Mercedes-Benz T-Class First Look: The T Is for "Tiny Van"

The Mercedes-Benz T-Class, which partially replaces the Citan, is a completely new model entering the retail compact van segment. Let’s get the bad news out of the way: this roomy, functional, stylish, and comfortable (according to Mathias Geisen, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans) premium small van is (definitely probably) not destined for the United States. Think about it—it offers a diesel, it offers a manual transmission, and it’s smaller than the minivans we get here. Yes, all hail the definitely drool-worthy Euro van.

The T-Class is for active families, leisure enthusiasts, and sports enthusiasts who are like us, but again, not actually us. With room for adventure gear and people, it has #(mini)vanlife written all over it, don’t you think? Oh, and while we’re dreaming, having just covered the Hyundai Staria camper van (which also isn’t being sold here), we’d love to see Mercedes-Benz’s take on a camper van version of the T-Class.

The Mercedes-Benz T-Class is roughly analogous to the short-wheelbase Transit Connect Wagon Ford actually sells stateside. That means it seats five, with provisions for three child seats in addition to a booster seat. How’s that for family haulin’! The five-seater is about 177 inches long, 73 inches wide, and 71 inches tall, making it far smaller than the Metris commercial van Mercedes-Benz sells (202 inches long, 76 inches wide, and up to 75 inches high). A long-wheelbase seven-seater variant is coming for even more people-moving capability.

Visually, the well-balanced T-Class embodies a slick vision for a contemporary mini van, incorporating optional 17-inch wheels and color-matched mirrors, door handles, and bumpers (hey, those aren’t really givens on small vans overseas). It has large rear sliding doors on both sides for easy entry and exit. In lieu of the rear hatch, a two-section rear door is optional.

The interior uses upscale upholstery, and the split-bench rear seat folds down to create a decently flat loading area. The MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system with a 7.0-inch touchscreen, a multifunction steering wheel with Touch Control buttons, and an instrument cluster with a 5.5‑inch color display are standard on the T-Class.

Special Style Line and Progressive Line equipment lines add some spice to the T-Class van. The Style Line includes special seat covers (black ARTICO man-made leather and MICROCUT micro-fiber), high-gloss black (or matte limonite yellow) trim on the doors and center console, NEOTEX imitation leather on the door panels, chrome accents, special 16-inch five-spoke wheels, dark tinted windows, and more. “Practical folding tables” on the front seat backrests hold toys ‘n stuff.

The upper section of the instrument panel of the Progressive Line features NEOTEX trim with contrasting topstitching. Black ATRICO seats with white topstitching, matte silver center console and door trim, electric windows in the sliding doors, a rear chrome trim strip, 16-inch ten-spoke wheels, and LED headlights round out the Progressive Line.

The Mercedes-Benz T-Class will launch with one diesel and one gasoline engine, with both four-cylinder engines offering two output ratings. These engines will be backed by a six-speed manual or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, with the less-powerful gas engine only getting the manual. The diesel T160 d makes 95 hp, with the stronger T180 d delivering 116 hp. Whoa, look out. The gasoline T160 makes 102 hp, and the T180 churns out 131 hp. A Hellcat-powered minivan this is not.

The T-Class platform allows for a battery-electric variant called the EQT2, which is still in development. A Concept EQT, previewing the electric Mercedes-EQ EQT, was unveiled last year. Prices for the T-Class start under the equivalent of about $32,000, in case you needed a little twist of the knife over this thing not being sold here.

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