We associate vans with taking kids to soccer practice or shuttling to and from airports. But around the world, vans are often thought of as limousines or executive transports. Imagine moving the family around in these!
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter JetVan by Becker
Toyota HiAce VIP
Ford Transit Skyliner concept
"Rolls-Royce" Mercedes-Benz Sprinter for Tyrese Gibson
Mercury Villager Nautica Special Edition
Volkswagen 'Noble' T5 by Klassen
Toyota-Lexus Vellfire by Wald
The new V-Class from Mercedes-Benz effectively replaces the incredible R-Class, and while we prefer the wagon look to this minivan’s, we have to admit the V-Class is still downright awesome generally. It’s basically an S-Class in van form! Nappa leather, individual climate control and a surround sound system hooked up to a driver’s microphone—this is how you want to move kids around, trust us. Safety features like crosswind detection and assist are nifty, too.
Becker, makers of the Sprinter-based “JetVan,” like to point out that not only has Mercedes-Benz branded them an approved super-luxury van maker, they’re also their preferred super-luxury van maker. They compare their levels of fit-and-finish to those of Rolls-Royce, and note that when it comes to celebrity clientele, their list is the longest. If we had to get one van from this gallery, it’d be this one. Anyone have a spare quarter- to half-million dollars we could spend?
Toyota’s VIP-trim HiAce is more of a luxury bus than a luxury van, but we thought we’d throw it in anyway. Wood flooring and paneling, TVs with built-in karaoke (that’d keep the kids entertained) and interior curtains make for a classy party-mover indeed.
California’s Galpin Auto Sports helped Ford throw together this Transit-based Skyliner executive van, which we love for two reasons. One: its interior features hardwood floors, a floor-to-ceiling bar set, a 52-inch projection TV system with surround system and white-leather “Klingon” throne chairs; and two: it looks like a nearly stock Transit from the outside, completely belying all this extravagance. Too bad it’s just a concept—for now.
You may have heard that Buick is big in China, but you likely didn’t know that one of the Detroit brand’s best-selling products there is a minivan we never even got over here. The GL8 has a reputation as the ride of choice for VIPs and executives in China, sort of like a Town Car or limo in North America. The interior was modeled after a luxury yacht, which probably helps sales, but it doesn’t look bad outside either.
The Fast and the Furious actor Tyrese Gibson rolls in a Mercedes, but probably not the one you expect. He’s pimping a Sprinter van with a Benz tri-star on the grille, though inside it wears an ‘RR’ logo on the seats—Rolls-Royce. Gibson convinced a garage to rob a Rolls of its leather for the one-off conversion, and also to install a Rolls-aping LED starry-night headliner in the roof. Two big screen TVs and surround sound complete the effect.
Mercury’s special Nautica-trim Villager introduced North Americans to the concept of an upscale minivan back in 1993, paving the way for $50,000-plus family haulers that would come years on. Special features included second-row captain’s chairs which, like the rest of the interior, were clad in blue-and-white, or sometimes grey, leather. The two-tone blue-and-white paint outside looked neat, too.
Klassen is pretty much the name when it comes to super-luxury vans. They like to brag that when people get a look at their custom-ordered ‘Business Luxury Van,’ they tend to say things like, “Wow, my new living room!” We’re pretty sure this is nicer than our living room. TV monitors, PlayStation game consoles and iPhone-controlled functionality is par for the course for Klassen, but they also build bespoke to your needs.
Lexus doesn’t offer a van – yet – but Toyota’s Japanese-market Vellfire (or Alphard) van makes a decent stand-in. The tuners at Wald thought so, anyway, and tricked out a few of them with Lexus badging and lower spoiler pieces, with luxury interiors to match. The Royal Lounge version of the Vellfire from Batfa is even classier, with private jet-inspired insides featuring polished wood trim and full leather electric reclining seats with ottomans.