By Matt Degen
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris is a premium van that slots below the full-size Sprinter, yet is larger and more capable than rivals like the Ford Transit Connect and Ram ProMaster City. This year marks the Metris' first year in the U.S., but it has been a staple in Europe for two decades. The Mercedes Metris is available as a cargo van or fleet-ready passenger van that seats up to eight. As with its Sprinter big brother, the Metris brings quality touches, a bevy of safety features and the cachet long associated with the Mercedes-Benz name. With a starting price under $30,000, rear-wheel-drive layout and impressive payload and towing stats, the Mercedes-Benz Metris appears poised to be the benchmark among smaller commercial vans.
If you've been waiting for a smaller rear-wheel-drive van for commercial or fleet purposes that also boasts an efficient engine, driver-assistance features like blind-spot monitoring and parallel parking assist – not to mention the Mercedes-Benz name – your patience will be rewarded in the Metris.
If you're hoping the Mercedes Metris passenger van is the S-Class of family haulers, think again. While anyone can buy one, the van is positioned for fleet use by shuttle operators. A nicely equipped Honda Odyssey minivan has far more bells and whistles.
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris is all-new to the U.S., but has a long, strong track record in global markets, where it's known as the Vito cargo van and V-Class passenger variant. In addition to adding a new competitor to the urban commercial-van segment, the Metris brings premium features and ride quality.
The Mercedes-Benz Metris is among the best midsize commercial vans we've driven. It easily out-handles competitors such as the Ram ProMaster City and Nissan NV200, the Chevy Express and GMC...
... Savana. The Metris feels more like a crossover SUV, which themselves strive to feel like sedans. Its turbocharged 4-cylinder engine provides good power, and the van remains remarkably planted in corners – we'd go so far as almost call it fun. The 7-speed automatic transmission is smooth, and standard paddle shifters allow manual gear changes when desired. The Metris' rear-wheel-drive layout provides the satisfying dynamics associated with such a setup and further helps the Metris stand out from its front-drive rivals. Driven as an empty cargo van, the Metris can rattle and echo, but in passenger form it's surprisingly quiet. We like the available safety aids such as blind-spot monitoring but wish the steering wheel telescoped and didn't just tilt.
15,000-MILE SERVICE INTERVAL
The new Mercedes Metris van battles the dreaded downtime by going 15,000 miles between scheduled maintenance. That means more time on the road, which enables this van and its operator to keep to the business at hand.
TOWING & PAYLOAD CAPACITY
Mercedes' newest commercial van may be small, but it's a workhorse. It outclasses its rivals with the ability to tow up to 4,960 pounds and has a payload capacity of up to 2,502 pounds. Those are impressive stats for a van powered by a 4-cylinder engine.
The 2016 Metris is available as a cargo or passenger van. Of course, the Metris cargo van's biggest interior asset is space. With 186 cubic feet, it's ready to haul goods or be outfitted for custom applications. The Metris passenger van has three rows of seats and can be configured for seven or eight passengers. The former setup has two seats in the second row and three in back, with the extra space in the second row near the door for easier entry and exit. In 8-passenger models, the rear rows each accommodate three passengers. All vans have simple controls.
Given their form-follows-function mission, vans don't usually win beauty contests. Nevertheless, the Metris looks sleeker and better-proportioned than most of its rivals. If you've admired the utilitarianism of a Euro carryall, here's your chance to own one. Metris cargo vans have a sliding door on the passenger side, while passenger models have an additional sliding side door on the driver's side. The cargo model has rear doors that swing open 270 degrees for loading. Passenger models have rear doors that swing 180 degrees, with an upward-lifting tailgate optional. Passenger models feature fixed rear windows in lieu of the cargo variant's panels.
Both the passenger and cargo variants of the Mercedes-Benz Metris come with a turbocharged engine and 7-speed automatic transmission, 17-inch wheels, air conditioning, power accessories and audio unit with 5.8-inch color screen. Passenger models come with seating for seven, while cargo versions have a wood floor with a half-dozen D-rings for securing items. As with their passenger cars, Mercedes-Benz emphasizes safety in its commercial vehicles. Every Metris is packed with aids that do everything from battle crosswinds and driver drowsiness to a bevy of airbags.
Options for the 2016 Metris include power-operated sliding doors (passenger models), black Leatherette seating material, heated front seats, rearview camera, cruise control, and driver-safety features such as blind-spot monitoring, collision-prevention assist and lane-keeping assist. The Active Parking Assist feature helps in parallel parking. A navigation system is available, but it's rather basic and not as sophisticated as the COMAND infotainment system found in Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. Automatic climate control is available, as is a system that stops the engine at idle to save fuel.
The Mercedes Metris van is powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline engine that makes 208 horsepower and a healthy 258 lb-ft of torque. We found this engine and its 7-speed automatic transmission plenty worthy to power this van. While its larger brother the Sprinter offers a diesel engine and optional all-wheel drive, the Metris is gasoline-only and rear-drive. Premium fuel is recommended but not necessary. As we've noted, the Metris can tow up 4,960 pounds, which easily tops rivals such as the Ram ProMaster City, Ford Transit Connect and Nissan NV200.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
258 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: NA
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris van has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $30,000 for a cargo version and just under $33,500 for the passenger model. Options can add a few thousand dollars to either variant of this smaller Mercedes commercial van. At these prices, the Metris costs several thousand more than rivals such as the Ford Transit Connect, Ram ProMaster City and Nissan NV200. But given the Mercedes' bigger size, greater capability and premium appeal, the Metris still packs a lot of value. Before buying this new van, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. As this is an all-new vehicle, we have yet to estimate the Metris' resale value.