Thursday, August 25, 2016

We’ll Gladly Live Down By a River in One of These Mercedes-Benz Vans


Eat your heart out Matt Foley, because thanks to Mercedes-Benz we now totally want to live in a van down by the river.

The German brand recently unveiled a handful of converted camper vans it plans to bring to the Caravan Salon trade show in Düsseldorf, Germany. This resulted in two reactions here at Car and Driver:

  1. How are we just now hearing about the Caravan Salon trade show in Düsseldorf, Germany?

  2. How long has Mercedes-Benz been depriving stateside camper-van enthusiasts of these glorious machines?

In regards to the latter question, it turns out Westfalia has been converting Mercedes-Benz vans into mobile sleeping quarters for more than three decades. And for some two years now, Mercedes-Benz has teamed with the company to create the factory-backed, pop-top Vito/V-class (née Metris) Marco Polo edition. Why Mercedes-Benz doesn’t offer the Marco Polo kit on the North American Metris is beyond us, as a Benz-badged camper van with available wood floors and standard sleeping space for four seems like the perfect tool for today’s modern glamper. Alas, we’re left with only a dream of such a life, whereas our European counterparts get to live the reality.

Mercedes-Benz Marco Polo (Activity) Edition Van (Euro spec)

MB will display three different production-ready Marco Polo editions at the Caravan Salon, as well as a custom Vito Vansportscamper created by Terracamper and Hartmann Tuning. Mercedes-Benz claims the Vansportscamper combines “expressive design with sportiness.” An odd pairing for a camper van, if you ask us, although we have to admit the finished product is rather attractive.

Arguably the most lustworthy of all the vehicles Mercedes-Benz is bringing to the Caravan Salon, though, is the Sprinter-based HymerCar Grand Canyon S. This beast, which looks ready to tackle the dinosaur-infested jungles of Jurassic Park, also comes equipped with a kitchenette, a full bathroom, and a full-size bed. We’ve reached out to Hymer to find out if the company plans to offer the kit to North American customers.

A van we certainly won’t see in North America, though, is the little Mercedes-Benz Citan. In honor of the Caravan Salon, Mercedes-Benz has fitted the Citan (a rebadged Renault Kangoo) with a massive folding rooftop tent by 3DOG Camping. It’s a far less glamorous camper van option compared to the other vans being displayed. Nevertheless, the Citan’s tent appears to be a spacious and relatively affordable option for those looking to live the camper van lifestyle on a limited budget.

After drooling over these vans all morning, we only have one thing left to say: Please, Mercedes, bring a factory-backed camper van to our shores. It’s what Matt Foley would have wanted.


from Car and Driver BlogCar and Driver Blog

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