This is something that is simply not done, asking a Mercedes salesman at the IAA-Utility Vehicle Show, how this manufacturer of vehicles in the premium sector, managed to offer the public a Renault-Kangoo with a big star up front. Indeed, he proved to be well prepared and urged me to try the seats out, to demonstrate just what Mercedes is all about. His tactics were of course, due to the use of hard-plastics, not quite successful.
He also pointed out that the chassis had been revised and the fact that, as Mercedes openly admits in the case of the A-Class, they don't have such small and economic Diesel engines in their programm, which is quite remarkable. A completely new development simply costs a lot of money, which the sales must then bring back in again. In addition, they have to fill the gap left after dropping the Vaneo.
Whether or not this is the right strategy from Mercedes, only time will tell. After all, now the small businessman has the possibility to buy a Mercedes, which only costs as much as a Renault, Even if it has 11 kW (15 hp) less performance. Thereby, it is much more reasonably priced than the former lowest price products, e.g., the A-Class, which is indeed, far more attractive.
Apart from the suspension, which is still considered to be too soft, the amount of passenger space is praised. The cooperation with Mercedes will probably also stimulate Renault to deliver rattle-free car bodies, so that all together, it could turn out to be a win-win situation.
It's not as easy as it would seem, providing such an open-bodied construction with sufficient torsional rigidity and crash potential. The tailgate goes so far down that one must have enough clearance to any obstacles in the rear. It is also difficult to keep it from swinging out more than 2 meters and still have enough height so that one can stand underneath the gate. Pehaps the two side-hinged, asymetrical doors are actually worth the extra charge. A sliding door on the left is also available (+€357).
For a Mercedes entirely unusual is the poor performance at the NAP test, and this not only at pedestrian protection. Only three stars are probably due to the complete takeover of the most important body components of Renault. Instead of changing the interior and the design slightly, one would have took in hand better the safety-related parts. A recall action is, however, already started ... 05/13