Mercedes launches Marco Polo camper van

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the Marco Polo camper van. It is the first time the manufacturer has developed a camper van in-house and it will be a strong rival to the popular Volkswagen California Beach. Based on the new Vito van, the Marco Polo will go on sale later this year with an expected price tag of around £45,000.

Despite its relatively compact dimensions, the Marco Polo offers sleeping space for four thanks to a pop-up roof. The rear bench seat converts into a double bed while the pop-up roof has a cold foam mattress and special spring elements with high point elasticity.

When the bed isn't being used it folds upwards at the front giving plenty of headroom when the roof is still raised. Curtains in the rear come as standard and there are electrically opening side vent windows. The central folding table has a scratch-resistant surface and includes up holders while there are also five 12v power sockets dotted throughout the van.

Mercedes -Benz Marco Polo (1)

Like the Volkswagen California, the Marco Polo is available with an awning. It's an optional extra but is detachable so it can be removed before going through a car wash.

As with the new Vito, the Marco Polo comes with a high quality interior with a steering column that's adjustable for height and reach and luxury front seats designed for long distance comfort. The front seats can also be swivelled outwards by 50 degrees and inwards by up to 180 degrees. However, unlike the Volkswagen California it doesn't come with a sink or hob.

Under the bonnet of the Marco Polo is a new 1.6-litre diesel. The entry-level version has 88PS while there's also a 114PS model and although detailed fuel consumption figures haven't been released yet Mercedes-Benz says it will return up to 44mpg.

In the UK most buyers will no doubt go for the more powerful 2.1-litre diesel which comes in three versions - 136PS, 163PS or the top 190PS model. Shared with the Mercedes-Benz car range, this engine has two-stage turbocharging and will come with rear-wheel drive in the Marco Polo. The mid-level 163PS model is expected to be popular and it's also more frugal than the 1.6 diesel with claimed economy of 48.7mpg.

Mercedes -Benz Marco Polo (4)