It has been well over a century since Mercedes-Benz built its first cargo van: in 1896, it built what is probably the world's very first van, aptly named the Combination Delivery Vehicle. Since then, the automaker has always offered a cargo van in one shape or another, and the 2021 Mercedes-Benz Metris Cargo Van proudly joins the ranks as a small cargo vehicle that slots in below the larger Sprinter. Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-pot delivering 208 horsepower. The Mercedes Metris van can carry up to 2,668 pounds and tow 5,000, which represents class-leading numbers. With a refined drive and good looks, the Metris looks like a good deal, but that three-pointed star on its hood raises the price significantly. The Metris Cargo Van goes up against the Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van and Ram ProMaster City Cargo Van.
Not much changes for 2021, but the Metris Cargo Can does get revised wheels and a different front grille. The infotainment has been improved with, among others, a larger screen. Additional driver-assistance features have been added, with adaptive cruise control and active brake assist now available. Some interior design and trim elements have also been revised. Last year's seven-speed automatic transmission has been replaced with a nine-speed transmission and the van's GVWR has been increased. The range has been simplified and there is no longer a separate Worker variant.
See trim levels and configurations:
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
As far as cargo vans go, the 2021 Mercedes-Benz Metris doesn't look all that bad, especially when compared to the squinty Ram ProMaster City, or the catfish-faced Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van. Standard exterior features on the Metris Cargo include a set of 16-inch steel wheels, a sliding side door, auto headlights, a new grille design for 2021, and a full-sized spare wheel. Optional extras include your choice of 13 exterior paint colors, including Graphite Grey Metallic, Cavansite Blue Metallic, and Hyacinth Red Metallic, each going for $1,005. The Metris Cargo Van comes standard with rear doors that open to 270 degrees. Rear doors that open to 180 degrees or a lift-up tailgate are optional.
The 2021 Metris Cargo Van is available in 126-inch and 135-inch wheelbase trim, with the shorter van measuring 202.4 inches in total length, while the long-wheelbase car measures 211.4 inches. Width, including mirrors, is 88 inches. The load height at curb level is 22 inches, and the side-door opening height is 49.3 inches. The Metris Cargo Van has a curb weight of 4,123 pounds in short wheelbase form, and 4,178 lbs in LWB configuration .
Powering the 2021 Mercedes-Benz Metris Cargo Van is a turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine that produces 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. This engine provides enough grunt to move the Metris Cargo around town with eagerness, and even when fully loaded will still manage to keep up on the highway. Its strong torque curve also allows it to tow an impressive 5,000 pounds. Power is sent to the rear wheels via a smooth-shifting new 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission that replaces last year's seven-speed transmission. It makes the most of the engine's power and does not struggle to find gears when pulling along a large load or when accelerating in and out of city traffic. No official top speed or 0 to 60 mph times are quoted by the manufacturer, which is hardly unusual for this category of vehicle.
Staying true to its brand heritage, the 2021 Metris Cargo Van delivers a handling and driving experience that is more refined and pleasurable than its competitors. It is by no means a small vehicle, especially in 135-inch wheelbase configuration, but a tight turning circle and light steering help it feel agile on city roads and other tight spaces, exactly what you want from a cargo van. Out on the highway, the Metris Cargo Van feels planted, and drivers will be able to cruise along for many miles without tiring. This van shines in both the city and on the open road, which will put it ahead of its less confident-handling competitors.
Mercedes-Benz made the wise decision to move away from heavy and somewhat lethargic naturally-aspirated V6 engines as is so commonly found in cargo vans, and instead have gone for a lightweight, small-capacity turbocharged four-cylinder engine which offers great lowdown torque while sipping on fuel. The EPA rates the Metris Cargo Van at 19/23/21 mpg city/highway/combined. Both LWB and SWB configurations are fitted with an 18.49-gallon fuel tank, which in theory, should give the Metris Cargo van a maximum range of around 388 miles on the combined cycle.
It says it all in the name: the Metris Cargo Van offers a ton of interior space because that's exactly what it was built for. Headroom in the front is 39.6 inches in both wheelbase lengths and is more than enough for six-foot-plus drivers and passengers. Legroom is slightly compromised at 35.78 inches. In the back is where the true numbers talk; cargo length with the through-loading partition is 111.5 inches for the SWB, and 120.5 for the LWB van. Cargo bay dimensions include a maximum height of 55 inches, with 50 inches of space between the wheelhouses.
Yes, the Metris will hold a lot of stuff, and its competitors will hold a lot less. Mercedes-Benz quotes a cargo capacity of 183 cubic feet behind the first row for the 126-inch wheelbase van. In comparison, the short-wheelbase Ford Transit Connect cargo van offers only 123.3 cubic feet of space. The LWB Metris Cargo Van offers up to 199 cubic feet of space, which is considerably more than you get from the LWB Ford Transit Connect, which can only muster 145.8 cubic feet behind the first row. The Metris Cargo Van has a maximum payload rating of 2,668 pounds.
