The latest van entry for Mercedes-Benz into the U.S. marketplace is the Metris. It is a mid-sized van known as the Vito in Europe. It comes to our shores in either a cargo or passenger van form, with a variety of available configurations and equipment choices. We will review here the 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris Passenger Van 126 with reconfigurable 7-passenger seating and the possible expansion to accommodate eight occupants.
The Metris falls somewhere between the old R-Class luxury wagon and the line of Sprinter vans by Mercedes, and will likely wind up being just the right size van for many consumers.
Metris wears a recognizable Mercedes-Benz face but is otherwise obviously shaped like a van, and you won’t find sumptuously luxurious interior appointments found in the interior of the old R-Class or new S-Class. It is not uncomfortable mind you, merely on the Spartan side when speaking comparatively. Passenger ingress and egress is made easy, with no climbing necessary and the rear cargo area liftover height is low as well for convenient loading and unloading. The texture of the carpet mats and molded pattern of the lower entry step makes brushing debris out difficult.
The driving position is elevated for an excellent view of the road ahead, while the center passenger headrests block rear vision when in place, and the steering wheel only tilts and does not telescope. The Becker Map Pilot Navigation system comes with a small 5.8-inch screen as part of the Driver Efficiency Package, but I found the system to be quite inefficient and not at all user-friendly to program destinations – it is definitely Teutonic in nature.
Power is provided by a 2.0-liter, direct injected, intercooled, turbocharged, inline four-cylinder engine that makes 208 horsepower at 1300 rpm while developing 258 pound feet of torque. Motive energy reaches the rear driving wheels via a 7G-TRONIC seven speed automatic transmission with standard, steering wheel mounted shift paddles. The Metris is capable of towing up to 4,960 pounds when equipped with a trailer hitch.
My test Mercedes-Benz Metris Passenger Van 126 came with 7-passenger seating, finished outside in Arctic White and inside in an abundance of Black plastic surfaces. The base price was set at $32,500 while the final price tag rose to $43,570 after factoring in the optional equipment features and equipment, which included: vehicle color painted bumpers; 5-spoke light alloy wheels; power sliding right and left side doors; front ashtrays; single flip-up tailgate; Driver Comfort Package with driver and passenger comfort seats with lumbar support; storage net and passenger seat backrest; Driver Efficiency Package with the Becker Map Pilot Navigation System, lower console storage tray, Rear View Camera, fog lamps and Cruise Control; Active Safety Plus Package with Active Parking Assist, leather and chrome trim for steering wheel, multifunction steering wheel with trip computer, Parktronic with Active Parking Assist, heated and electrically adjustable mirrors, Collision Prevention Assist, Rain Sensor, 4.2Pixel matrix display with chrome dials, Lane Keeping Assist, Illuminated front exits and First Aid Kit; Cold Weather Package with heated windshield washer system, heated front driver and passenger seats and electric booster for heating; High Performance Air Conditioning, Automatic Climate control and air conditioning enhanced power; Interior Appearance Package with Comfort suspension, chrome accents, illuminated vanity mirrors, Premium overhead control panel, reading lights in rear grab handle with LC3, front footwall lighting, carpeting front and rear; and Destination and Delivery charge.
SUMMARY: Driving the 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris Passenger Van 126 is actually a quite pleasurable experience. I managed to log in excess of 500 miles in a variety of scenarios without any fatigue, although a port-a-potty would have been most welcome when stuck for long intervals in gridlock traffic.
Acceleration is of course not blistering, but is certainly adequate. The engine and transmission work well together in seamless fashion. Electronic Stability Control, Attention Assist, Crosswind Assist and Hill Start Assist all contribute to confident, safe travel, and the steering effort is exceptionally light at lower speeds, but stiffens appropriately at increased speeds. Tracking is steady and on the on-center feel is constant for an athletic and nimble handling characteristic. Bringing the Metris to a halt often seemed to require what seemed to be extra time and distance.
Parallel parking becomes child’s play with the Parktronic automatic Parking Assist, effortlessly placing the vehicle in tight-fitting scenarios. The fuel filler is cleverly hidden behind its own separate door, which is covered by the driver’s front door, thereby preventing tampering.
In the final analysis, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris Passenger Van 126 that is an attractive, value laden and affordable mid-sized people mover that will ultimately prove to be the “just-right size” for many consumers that really don’t need a full-sized van like the Sprinter. The 15,000 mile service interval should also prove to be a big plus.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris Passenger Van 126
Base Price: $32,500.
Price as Tested: $43,570.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter, Direct injected, intercooled, turbocharged inline four-cylinder.
Horsepower (bhp): 208
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 258
Transmission: 7G-TRONIC Seven speed automatic with standard
Drive Train: Longitudinally mounted front engine / Rear-Wheel Drive.
Suspension: Front – Independent strut type.
Rear – Independent with rear trailing arm.
Brakes: Power-assisted front wheel discs / rear drum, with 4-wheel ABS and
Driveline Traction Control, Crosswind Assist, ESC and TPMS.
Tires: Hankook Ventus S1 Noble 2 – 225/55 R17 – 101H All-Season mounted on 5-spoke light alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 126.0 inches
Length Overall: 202.4 inches
Width: 75.9 inches – w/o mirrors
Height: 74.4 inches
Ground Clearance: 3.8 inches
Curb Weight: 4,820 lbs. Gross Vehicle
Weight Rating Capacity is 6724 lbs.
Turning Circle: 38.7 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 18.5 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 20 mpg city / 23 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed.
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.
• Style – 3.5 Stars
• Performance – 4 Stars
• Ride & Handling – 4.5 Stars
• Utility – 5 Stars
• Competition Comparison – 3.5 Stars
• Fuel Ecomnomy – 4.5 Stars
• Value – 4.5 Stars
• Summary – 4.21 Stars. The Metris passenger Van 126 makes for an ideal, affordable airport transporter or hotel shuttle. It is highly maneuverable and stable, with adequate power for most scenarios, and it is relatively comfortable, though somewhat spartan.