Like that it's the only van in its class capable of drifting.
The Mercedes-Benz Metris is yet another versatile offering from this prolific vehicle manufacturer. Available both as a commercial vehicle and as a passenger van, it promises versatility and usability while still offering a sprinkling of Mercedes-Benz tech.
Our focus here is on the Passenger Van variant which may seem like a straight-forward people-hauler but it does have some interesting features, both good and bad, that you may not know about.
The Metris comes equipped with a 208-hp four-cylinder 2.0-liter turbocharged gas engine. When it comes to load-lugers like the Metris, the key figure is how much torque it produces, in this case you get a strong 258 lb-ft across a broad power range between 1,250 and 4,000 rpm.
The basic engine architecture is shared with Mercedes’ passenger vehicles, but here it is tuned to be more effective in hauling about heavy loads at slow to medium speeds.
As an example of this platforms flexibility, in the C 300 sedan the 2.0-liter motor produces 241hp and 273 lb-ft while in the AMG CLA 45 Coupe it makes a class-leading 375hp and 350 lb-ft, albeit with some comprehensive modifications.
The RWD layout does mean that technically it could be persuaded to perform a drift by a skilled driver. More practically speaking, it means that the turning circle should be good (at 38.7-feet it is) and the Metris should offer better traction on slippery surfaces away from the lights than an FWD rival when fully loaded.
208 hp may not be big news nowadays but it is still impressive for a van, and so is the 8-second 0-60 mph time. You may never need to race around town in your Metris but the ample performance will come in handy when you have it fully loaded and need to get past slower moving traffic on the highway.
While there is nothing wrong with the way it drives, due to its larger dimensions, the Metris definitely feels more like a van than some rivals.
While some rivals use a CVT transmission or older tech 6-speed automatic gearboxes, (the Ram ProMaster does have 9-speeds but they can be a bit clunky) the Metris has a 7-speed automatic that comes with three pre-programmed shift settings, namely Comfort, Eco and Manual. It is smooth-shifting in most conditions and is well suited to the torquey turbocharged engine.
That slab-sided exterior makes for a very useful interior space, you can either configure it as a 5, 7 or 8-seater. In the 7-seater setup the second row offers two seats which can be rotated to face backwards.
The maximum towing capacity of 5.000 pounds and max payload capacity of 1,874 pounds are both well above the class average too.
Thanks to the low-pressure turbocharger and well-though out gearing, the Metris offers comparable fuel efficiency to smaller and less powerful rivals like the Ford Transit Connect which is available with either a 169-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder (23 mpg) or 178-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter motor (25 mpg).
The Nissan NV200 is even smaller and while its 131-hp 2.0-liter motor is way down in power, its 25 mpg average is only marginally better than the 22 mpg average the Metris can achieve.
This may be a Mercedes, but it is not quite an upscale GLE SUV. Its van underpinnings mean that the ride quality is only ok although it does improve with a full load.
It is also not as quiet as you would like at higher speeds and sidewinds are more noticeable thanks to those high sides. The real issue on longer trips are the thinly padded rear seats which don’t offer enough support for larger passengers.
While it does have a punchy engine and smooth transmission, take a few corners at speed and you will be quickly reminded that it is indeed still a van. Despite its Mercedes-Benz badge the interior fittings too are a stark contrast to the soft-touch plastics and leather that you would find in the rest of the passenger car range.
The good news is that it feels well put together and the high roofline and boxy lines make it easy to get in and out of. The rear doors can be specified as either two separate opening halves or as one large liftgate.
As is the practice with a number of German auto manufacturers, the Metris comes in a handful of trim levels that can then be expanded upon with a list of pricey options. The base Worker trim is true to its name and offers not much more than the very basics, you have either a Comfort, Appearance or Convenience Package to pick from and only three colors to paint it in.
The Standard trim offers some more equipment such as a 5.8-inch color screen, additional paint options as well as many more packages that include luxury front seats, comfort suspension settings, active parking and lane keeping assists as well as an electric sliding side door.
The Metris in Worker trim starts at $29,995 while the better specced Standard trim costs an additional $3,900 on top of that. If you decide to tick every option on offer then you will soon have a Metris costing $50,000.
Restrain yourself a little and a decently-specced van complete with navigation, cruise control and upgraded safety systems should be closer to $38,000. That is a premium over most rivals but then again you do get Mercedes-Benz build quality and for some, that is worth the extra expense.