Parkers overall rating: 4.3 out of 5 4.3
  • Diesel-only engine options in the UK
  • Performance adequate for most needs
  • Easily keeps up with motorway traffic

Choosing which Mercedes-Benz V-Class Marco Polo is best for you is reassuringly easy. Only diesel engines are sold here: a 2.1-litre until 2019, with a newer 2.0-litre taking over that year.

Mercedes-Benz V-Class Marco Polo diesel engines

Introduced in 2019, the Marco Polo, like the V-Class, adopted Mercedes 2.0-litre diesel engine, although none are badged V 200 d. Entry-point remains the V 220 d, still producing 163hp and 380Nm of torque from just 1,200rpm. Top speed is 119mph, with a docile 0-62mph time of 12.3 seconds.

Mercedes-Benz V-Class Marco Polo front three-quarters

Britain doesn’t get the V 250 d version, so instead the step-up is to the V 300 d. It’s a punchy powertrain with 239hp and 500Nm of torque from 1,600rpm, with an additional 30Nm of pulling power that’s available when you accelerate hard. In this guise the Marco Polo will reach 133mph and sprint from 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds. 

Previously available Mercedes-Benz V-Class Marco Polo engines

Until the Marco Polo’s 2019 facelift, the line-up consisted of a 2.1-litre in both variants. The V 220 d was the entry-level model, and its 163hp and 380Nm of pulling power brought adequate performance; it’s well-judged for the type of vehicle, delivering 0-62mph in 12.3 seconds and a (somewhat academic) top speed of 120mph.

Step up to the V 250 d for a slightly more muscular 190hp of power and 440Nm of torque. This is a heavy vehicle weighing some 2.5 tonnes, so the extra brawn helps achieve benchmark performance figures of 9.8 seconds for the 0-62mph sprint and 124mph flat-out.

Automatic only transmission

All Marco Polos are rear-wheel drive and come with automatic gearboxes, which blur gearchanges seamlessly, Until the 2019 facelift the seven-speed transmission was fitted, after that point the newer nine-speeder became standard. The transmission really suits the V-Class’s laidback vibe and usually has the right cog in place at the right time.

One neat feature we enjoyed was the familiar Mercedes hill-hold feature; depress the brake pedal fully and the vehicle will be held stationary – handy for red lights and temporary pauses when you don’t want to engage Park or apply the parking brake.

  • Rides and handles okay for a camper
  • Not the smoothest ride comfort
  • Car drivers won’t feel intimidated

The Marco Polo is a remarkably unintimidating vehicle to drive, even if you’ve only ever driven standard passenger cars. It is quite long, at 5.1 metres, but not dauntingly so. That’s no longer than an S-Class wearing the three-pointed badge, for instance.

With bluff, upright sides and a clear view ahead, visibility is actually remarkably good from the driver’s seat (although it’s a shame the front quarterlight windows by the door mirrors are so tiny and ineffective).

Mercedes-Benz V-Class Marco Polo front three-quarters

Mercedes fits Active Parking Assist with rear-view camera as standard to help guide you into car parking spaces.

How does the Marco Polo handle?

The Marco Polo betrays its van-based roots in many ways: ride comfort, the ability to steamroller out bumps in the road and general refinement aren’t a patch on the best family cars.

But that’s perhaps an unfair comparison to make. This is a two-and-a-half tonne mobile home on wheels, don’t forget, and one based on a Vito commercial vehicle. It’s going to drive differently from a C-Class Saloon.

It doesn’t ride badly but there are more shakes and shudders than in a regular passenger car. It’s on a par with its key rival, the VW California. The steering is sweet enough, letting you hustle the Marco Polo along a back road with some gusto. And it’s very at home on a motorway cruise.