Mercedes-Benz ushered a new nameplate into its portfolio: T-Class. The name will appear on a Ford Transit Connect-sized passenger-carrying van that's closely related to the third-generation Renault Kangoo and that was developed primarily for the European market.
If the aforementioned description sounds familiar, it's likely because the T-Class isn't Mercedes-Benz's first entry into this segment. This is the second time that the Stuttgart-based firm borrows the Kangoo from Renault, but it named the last-generation model Citan Traveliner to differentiate it from the standard Citan, which is the commercial version. Predictably, the T-Class looks a lot like the latest variant of the cargo-hauling Citan, though it features a more upscale-looking design characterized by styling cues like specific wheel designs.
The T-Class stretches 177 inches long, 73 inches wide and 71 inches tall in its standard configuration. The range will grow with a long-wheelbase model later in the production run. It comes standard with a hatch, but buyers can configure the van with individual rear doors.
From the driver's seat, the biggest indication that the T-Class is a Kangoo in Mercedes-Benz garments is the position of the shifter. The steering wheel, the instrument cluster's design, the shape of the dashboard, the round air vents and the climate control system buttons are specific to the German version. The list of standard equipment includes a seven-inch touchscreen for the familiar MBUX infotainment system and LED interior lighting, and buyers can add features like yellow interior trim and leather upholstery by moving up in the trim hierarchy.
At launch, the palette of available engines will consist of a gasoline-burning 1.3-liter four-cylinder and a 1.5-liter turbo-diesel four, each offered in two states of tune. The former develops 102 horsepower and 147 pound-feet of torque in the T160; those figures increase to 131 and 176, respectively, in the T180. On the diesel side of the range, the T160d puts 95 horsepower and 191 pound-feet of torque under the driver's right foot, while the T180d's output is rated at 116 and 199, respectively, though a temporary overboost function increases torque to 217.
Front-wheel-drive is the only configuration available, it doesn't sound like 4Matic all-wheel-drive will be an option, and a six-speed manual transmission comes standard. That's right: the T-Class comes with a Mercedes-Benz star and three pedals. Alternatively, the two turbodiesel engines and the 131-horsepower gasoline-powered unit can be optionally ordered with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Mercedes-Benz dealers across Europe will begin receiving the T-Class later in 2022, and we're told that pricing will start at under 30,000 euros, which represents about $31,700 at the current conversion rate. Nothing suggests we'll see the T-Class in America, however.
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