New Luxe Ride: Tricked-Out Vans

New York's richest opt for giant cargo vehicles
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2011 12:02 PM CST
Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van the New Limousine
A Sprinter.   (Photo: Business Wire)

(Newser) – Conspicuous consumption isn’t exactly in vogue right now, so the 1% in New York are opting out of their limos and into slightly more discreet cargo vans. Of course, these are vans that are tricked out with big-screen TVs, couches, mobile offices, and half-million-dollar price tags, the New York Times reports. Though perhaps less eye-catching than your average luxury vehicle, the 22-foot-long, 9-foot-high vans are gargantuan.

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One owner had gold plating installed on all the vehicle’s buttons; others want satellite TV and WiFi built in. Mercedes makes the most popular version of the van, the Sprinter, starting at $41,000; add all the bells and whistles and the vehicles cost closer to $500,000. Some 13,000 have been sold this year. Being a “souped-up bulletproof living room on wheels,” the vans are great places for kids to play, says one mom, who gobbles up playdate invites in the pimped-out vans. But not everyone is impressed: “Using your vehicle as a luxury lounge is just usurping public space for your own private use,” says an advocate for responsible transportation. (Click to read about Beyonce's $1 million van.)

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