2020 Mercedes-Benz Metris Van Review: Unknown, Not Unappreciated
When introducing Mercedes-Benz’s changes to the Metris commercial van for 2021, we did so by reminding everyone that it “still exists”. For most people, the Mercedes-Benz Metris has lived quietly on the fringes of the current Mercedes lineup since arriving in the United States in 2016. Why? Because it’s often tucked away in the shadow of the larger Sprinter – the most commonly seen van painted a grayish-blue color with Amazon markings on the side. We also love the little Metris pickup truck, and we recently spent a week in one before cooling off slightly for next year.
Lest you think this review is out of date, the majority of the Metris 2021’s upgrades are to its infotainment display. The 2020 model uses a previous generation Mercedes non-touch screen measuring 5.8 inches diagonally. Users have to fiddle with cumbersome little buttons to operate the setup, including a small set of directional arrows, to access and make adjustments in various submenus. Those who are using the system for the first time may be confused, but for the most part, once we set up a few radio presets and pair our phone, subsequent use didn’t have to be so much trouble. This glaring flaw in Metris will be addressed next year in the form of a next-generation 7.0-inch touchscreen paired with a higher-resolution rearview camera.
Beyond the screen, Mercedes will change the grille design of the Metris slightly, spruce up the seat upholstery and some instrument panel trim, and replace the Metris 20’s seven-speed automatic transmission for a nine-speed transmission for 2021. The rest including the mechanics and the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is shared with the pickup truck you see here. Buyers now, as they may next year, face the choice of cargo or passenger variants of the Metris, both of which are available in the basic “worker” trim or a slightly richer specification. Our bright red Cargo test unit was the latter.
Those looking for an alternative to the quirky minivan would be wise to check out the Metris Passenger minivan, which can be offered in five, seven and eight seat configurations. Cargo models like the one we drove are strict two-seater. Unlike the larger Sprinter van, the Metris cannot be configured in a “crew” arrangement with a second row of seats in front of an empty cargo area. It can, however, be fitted with swinging barn-style rear doors or a tail lift. Our test model had the swing doors, but only a single sliding rear side door on the passenger side; Customers can opt for a driver’s side sliding door and can specify glass in these sliding panels to improve visibility in the blind spot.
Whether you’re looking to use the Metris Cargo as a starting point for building your dream motorhome (Mercedes has you covered with the Weekender if you want a factory-built option) or for work, it’s a comfortable thing. and manoeuvrable for the urban car. Steering is quick for a minivan, and the turning radius and narrow bodywork help the Metris maneuver easily in perpendicular parking lots and narrow city streets. You sit as high in the Benz, higher than in regular minivans, giving you an unobstructed view forward. As someone who once drove box trucks, I’m more and more used to using properly adjusted side mirrors to check for blind spots and to help when reversing, but newcomers to the van life will want to throw in the blind spot monitoring system available to compensate. for the lack of rear visibility on the Cargo model.
The Metris’ turbo engine looks weak on paper – its 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque lag behind the power of some compact SUVs – but it shifts the van with ease. We found no problems with the seven-speed automatic Mercedes which will be replaced next year by a nine-speed Mercedes; it shifts gears quickly and keeps the torque-sensing four-cylinder in the flesh of its power strip. The engine itself is also pretty quiet, and it’s easily overwhelmed at high speeds by the sounds bouncing around the uncut and bare metal cargo area behind the seats. You can still have a quick chat with your passenger in the Metris Cargo, but high voices help. Fill the van with stuff – provided it doesn’t make more noise bumping into the metal bodywork – and you would surely muffle the road noise and the sound of the big bumps reverberating through the back. These are not unique issues; most freight vans suffer from an empty tin can hearing sensation when unloaded.
Where the Mercedes Metris stands out, certainly among other small vans such as the Ram ProMaster City and the Ford Transit Connect, is its general sense of refinement beyond noise. The suspension rides decently even without the load weighing down the heavy-duty rear springs, and it never crashes or slams on bumps. Highway rides are easier due to the precise steering with a clear center notch that translates into a few adjustments to keep the line straight. Sure, high winds can push the boxy Metris somewhat, but it’s never a handful.
The basics are good. So whether you go for the Metris up to the mid-range of $ 40,000 or grab one near its base price of $ 28,375, you can expect mature road handling and smooth controls. The Metris we drove rang for $ 39,001 with a few minor extras. We think that’s a bit too much for mid-size vans (the larger Sprinter starts at a few thousand dollars more), but if you’re driving all day for work, plan to camp-vanning your Metris, or just want a nicer van that fits places Sprinter can’t, it’s worth it. And for 2021 you can have all of that and a decent infotainment system, along with newly available adaptive cruise control. Yes, the Metris still exists, and we’re happy for it.
|Specs of the 2020 Mercedes-Benz Metris|
|PRICE||From $ 28,375 to $ 36,775|
|DISPOSITION||Front engine, RWD, 2-8 passenger, 2-4 door van|
|ENGINE||2.0L / 208 hp / 258 lb-ft 16-valve DOHC turbo inline 4-cylinder|
|TRANSMISSION||7 speed automatic|
|WEIGHT ON BOARD||4,200 to 4,900 lbs (under construction)|
|L x W x H||202.4-211.4 x 75.9 x 74.4-75.2 inch|
|0 to 60 mph||7.5 to 8.6 seconds (MT is)|
|EPA FUEL ECON||19-21 / 23-24 / 21-22 mpg|
|ENERGY CONSUMPTION, CITY / ROAD||160-177 / 140-147 kWh / 100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.87-0.94 lbs / mile|