New Mercedes-Benz T-Class MPV arrives to take on VW Caddy

7 months ago - 27 April 2022, autocar
New Mercedes-Benz T-Class MPV arrives to take on VW Caddy
Sibling model to the Renault Kangoo gets styling and technology from the A-Class hatchback

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the T-Class, a new compact-commercial-van-cum-MPV based on the second-generation Mercedes Citan van.

Sister model to the Renault Kangoo, alongside which it was developed and is produced at Renault’s Maubeuge plant in northern France, the T-Class is set to go on sale in the UK later this year in standard-wheelbase guise with a five-seat layout and a limited range of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines.

A larger and roomier longer-wheelbase version offering up to seven seats is planned to join the line-up in 2023.

The Volkswagen Caddy rival also forms the basis of Mercedes' upcoming EQT – an electric version of the T-Class set to adopt the same driveline as the latest Renault Kangoo ZE.

“We're extending our portfolio with a small van,” says Mathias Geisen, head of Mercedes‑Benz Vans. "The T-Class is for everyone who needs plenty of space, from active families to sports enthusiasts.”

The initial standard-wheelbase T-Class is differentiated from the Kangoo by styling similar to that seen on the Citan. Included is a characteristic Mercedes grille with chromed highlights and a large three-pointed star, set within a new colour-keyed front bumper featuring a full-width lower panel in black.

The latest model from Mercedes' van division also receives its own individual headlights, bonnet and front wings.  

From the A-pillars back, though, the T-Class receives a similar sheer-sided look as the Kangoo, with conventionally hinged doors up front and sliding doors at the rear (the latter providing a 1059mm-high and 615mm-wide aperture when opened) and featuring fixed side windows.

At the rear, a near-vertical tailgate opens at bumper level to reveal a loading height of 561mm. Alternatively, buyers can opt for an optional twin 'barn door' arrangement.

The new model, which will be available in both Style and Progressive trims, rides on either 16in steel or 16in alloy wheels, with 17in alloy wheels available as an option.

At 4498mm in length, 1859mm in width and 1811mm in height, the standard-wheelbase T-Class is 2mm shorter, 4mm wider and 9mm lower than the standard-wheelbase Caddy.

The unique touches continue inside, where the T-Class adopts its own individual multi-function steering wheel, instrument graphics and round air vents among other changes aimed at providing it with a typical Mercedes-like appearance.

 The front seats have also been upgraded with firmer cushioning than those used by the Renault, while the more comprehensively equipped Progressive model receives the same Neotex artificial-leather dashboard trim seen on other more highly positioned Mercedes models.

A 7.0in infotainment display provides the same Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) functionality as the A-Class, including the “Hey, Mercedes” conversational speech search prompt.

Befitting a car in this class, the T-Class offers plenty of practicality with large door bins and lots of oddment space. There are also foldable plastic tables integrated into the rear of the front seats.

As part of a comprehensive safety package aimed at netting the new model a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, it also comes with seven airbags, including a centre airbag deployed between the driver’s seat and the front passenger seat to reduce the risk of the two coming into contact with one another in a severe side impact.

Among the standard driver-assitance systems is tyre-pressure monitoring, emergency call, hill-start assistance, crosswind assistance, driver-attention monitoring, active brake assistance with a cross-traffic function, lane-keeping assistance, blindspot monitoring and speed-limit assistance.

A nominal 517 litres of luggage space in the standard-wheelbase model is 31 litres more than offered by the B-Class MPV.

Power for the front-wheel-drive T-Class mirrors that of the Kangoo, with the choice of two four-cylinder petrol and two four-cylinder diesel engines.

The 1.3-litre petrol units develop 101bhp in the T160 and 129bhp in the T180, with the diesels offering 94bhp in the T160d and 114bhp in the T180d.

A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, with the more powerful of the petrol and two diesel engines also available with an optional seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.

UK pricing for the T-Class has yet to be revealed, but going on the “sub-€30,000” price tag announced for the T160 in Germany, we expect it to start at around £25,000 in the UK.

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