- Metris: a new name and new vehicle for North America
- Mercedes-Benz increases its presence in the commercial sector
- Safety comes at a reasonable price
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris is a brand-new midsize commercial van, recently making its stateside debut at the 2015 National Truck Equipment Association’s (NTEA) Work Truck Show in Indianapolis. For many operators, the Metris could be the ideal size, since it’s smaller than the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and larger than something like the Ford Transit Connect. It can handle a decent amount of cargo yet still get around tight city streets.
It’s a fraction under 17 feet long, about 6 feet high and just over 6 feet wide. Buyers can order sliding side doors, along with a lift-gate rear door or side-hinged rear barn doors. It has a rear-wheel-drive layout and can tow up to 4,960 pounds. The amount it’s capable of carrying depends on how each van is upfitted, which is the process that equips a vehicle according to each customer’s particular needs: For example, some will require as much cargo space as possible, while others may want an array of tool boxes installed. Mercedes-Benz has also announced a new upfitter program to synchronize with the launch of the Metris.
We’re used to seeing high prices on Mercedes-Benz vehicles; it’s one of the most premium manufacturers, after all. But even though the Metris has many safety features found across the whole M-B car range, such as assistance in blind spots, lane keeping, driver attention, collision prevention and parking (plus a minimum of 6 airbags), the starting price for the cargo version is just $29,945. The passenger variant starts at $33,495. Both figures include destination charges.
Factor in a fuel-efficient, turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine with 208 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque, an optional stop/start function, service intervals of 15,000 miles and a 7-speed automatic transmission, and total cost of ownership adds up to a decent business proposition. The Metris also has a couple of commercial-vehicle-specific safety features, such as Crosswind Assist and load-adaptive electronic stability control. No word yet on whether any version will be powered by one of the company’s excellent BlueTEC clean diesel engines.
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris goes on sale in October. In other parts of the world, this van is known as the Vito. Reviewers in Europe have praised the general build quality, seat comfort and visibility. North Americans will no doubt like the large cupholders in the center console, as well.
What it means to you: Even if many of us will only ever need an occasional rental van, getting around is better for everyone when professional drivers are safe and comfortable.