The first time we attended a Mercedes-Benz Metris press event, we had limited wheel time and mountain roads were all we traversed. This time, we headed to Culver City, California for some city and residential routes. During that drive, maneuverability, power, sight lines, comfort and even the parking assist system were put to the test.
Is the Mercedes-Benz Metris a baby Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or a large Mercedes-Benz C-Class wagon? It drives like a big Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Much of that has to do with the 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder, petrol engine (there is no diesel option) which was cribbed from the C-Class. The 7-Speed automatic transmission comes from the C-Class too. In acceleration, cornering, breaking, and overall driving throughout the city, the Mercedes-Benz Metris felt just like a car, only higher. The independent rear suspension worked brilliantly and sucking up bumps and irregularities well powering through L.A. traffic.
The steering is as precise as any station wagon or minivan. Don’t be fooled; This is NO minivan. This is a cargo/utility van built for real work. Even if you order the passenger van version, the seats are only built to come out in a rather clumsy manner. There are no folding seats, no TVs, no cubbies or tons of cup-holders, there are no special minivan touches at all. Basically, the passenger van version is a cargo van with seats. That’s it.
With that being said, Mercedes-Benz will be more than happy to sell you this vehicle as a passenger van for soccer mom duty. It drives so damn good, you might forgot about some of it its family-vehicle shortcomings.
The 2-liter, four-cylinder engine produces 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. The EPA estimated mileage starts at 20 miles per gallon city and up to 30 miles per gallon highway. Those are impressive numbers considering this vehicle competes with the smaller cargo vans that are currently available, such as the Ram ProMaster City and Nissan NV 200. Considering this vehicle ways around 2 1/2 tons, that mileage is exceptionally good.
The pricing is nothing to sneeze at either. The cargo van version starts at $29,945 and the passenger van version starts at $33,495. A fully outfitted passenger van version of the Mercedes-Benz Metris will easily run over $40,000.
Here are some important dimensions. The wheelbase is 126 inches, the link is 202.4 inches the width is 75.9 inches and the height is between 74.4 inches and 75.2 inches. The cargo volume is between 38 (passenger) and 186 (cargo van) cubic-feet.
Although my time was limited behind the wheel, I have a few pros and cons to share with you.
- The Mercedes-Benz Metris is an excellent daily driver that’s easy to drive. The performance is similar to a big car as opposed to a large van. The highway right is quite good for a van.
- The base prices are remarkably inexpensive considering what you’re getting.
- This is one easy van to park.
- The “park-assist” feature took five minutes to learn and works remarkably well.
- The technical gizmos (cross-wind stabilization, blind-spot monitoring, bird’s-eye view assist, parking assist) that are available are impressive.
- The joystick controlled stereo and navigation system is old technology that’s past its prime.
- The seats are firm, yet comfortable; but there is a problem, it has to do with the seat adjustment control for the front seats. When adjusting the rake and deceit, your hands get shoved into a very uncomfortable place. It’s counterintuitive and painful.
- There is no standard backup cam. It’s part of an option, which it should not be.
- The rear seats in the passenger version are very difficult to remove, nearly impossible for one person to extract without scratching something.
Despite a few issues, this is still an excellent driving van. Speaking to Mercedes-Benz, they insisted that a diesel, four-wheel-drive or other variant (which is available in Europe) are not slated to come to the United States. Still, there is a chance that, with enough public requests, they may bring those versions to the United States. There is still a lot of driving TFLtruck needs to do regarding this van (and with the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter – for that matter). It needs to be at high altitude, and we need to test it desperately.
Hopefully that will happen soon.
In the meantime, check out this first drive review.