Mercedes-Benz may introduce a new MPV to the U.S. market to help fill the--somewhat small--gap left by the R-Class, which bowed out of the market last year. The German automaker is set to replace its Viano line of vans overseas with a new model, and an upmarket version aimed at families looking for a luxurious people mover is planned.
Automotive News (subscription required), citing an inside source, reports that the plush model, which will revive Mercedes’ V-Class nameplate, may be offered locally. In addition, the rugged and more utilitarian version, which will likely be called the “Vito”, is also said to be a possibility for the U.S. market. The Vito will be aimed at commercial buyers looking for something smaller than Mercedes’ existing Sprinter van.
Mercedes has already shown the interior of its V-Class, which appears much more luxurious than potential rivals such as the Chrysler Town & Country, Honda Odyssey and Nissan Quest. The Mercedes will also benefit from a standard rear-wheel-drive system (with available all-wheel drive), further setting it apart from the competition.
Being a Mercedes, the V-Class will be packed with many of the latest safety technologies. These will include driver assist features borrowed from the E-Class and S-Class models, such as blind spot monitoring, parking aids, crosswind assist and a driver fatigue monitor. Mercedes’ COMAND interface with control wheel will also be offered.
Four- and six-cylinder engines are expected, with the latter likely to be standard on the V-Class MPV.
The new V-Class and its Vito commercial variant go on sale in Europe in spring, following a debut at March's Geneva Motor Show, and if confirmed for the U.S. should be available locally sometime in 2015.