In the States, where Mercedes is a luxury marque associated with overpaid lawyers with no taste, it’s hard to imagine that it can be anything else. But in Europe, where Mercedes is more like just A Car, things are a bit different. Consider the Mercedes-Benz T-Class, a van that reportedly costs less than €30,000.
Yes, that is in euros, because this car is intended for Europe, and apparently just a Renault Kangoo but with a Mercedes badge. Mercedes says that all of four child seats can be installed in the five-seater version, because this is a car for families that like to reproduce. It comes in a manual or optional dual-clutch. You can load in children from the the rear, Mercedes says, in addition to doors on the sides of the car, which I have to imagine is done with narrow old European streets in mind. The car also has air-conditioning.
From Mercedes’ release:
Even the standard equipment specification includes the following: MBUX infotainment system with 7-inch touchscreen and smartphone integration, multifunction steering wheel with Touch Control buttons, air conditioning, KEYLESS Start, instrument cluster with 5.5‑inch colour display, height-adjustable driver’s seat, an enclosed glove compartment, a luggage compartment cover and pockets on the front seat backrests. Plus there is LED interior lighting and, depending on equipment specification, ambient lighting with up to eight colours (Style and Progressive Line).
Mercedes also insists that the T-Class is very nice, because it is a Mercedes.
Hallmarks of exclusivity include the standard seat covers in black ARTICO man-made leather/MICROCUT microfibre with double topstitching, and high-gloss black trim elements on the doors and centre console. As an option, these trim elements are available in matt limonite yellow and the seat covers in black ARTICO man-made leather with white contrasting topstitching. Both the front and rear door centre panels are covered in the contemporary NEOTEX imitation leather. Providing additional touches are the chrome highlights on the air vents, loudspeakers and door handles. The driver’s seat has a lumbar support and the front passenger seat is also height-adjustable. Practical folding tables are installed on the back of the front seat backrests. Items such as smartphones, tablets or children’s toys can be conveniently placed here. Exterior features of the T-Class Style include 16-inch, 5-spoke design wheels and dark tinted windows for the rear and tailgate.
The base model has a 102-horsepower four-cylinder gas engine, with a manual transmission, making this almost the Mitsubishi Mirage of new vans, which is good, though it also has to be said that Mercedes’ van reputation isn’t the finest.
If you ask anyone in the industry if a Mercedes Metris is bad, for example, they will say, “Yes.” Often, it will even come up without context. Have you heard that the Metris is bad? Someone might say. Because the Metris is bad. I like to think that this is because Mercedes saves their good vans for Europe, as they should. The T-Class even has a proper name, too. It has to be good.