Mercedes-Benz is getting very serious about the commercial van and truck market in the United States. The Sprinter full-size has been on sale in the United States for many years. The mid-size Mercedes Metris recently went on sale, and it fits into a space between the full-size commercial vans and the so called “compact” vans, such as the Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200, and the Ram ProMaster City. The Metris is small enough to fit into a standard garage space, but large enough to boast impressive payload, cargo volume, and towing numbers.
Mercedes-Benz currently manufactures the Sprinter and Metris vans in Germany, but because these vehicles are considered commercial trucks – they are subject to a 25% “Chicken Tax” if they are imported into the United States. Mercedes designed a temporary solution to get around this tax and remain competitive in the United States. The solution is to continue to build the vans in Europe, then disassemble them, separate the body components from the drivetrain, ship these parts separately to the United States, and then reassemble them at their facility in South Carolina.
The long-term solution is to assemble the vans in the United States at a brand new facility that Mercedes broke ground on this week in South Carolina. No more disassembling and reassembling will be required. Mercedes will be able to get the smaller components to the South Carolina assembly plant, and build the vans there.
The 2017 Metris just added a Worker version that is priced at a more competitive $25,995. It comes in one wheelbase and one roof size. The Metris is capable of carrying up to 2,500 lbs of payload, it has 186 cu-ft of cargo volume, and up to 5,000 lbs of towing capacity. It’s powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a 7-speed automatic transmission and the van is EPA rated at 21 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway. There is no turbo-diesel engine option for the Metris at this time.
There are also a full-featured Metris Cargo van that starts at $28,950 and a Metris Passenger van, starting at $32,500.
Check out Roman’s first drive video review of the van below: