Seating for five, sleeping for four - family vacations just became cool again.
Mercedes-Benz is a maker of more than just fine luxury vehicles and hair-raising AMG models. It also produces some of the best commercial vans in the world in the form of the Mercedes-Benz Metris and the full-size Mercedes-Benz Sprinter. But at this year's 2020 Chicago Auto Show, the German manufacturer is expanding its van family with an addition that's a little less commercial and a lot more family-focused. To do this, Mercedes is bringing back one of the most iconic, yet forgotten, body styles around.
Meet the Weekender, Mercedes' take on the modern pop-up camper van, and unlike the strange X-Class Camper Concept, this one's actually available.
To bring back the glory days of when camper vans were the ideal family vehicle for road trips and vacations, Mercedes-Benz Vans has partnered with Driverge Vehicle Innovations and Peace Vans - one of America's most prolific camper van restoration shops. The Weekender is based on the Metris van, but has been adapted to accommodate a range of diverse uses, from family road trips to spring break vacations or coastline surf tours, all while being compact and usable enough for the daily grind. This is in contrast to modern RVs and rival campers such as the Volkswagen Grand California which are simply too big and cumbersome to be used on a regular basis.
Using the foundation of the standard-wheelbase Metris, the Weekender has been adapted to feature an elevating roof that houses sleeping space for two people. This area includes a two-inch-thick memory foam mattress for comfort, while extra USB ports and three windows ensure it's hospitable accommodation that covers all the needs of the modern adventurer. In the main cabin, the seating has been reconfigured to be incredibly versatile. Not only can it seat five in standard configuration, but the rear bench opens up into a two-sleeper bed and is configured on sliding rails to allow for versatile cargo carrying capacity when in bench form. The pair of front seats have been modified with 180-degree swivel functionality, allowing those in front to rotate and enjoy a meal with family or friends in the back.
No modern camper would be complete without a means to charge phones, portable speakers, and any other mobile device, which is why the Weekender comes equipped as standard with a second battery to ensure you never run out of power. Additionally, the optional Off-Grid Power and Integrated Solar Panel option allows you to equip solar charging for extended road trips, with added convenience in the form of upgraded infotainment, navigation, and sound systems to keep you on track and entertained while traversing America.
Part of the camper van lifestyle has always been the broad range of customization options, and the Weekender is no different. Buyers will be able to wrap their Weekender in any one of 200 available vinyl wrap colors from 3M.
Furthermore, you can choose a range of accessories ranging from a pull-out kitchen to roof racks and storage bins, and even a rear liftgate-mounted tent for when you need extra space and privacy.
The Metris' impressive performance hasn't been dampened by the transition from commercial hauler to camper van, either. All Weekenders will be powered by the same 208-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder as the regular Metris, paired to a seven-speed automatic gearbox and rear-wheel drive to enable a towing capacity of up to 5,000 lbs.
Pricing is yet to be announced, but we expect it to be closer to the $35,580 asking price of the Metris Passenger Van than the $27,180 base price for a Worker Cargo Van. The Weekender is available to order from Spring this year at any authorized Mercedes-Benz Vans dealership.