I love vans, and I'm a big fan of the Mercedes Sprinter heavy haulers. The Metris drives like a 3/4-size version of the Sprinter despite its gasoline powertrain. That said, it's not an alternative for someone shopping, say, the Chrysler Pacifica minivan -- the Metris is really intended for fleet use, and its interior trim and amenities reflect that purpose. The rear rows of seats have no recline features and they're a bear to remove (there's no Stow 'n Go or anything of the sort). Hard, industrial plastics abound, the infotainment system is a generation old and the liftgate is absolutely huge … great for loading things, but you'd better hope no one parks behind you.

Still, the Metris is ideally equipped for its intended market -- hotel shuttles, airport parking services and that sort of thing, and the small gas powertrain feels like it's got plenty of power to haul a load of folks and their luggage between terminals. Just don't get your hopes up that Mercedes is making a minivan to replace your Town & Country -- this is a work van. Approach it as such and the Metris will impress.

OTHER VOICES: The Metris is ideal for fleet use, yes, and MAYBE for very large families. I couldn’t help but notice when buckling in my kid’s car seat that I had not one or two options for placement, but FIVE. Can a Honda Odyssey say that? ...

… Actually, it can. And an Odyssey starts under $30,000, with a fully loaded model just eclipsing $46,000. I can’t see any reason any family should opt for a $34,000 Metris, let alone one costing $45,000 like this example. None of the rear seats recline; there’s barely an armrest to be found; the seats themselves are rock hard; the entertainment, convenience and comfort features feel 10 years old; it’s loud inside at any speed; it drives like a large, boxy truck because, well, that’s what it is. By comparison, the Odyssey and Pacifica feel like absolute luxury vehicles, to both the driver and all the Goldfish-eating rear-seaters.

That said, I think there’s absolutely a place in the world -- maybe even your world -- for a Mercedes Metris passenger van, and that place is called shuttle: airport, group home, hotel, take your pick.

Options: Premium Safety Package with Parktronic Package including leather and chrome trim steering wheel, multifunction steering wheel with trip computer, active park assist, collision prevention assist, blind spot assist, rain sensors, lane keeping assist, heated and electrically adjustable mirrors, illuminated exits, first aid kit, 4.2-inch pixel matrix display ($2,340); Driver Efficiency Package including Becker Map Pilot navigation system, buffer battery, storage tray, lower console, rear view camera, fog lamps, ECO start/stop, cruise control ($1,750); Premium Exterior Package including bumpers painted in vehicle color, black roof rails, 20-spoke 17-inch light-alloy wheels ($1,175); Enhanced Package including automatic climate control, air conditioning, enhanced power ($1,030); Power sliding right side door ($760); Power sliding left side door ($760); Cold Weather Package including heated windshield washer system, heated front seats, electric booster for heating ($755); Driver Comfort Package including comfort suspension, two additional master keys, comfort seat for driver and passenger, front seat lumbar support, front seat backrest storage net ($720); Premium Interior Package including chrome accents, illuminated vanity mirrors, premium overhead control panel, reading lights in rear grab handle, front footwell lighting, front and rear carpeting ($650); Single flip-up tailgate ($465); Second-row seat ($380); Black leatherette upholstery ($200)

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