be on sale by mid 2023.

Mercedes-Benz T-Class, yellow, rear view, tailgate open, load space, boot space
Mercedes-Benz T-Class, yellow, rear view, tailgate open, load space, boot space

What else should I know?

At under 4.5m long, the five-seater T-Class is impressively compact for the amount of space it appears to provide. The rear seats fold ‘virtually flat’ turning into a particularly well-trimmed van, if required.

Mercedes offers a vast amount of modern safety equipment, though you can expect to pay extra for some of it. The optional navigation system has car-to-x capability as well as live traffic information, helping to keep you up to date with everything that’s happening on the road ahead. You can also enter destinations using what3words for additional precision.

Mercedes-Benz T-Class, yellow, side view, sliding doors open
Mercedes-Benz T-Class, yellow, side view, sliding doors open

Other interesting extras include ambient lighting, 17-inch alloy wheels, active parking assistance and trailer stability assist if you option a factory tow hook.

There’s no UK pricing information yet, but Mercedes is set to aim for a simple approach to the range in the UK, to start off with anyway. This means one higher-end trim with a starting price in excess of £30,000. Expect it to be not too far away from a similarly specified Volkswagen Caddy.

One other factor to consider is the fact that the T-Class is, oddly, being sold through Mercedes-Benz’s Vans division, not the car arm of the company. Precise details are yet to be confirmed about what this will mean for buyers, but it may well mean that you won’t be able to walk into a traditional Mercedes’ dealership and buy one. More information on that as soon as we have it.

It will go on sale in autumn 2022.

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