Having announced its Volkswagen Caddy rival in 2020, Mercedes-Benz, after releasing the first and only teaser image last month, has unveiled the all-new T-Class spun-off of the Citan van.
The first small premium Mercedes-Benz van since the ungainly Vaneo based on the original A-Class ended production after a relatively short three years in 2005, the T-Class serves as the fourth model jointly developed between the three-pointed star and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, the others being the Citan, Renault Kangoo and Nissan Townstar.
Officially also the smallest Mercedes-Benz van, in that it slots in below the V-Class and the model it is derived from, the Vito, the T-Class measures 4 498 mm in overall length with its wheelbase stretching 2 176 mm and width 1 859 mm.
Standing 1 811 mm tall, the five-seat only T-Class (a long-wheelbase seven-seat is due later) differs only on the cosmetic front from higher-end versions of the Citan in the fitting of a chrome grille, body-coloured mirrors, bumpers and door handles, up to 17-inch alloy wheels and the option of a new colour called Rubellite Red Metallic.
Inside, the interior variations from the Citan are limited to materials, namely the inclusion of gloss-black trim on the instrument panel, Artico man-made leather trim on the door panels and centre armrest, imitation aluminium inserts, and folding rear tables on the Style model.
Reserved for the top-spec Progressive, sans the ten-spoke, 16-inch alloy wheels and standard LED headlights, are electric windows for the rear doors, stitching on the seats, and upgraded Neotex trim on the instrument panel.
The rest of the interior is unchanged from the Citan with the retention of the seven-inch MBUX infotainment system and the 5.5-inch instrument cluster display. New though is an LED ambient lighting option with eight colours on both derivatives.
On the safety and driver assistance systems front, the T-Class boasts Crosswind Assist, Driver Fatigue Warning, Active Park Assist, Trailer Stability Control, Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Alert, Active Distance Assist Distronic with Active Steering Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Blind Spot Assist and Speed Limit Assist.
Upfront, a choice of two engines are available; the 1.3-litre turbo-petrol developed in conjunction with the Alliance rated at 75kW/200Nm in the T160 and 96kW/240Nm in the T180, and the long-serving Renault-made 1.5-litre turbodiesel that makes 70kW/260Nm in the T160d and 85kW/270Nm in the T180d.
An overboost function through ups outputs to 89kW/295Nm in the T180d with it, the T160d and the T180 being available with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox as an option. The standard transmission on all models is a six-speed manual.
Debuting at a later stage is the all-electric EQT, which will incorporate styling from not the dedicated EQ range of models, but also the concept shown last year. The projected range is 285 km.
Going on sale across Europe within the next few weeks, pricing for the T-Class is expected to start at €30 000 (R503 248) in Germany, however, at present, no plans are in place to offer it in South Africa.