Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the T-Class – an upmarket people-mover version of its Citan sub-2.5-tonne commercial van, which is based on the Renault Kangoo.
Initially offered as a five-seater, the T-Class – a natural rival to the family-friendly Volkswagen Caddy model – will also be produced in seven-seater long-wheelbase and all-electric EQT guises.
The new T-Class is 4.5 metres long, 1.8 metres wide, 1.8 metres tall and rides on a 2.7-metre wheelbase. Sliding doors on both sides of the vehicle provide openings that measure 614mm in width and 1059mm in height. Access to the luggage compartment is via a tailgate (with a standard heated screen) – the height of the loading sill is just 561mm and the rear bench can fold down to create a virtually flat loading area.
Alternatively, the T-Class can be specified with barn-style rear doors, of which both can be locked in the 90‑degree position or pivoted to the Benz’s sides at up to 180 degrees.
To endow its newcomer with more kerb appeal than what is usually associated with a commercial vehicle-based passenger car, the T‑Class features a chrome-plated grille and body-coloured outside mirror housings, door handles and front bumper.
LED High Performance headlamps are fitted to the Progressive Line (available on the Style Line) and while 16-inch light-alloy wheels are standard. 17-inch wheels may be specified.
Meanwhile, the T-Class’ smartly finished cabin features various elements from the Mercedes-Benz compact range, such as a multifunction steering wheel, aircon, Keyless Start, a 5.5-inch colour driver-info display, height-adjustable driver’s seat, enclosed glove compartment, a luggage compartment cover, pockets on the front-seat backrests and LED interior lighting (ambient LED lighting with up to eight colours is also available).
The centre armrest is covered in black man-made leather as standard. For the door armrests and door centre panels, the T-Class has adopted the contemporary finely structured Neotex, which combines the appearance of nubuck leather with high-tech neoprene, from the Mercedes EQ all-electric models.
All variants have a high-gloss black trim element in the instrument panel and the door sills have Mercedes-Benz lettering.
The T-Class is equipped as standard with a 7.0-inch MBUX touchscreen infotainment system with Apple Car Play and Android Auto, as well as digital radio (DAB and DAB+).
With the optional Navigation Package specified, it includes the “Hey Mercedes” Voice Assistant.
Numerous driving assistance systems come as standard on the T-Class, along with a tyre- pressure loss warning system and the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system. These include hill-start assist, crosswind assist, Attention Assist, Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic function, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist and Speed Limit Assist.
Optional systems include the Driving Assistance Package (with Active Distance Assist Distronic and Active Steering Assist 2), Active Parking Assist (with Parktronic and reversing camera) and finally, if the optional trailer coupling is specified, Trailer Stability Assist.
A total of seven airbags are standard in the T-Class, while iSize standard child-seat fixings with ISOFIX anchorages and top tether are fitted on the outer rear seats, as well as on the front passenger seat. To accommodate a fourth child, a booster seat can be installed on the centre seat of the rear bench seat. The sliding doors and the optional power windows in the rear compartment are equipped with child safety locks.
In terms of powertrains, Mercedes-Benz offers a pair of 1.5-litre turbo-diesel engine options: the T160d has 70kW and 260Nm and the T180d 85kW and 270Nm, as well as a 1.3-litre turbo-petrol unit, which produces 75kW and 200Nm in the T160 and 96kW and 240Nm in the T180. All engines are combined with an idle-stop function.
Alongside the six-speed manual gearbox, the two diesels and the more powerful of the two petrol variants are also available with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission (DCT).
Finally, seeing as the T-Class platform has been designed to utilise both combustion engines and battery-electric drive, we can look forward to the all-electric EQT, which will be based on the Concept EQT (unveiled last year).
Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia plans to introduce the eVito Panel Van, eVito Tourer and EQV people-mover during the second half of 2022 and the brand says the upcoming EQT (still under development) will complete the electric van line-up and enable the Three-pointed Star to offer both business and private customers an alternative electric version in all its van categories.
However, the T-Class (and Citan) are not confirmed for local introduction. The models are reportedly under consideration for Australia, but no decision has been made.