Mercedes-Benz previews its new T-Class of multipurpose vehicles, including the ninth model from its EQ electric-vehicle sub-brand, with the unveiling of the Concept EQT.
Based on the upcoming second-generation Citan, the new 7-seater showcases Mercedes-Benz’s plans for a versatile light-commercial-vehicle-derived MPV with either gasoline and diesel engines or a pure electric drivetrain – former models to be sold as the T-Class, with the latter taking the EQT name into production.
“We are expanding our portfolio with the T-Class,” says Marcus Breitschwerdt, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “It will appeal to families and private customers who enjoy leisure activities and need a lot of space and maximum variability. And as the Concept EQT shows, we will also be offering a fully electric model in this segment in the future.”
Intended to rival the Volkswagen Caddy, Citroen Berlingo and Opel Combo in a European commercial-vehicle market segment with annual sales of over 800,000 units, the Mercedes-Benz model has been developed in partnership with Renault. The T-Class is twinned with the standard third-generation Kangoo, while the EQT is a sister model to the recently announced Kangoo E-tech Electric.
The Concept EQT previews the styling of the new Mercedes-Benz MPV with a combination of production-based steel body panels and conceptual styling elements, including a prominent black panel grille featuring a 3D star effect and slim-line LED headlamps up front as well as a full-width taillamp at the rear.
Further concept car flourishes include large wheelhouses, an expansive panoramic glass roof and a leather-lined interior featuring an integrated skateboard carrier at the rear.
The production versions of the T-Class and EQT to be unveiled later this year will appear less flamboyant with larger headlamps and a less-costly grille treatment, though the dimensions and boxy profile will be carried over with little or no change, Mercedes-Benz says.
The German automaker is holding back on specific details to the new model until closer to its introduction, though the latest offering from Mercedes-Benz’s Van division is planned to offer the choice of either a standard wheelbase in combination with a 5-seat layout or, as previewed by the Concept EQT, an extended wheelbase with a 7-seat layout.
Entry to the front is via front-hinged doors while entry to the rear is via a set of sliding doors – electronically operated on the concept but to be manually operated on the production version.
A large tailgate opens at bumper level to reveal a flat luggage compartment. It can be extended with the removal of the rear-most seats and the folding and stowage of the second row of seats.
The second seat row is designed to accommodate up to three child seats. Foldaway plastic tables are integrated into the backs of the front seats.
The long wheelbase and tall stance of the new MPV model help provide segment-competitive interior space in the first two seat rows. Plenty of oddment stowage options are up front.
While the white Nappa leather of the concept model (pictured above) will make way for harder-wearing nylon fabric upholstery on the production versions of the T-Class and EQT, the design of the dashboard and its controls, including a center touchscreen display, will be retained, Mercedes-Benz says.
Standard features will include the same MBUX operating system as that used by the A-Class and other recent new Mercedes-Benz models. Safety functions will include automatic emergency braking, lane assist, crosswind assist, trailer stability control and adaptive cruise control with a traffic assist feature.
Mercedes-Benz’s aim with the Citan-based T-Class is to emulate the sales success of the larger Vito and V-Class. The automaker claims it will offer premium brand levels of connectivity and quality in a market segment traditionally associated with affordable pricing and everyday versatility.
Mercedes-Benz is yet to officially confirm the drivetrains for its latest model. However, power for the T-Class is set to come from the same range of turbocharged gasoline and diesel engines offered by the Renault Kangoo in combination with either a standard 6-speed manual or optional 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
The EQT is in line to receive a 101-hp electric motor in combination with a 45-kWh battery. In the Kangoo E-Tech Electric, this combination offers a claimed range of about 165 miles (265 km) on the WLTP test cycle.
The T-Class and battery-electric EQT (pictured below) are planned to be produced alongside the Kangoo and Kangoo E-Tech Electric at Renault’s MCA factory in Maubeuge, France. North American sales are not planned.