There’s no doubt about it – Merc’s bus beats the luxury pecking order, but there’s a definite stab in the tail
The luxury bus market was completely messed up when the world emerged from the lockdown. Three key players all benefited from the latest upgrades on various fronts, crowned by Mercedes Benz ‘classy V 300 d Exclusive. So we put it together, the Ford Tourneo 2.0SiT Custom SWB Limited and the Volkswagen Caravelle 2.0BiTDI Highline 4Motion, to take a look at the latest in Acme microbus land.
All three of these top-end people carriers carry impeccable pedigrees. All three carry six people with varying degrees of luxury and commitment. All three are powered by first-class two-liter turbo diesel engines. But how they go about it and how they land on the market couldn’t be more different if you give it a try. So this is a pretty interesting shootout.
Building on this indelible legend, the highest specification in 2013 and 2020 International Van of the Year Tourneo Custom Limited Quietly launched a few years ago in response to demand for a more powerful, more luxurious bus version of the popular Transit. This limited top-end version, referred to by some as the motocross bus, recently underwent a major makeover.
Three perfect family trees
The latest version of our metal gray field gray Ford features new LED daytime running lights, but the rest remains unchanged. It has some weird features, however – like those door-latch pimples and a roof that isn’t quite finished.
This sixth generation Volkswagen Transporter range, which has been the current flagship of Volkswagen’s best-selling van and bus range for the past six decades, has recently been upgraded to the T6.1 specification and crowned by this stylish Caravelle. It features a striking new bumper with chrome trim and a larger grille with two cross bars that continue into the new LED headlights with daytime running lights.
The whole thing is rounded off by a new 7-inch alloy wheel design with black diamonds from Woodstock and the creamy two-tone paintwork of our sampler in white on orange-gold.
Not that there’s anything wrong with the deep legacy of the third bus at this stop. After a facelift in 2019 that already refreshed and redesigned the appearance while optimizing the cockpit, Mercedes-Benz recently further developed its V-Class and introduced the V 300 d engine into the MPV, which the segment is supposed to rely on Even greater heights, while the range is expanded to include more choice, more luxury and more individuality.
Our cherry-red metallic version of the Exclusive line was supplied with striking 10-spoke 19-inch light alloy wheels with pressure monitoring. 19-inch wheels on a bus? Isn’t that a step too far? However, our V 300 d had the standard panoramic sunroof and an Easy-Pack tailgate to close the rear door electrically.