As you'd expect with almost any cargo van, the Metris comes with the minimum in terms of features and basic comforts; it's built to work and shrugs off Mercedes-Benz' luxury image for a more utilitarian one. Both the driver and front passenger get manually adjustable seats, and a bunch of cupholders; the driver has an adjustable steering column, while there is also manually adjustable air conditioning, a rearview camera, and a lockable glove compartment. Optional extras include automatic climate control, cruise control, and an interior rear-view mirror. The Safety package specs, a leather steering wheel, rain sensor, and blind-spot assist, as well as an instrument cluster with a pixel-matrix display and a trip computer.
The infotainment touchscreen is a newly updated seven-inch unit (up from the 2020 model's 5.8 inches) that displays clear imagery and finally offers smartphone integration via USB. It's a lot larger than the 4.2-inch display in the Ford Transit. Features on offer include two USB ports, as well as Bluetooth streaming, voice control, and a SiriusXM radio. Four speakers offer a tinny auditory experience, especially when the cargo area is void of goods.
The Metris Cargo Van were recalled three times in 2020 for brake-hose and battery problems, as well as the ever-problematic eCall system giving emergency responders the incorrect vehicle location. So far, the 2021 Metris Cargo van has been recalled for an improperly welded front-passenger seat frame. Mercedes-Benz will cover the Metris Cargo Van with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, including drivetrain cover and roadside assistance for the same distance or time.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz Metris Cargo Van has not been tested by the NHTSA or IIHS, but comes with a good amount of standard and optional safety gear, especially for a vehicle in this class. There are six airbags on offer, including front-row window and side thorax/pelvis airbags. Driver-assistance features include driver-attention assist, hill-start assist, load-adaptive stability control, and crosswind assist. Optional extras include blind-spot monitoring, active brake assist, lane-keep assist, and rain-sensing window wipers.
Whereas in the past, you could get away with offering a basic shell, four wheels, a steering wheel, and an engine when it came to cargo vans, these days owners expect more in terms of comfort, safety, and tech. While it may not be an S-Class, the Metris, Mercedes-Benz's midsize van, offers good looks, a mildly refined ride, and good power. The turbocharged 2.0-liter engine offers strong torque from way down low, exactly what you want when you're lugging around a heavy load, and the overall driving experience is pleasurable. Sure, in base trim, it doesn't come with much, but there are enough options to make it a decent daily driver. The only major issue we have with the 2021 Mercedes-Benz Metris Cargo Van is the fact that the Mercedes-Benz branding on its nose adds a few thousand dollars to the asking price, which will push many towards the US-made Ford Transit or Ram ProMaster City.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz Metris Cargo Van costs more than its close rivals, the Ram ProMaster City and Ford Transit Connect but offers a more refined drive, a more powerful engine, and competitive carrying and towing capacities. With the discontinuation of the cheaper Metris Worker Cargo Van, the base Cargo Van now carries a price of $32,630, which excludes registration, tax, and a delivery fee of $1,295. The LWB version of the Metris Cargo has a base MSRP of $33,155.
Seeing as both the SWB and LWB vans come with the same turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and uses a nine-speed transmission, you won't have to scratch your head regarding powertrain configurations. Standard interior features include manually adjustable front seats, air-conditioning, and a seven-inch infotainment display with smartphone integration, Bluetooth streaming, and two USB ports. With the LWB version of the Metris only costing a few hundred dollars more, we would suggest getting the bigger van, because you can never have too much cargo space.
Ram is targeting small business owners in the USA with its sturdy little Promaster City Cargo Van, which offers class-leading towing and payload capacities. Under the hood of the ProMaster City lies a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with outputs of 178 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque, which sends its power to the front wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission. We found that while the powerplant in the Ram was adequate, it lacked the low-down punch of the Metris Cargo Van, and could struggle under full load. In saying that, the Ram has a cargo bay payload capacity of 1,890 lbs. We like the reasonable fuel-efficiency and the general versatility of the interior, which offers above-average payload capacity, an expansive cargo bay, and a comfortable seating arrangement. On the other hand, it's not as enjoyable to drive, displays lots of body roll in the corners, and is susceptible to crosswinds on the highway. We would pay the extra money for the more refined Merc.
The Transit Connect Cargo Van hails a new era in van-driving; you don't have to look like an absolute creep while trying to run your small business. With Euro styling and car-like handling, the Connect strikes a balance between work and play, which we seriously dig. Under the hood lies a 2.0-liter four-pot engine that produces 162 hp and 144 lb-ft of torque or a 2.5 with 169 hp and 171 lb-ft. Power is sent to the front wheels via an eight-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. The SWB version has a maximum payload of 1,510 pounds and the LWB, 1,550 pounds. Both are able to tow a maximum of 2,000 pounds. We like the fact that the Ford drives like a much smaller car, its impressive standard and optional feature list, and workable interior layout - but, unfortunately, the bouncy ride and cheap feeling base interior puts us off slightly. It's less expensive than the German and gets a lot right, but the engine in the Metris by itself will make us go for the Mercedes-Benz.
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