Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo review
Don’t fancy shelling out for luxury hotels all the time, but is camping in a tent a stretch too far? The Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo is one of the most upmarket camper vans around, but you’ll pay for the privilege.
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The Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo is for the adventurer among us. It’s a V-Class-turned-camper van, and goes up against alternatives like the Volkswagen California and Ford Transit Custom Nugget.
You might see camper vans as a bit utilitarian, but the Marco Polo is more like a four-star hotel on wheels. It’s loaded to the brim with features, and makes a night camping in the woods feel like a night in a luxury retreat.
It’s pretty unassuming on the outside. It looks near-identical to the regular Mercedes V-Class, though you do get 18-inch alloy wheels as standard — or 19-inch if you got for an AMG-line model, as well as some slightly sportier looking trim bits.
It’s inside where the Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo truly excels, though. Even when you’re behind the wheel, it feels properly plush. You get a leather-trimmed steering wheel and plenty of soft-touch materials up front that do well to disguise the van roots of the Marco Polo.
There is pretty outdated infotainment though — the V-Class is an older Mercedes model that uses last-generation cabin tech. It could really do with Mercedes’ sharp new MBUX system, and a more up-to-date dashboard design.
It’s all about what’s behind the front seats here, however. The V-Class Marco Polo measures over five metres long, and that results in impressive room when you’re sat in the back seats on the road — which have an electric reclining feature. You can turn that space into a mobile living room by spinning the front seats around as well.
The Marco Polo has the edge over the Volkswagen California when it comes to its kitchen as well. All the essentials like a 40-litre fridge, a smart-looking stove and a sink are included, and it all feels posh and expensive. You even get soft-closing drawers underneath the stove and sink, plus a kettle thrown in for good measure.
You’ll have to get used to being careful with the table, though. It doesn’t lock into place so it’s pretty easy to send your food flying if you’re not paying attention.
This is about as premium as camper vans get - in fact it's nicer than many hotels I've stayed in.
When it comes to bedtime, you can raise the roof up to turn it into a sleeper. You do need the side door open for this to let air in, and it’s not exactly quick to rise up, so you better hope it isn’t raining.
It’s comfortable to sleep in the top of the V-Class Marco Polo, though. Granted, the mattress is a bit thin and a touch narrow but you do get some plastic springs underneath to add extra comfort.
You can easily turn the back seats into a bed as well by lowering them electrically and sliding them towards the back of the camper. You can even adjust the firmness of the cushioning, though it is a slightly uneven surface to sleep on. There is an optional mattress topper for a bit more comfort, though.
There’s a good amount of storage space throughout the Marco Polo as well. You get a nice little cupboard which has a built-in vanity mirror, and a pull-down compartment that’s good for keeping bed sheets and whatnot in.
You can even option a shower, if you want. It sticks onto the tailgate of the van and connects to the camper’s water supply, though it will be cold and you’ll have to be comfortable being pretty exposed while you do it.
Driving the Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo is pretty effortless too. You can pick between 163hp or 237hp diesels, though the latter is the one to have. It’s smooth, the nine-speed automatic gearbox kicks down quickly, and it makes the Marco Polo very comfortable to travel long distances in.
The ride is also smoother than you might expect given the Marco Polo’s van-based underpinnings. Granted, it isn’t an S-Class, and wind noise becomes an issue at speed, but you’ll struggle to find a more refined camper. The only thing the lets it down is the brakes, which aren’t as responsive or strong as a normal V-Class due to the extra weight on-board.
It’s also rather expensive, with list prices starting from £56,380 and jumping massively once you tick the options, but if you’re looking for a seriously posh and comfortable camper, the Marco Polo feels worth every penny.
See what Mat thinks of spending the night in a V-Class Marco Polo in his video: