This is the all-new Mercedes-Benz T-Class, which is the brand’s premium small van that slots in under the larger V-Class. According to the carmaker, the private small van segment has grown significantly in the last few years, and the T-Class serves to meet that demand, developed specifically for families and leisure enthusiasts who need plenty of space but in a more compact vehicle.

The T-Class is essentially a posher version of the Citan introduced last August, which is available in cargo- (Panel Van) and passenger-focused (Tourer) configurations. The V-Class also follows this approach by being the alternative to the commercial-focused Vito.

It’s worth noting that the T-Class and Citan were developed in partnership with the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance and are closely related to the third-generation Renault Kangoo built on the CMF-CD platform.

The T-Class will initially be offered as a five-seater measuring 4,498 mm long, 1,859 mm wide and 1,811 mm tall, with a wheelbase that spans 2,716 mm. By comparison, the smallest version of W447 V-Class available is 4,895 mm long, 1,928 mm wide, 1901 mm tall and packs a wheelbase of 3,200 mm. A long-wheelbase version of the T-Class with up to seven seats will be available in the future.

To make sure the T-Class isn’t mistaken for a Citan Tourer, the former features cues that bring it more in line with Mercedes-Benz’s passenger vehicle range. For starters, the front grille gets chrome bezels on the slats and there are two different bumper designs depending on whether front fog lamps are optioned (part of the Premium Package). The designs of the wheels are also different and come in sizes ranging from 16 to 17 inches.

The interior is also very similar to the Citan, in that it still has a “commercial” look to it. The dashboard features circular air vents flanking the centre infotainment screen and quick access functions, with the climate controls and gear lever residing just underneath above the centre console.

Of course, the trim and upholstery are nicer in the T-Class, corresponding to the chosen equipment line and additional options. Mercedes-Benz offers three choices, starting with Basic that is available with Norwich fabric upholstery, high-gloss black trim, Artico man-made leather for the centre armrests, Neotex for the armrests and centre panels of the front doors, velour floor mats, the Navigation Package as well as a leather steering wheel and gearshift lever.

The next step up is the Style, which brings with it black Artico/Microcut microfibre upholstery with white topstitching, chrome applications on the air vents, loudspeakers and door handles, white or eight-colour ambient lighting, trim elements in matte limonite yellow and LED High Performance headlamps (replacing halogens).

At the very top, the Progressive adds Neotex on the upper section of the dashboard, silk-look matte silver trim elements, Neotex for the rear doors, a chrome trim strip on the tailgate, the Parking Package and two-zone Thermotronic climate control. There are also individual packages that combine or add further features like Keyless-Go, a wireless charger and a heated windscreen, among other things.

The T-Class gets a 5.5-inch multi-info display set between analogue gauges and a modest seven-inch touchscreen for the MBUX infotainment system, the latter with an array of connectivity and connected services available. Two USB-C ports are installed as standard, but a further three can be added in the optional stowage compartment above the instrument cluster and two (Type A) on the centre console for rear passengers.

There are also two 12-volt power outlets in the centre console front and rear; another can be installed the luggage compartment. On that mention, the T-Class offers 520 litres of boot space with the seats in their default position, or 2,127 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats folded down.

A low loading sill of 561 mm also makes it easier to load bulky items, and customers can option dual-segment doors in place of the regular tailgate. For more storage, roof rails can be optioned that can handle a load of 80 kg, while those with trailers will be glad to know the towing capacity is 1,500 kg.

As for loading passengers, the sliding doors provide an opening measuring 614 mm wide and 1,059 mm high, and these can be optioned with power windows instead of hinged windows too. Mercedes-Benz also points out the two cupholders in the front passenger compartment can hold cups or bottles with a capacity of 750 ml, while the doors have a capacity of 1.5 litres.

Given the target market, the T-Class comes with a host of safety and driver assistance systems. The small van has seven airbags as standard, including a centre airbags that deploys between the front passengers in an impact. Other standard features are Hill Start Assist, Crosswind Assist, Attention Assist, Active Brake Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist, Speed Limit Assist and the usual array of passive systems.

Specify the Driving Assistance Package and two more systems – Active Distance Assist Distronic (active cruise control) and Active Steering Assist – are added to the mix. Specifically for those with families, the outer rear seats and the front passenger seats have iSize standard child seat fixings with ISOFIX securing points and top tethers.

Automatic child seat recognition for the front passenger seat ensures the front passenger airbag is deactivated when you have mini co-pilot on board, while a booster seat can be installed on the centre seat of the rear bench.

In terms of engines, the T-Class will be available with a choice of one diesel and one petrol engine at launch. On the T 160 d, a 1.5 litre four-cylinder turbodiesel (codenamed OM608) from the W177 A-Class serves up 95 PS (94 hp) at 3,750 rpm and 260 Nm of torque at 1,750 rpm, which is good for a 0-100 km/h time and a top speed of between 15.1-15.3 seconds and 164-165 km/h.

A more powerful version of the OM608 is found in the T 180 d with 116 PS (114 hp) at 3,750 rpm and 270 Nm at 1,750 rpm. This version also features an overpower/overtorque function that temporarily boasts outputs to 121 PS (119 hp) and 295 Nm, and the century sprint time and top speed are improved to between 13.2-13.6 seconds and 175-177 km/h.

On the petrol side is the M200 engine also used in the Citan, which is a 1.3 litre turbocharged four-cylinder making 102 PS (101 hp) at 4,500 rpm and 200 Nm at 1,500 rpm in the T 160 – 0-100 km/h in 14.7 seconds and 168 km/h. There’s also a T 180 with 131 PS (129 hp) at 5,000 rpm and 240 Nm at 1,600 rpm, which is the quickest of the bunch – 11.6-12.85 seconds and 183-184 km/h.

All T-Class variants are front wheel drive and come with a six-speed manual as standard, although the T 160 d, T 180 d and T 180 can also be optioned with a seven-speed 7G-DCT dual-clutch transmission.

A fully electric version of the T-Class called the EQT will arrive later, as previewed by the Concept EQT from May last year. No technical specifications for the EQT were provided but the company says it will be styled to include a black panel front grille like other EQ models. Additionally, the charging door will be located at the front under the Mercedes-Benz star, providing access to the charge ports for AC and DC charging.