I’ve driven and reviewed a few different cargo vans in the past, including the Ram ProMaster and the Ford Transit, but this was my first time getting a cargo van outfitted to be a passenger van, and it just happened to be a Mercedes. If you know me, I was actually excited about getting the Metris to review, as hauling my family around already makes me feel like a taxi driver – and that’s exactly what this van is meant to be. The Metris isn’t the pretty minivan you might want sitting in your driveway ready to take the kids to baseball practice, or is it?
As a cargo van the Metris comes in all shapes and sizes with different interior options ranging from completely empty to decked out with seats, carpet, and leather like our tester here. We even had luxuries like heated seats in the front and a navigation system, but that was about it. Don’t get me wrong, the interior was pretty good for a cargo van and some of the finishes were downright beautiful. That being said, you won’t be mistaking this for the Mercedes S-Class at any point.
At 202-inches long, it’s about the same length as a Toyota Sienna or a Honda Odyssey but the Metris is nearly 10-inches wider and about 8-inches taller. This makes for a very roomy interior allowing for adults to enter and exit both the middle row and the 3rd row of seating we ease. No matter what row I was in I was able to sit back and cross my legs and still have about an inch of room between my knee and the seat in front of me, and I’m 6′ 1″. And there was headroom for miles. You can order the Metris with a 7-seating configuration or an 8-seater like the one I was driving. Lifting the middle row seat for rear access isn’t the easiest or most intuitive thing in the world, but engineering-wise it made complete sense as these seats can also be completely removed, leaving the flat cargo van floor. In case you need to move a couch or something…
Just because it’s comfortable, easy to drive and a Mercedes doesn’t mean it’s the most luxurious option out there.
Looking at the Metris, with its wide body and tall roof, you might assume it would be a pain to drive, especially downtown or in tight parking lots. I was actually extremely surprised with its maneuverability, just how easy and comfortable it was to drive. The steering is perfectly calibrated, so turning in tight spots is made easy. Moreover, you have a large windshield and you’re sitting on top of the wheels; the visibility is fantastic. The view out toward the rear, though, is another story, as the large headrests block most of the view you would otherwise have.
Just because it’s comfortable, easy to drive and a Mercedes doesn’t mean it’s the most luxurious option out there. You get a lot of the same symptoms of driving any cargo van while driving the Metris. It’s a noisy vehicle with not much insulation between you and the outside world or even the engine bay. It also doesn’t take long, in stop-and-go situations, to get annoyed at the brakes squealing as you slow to a stop.
Under the hood is a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder pushing 208-horsepower. This is actually a detuned version of what you would get in a C-Class. That’s matched with a 7-speed automatic transmission and has an available start-stop eco mode to help save on gas. The Metris is rated at 20-mpg city and 23-mpg highway and during our week we averaged just over 21-mpg. You’ll want to get everything you can out of a gallon, though, as you’ll need to be filling this thing up with premium fuel. Also, a quirky design side note: the fuel-filler is right behind the driver’s door and in front of the sliding back door and you have to have the driver’s door open to access the cap.
Overall I really enjoyed my time with the Metris and, surprisingly enough, so did most of my family. My 16-year old son didn’t like being dropped off at school in it, as he’s way too cool to be seen riding in a cargo van. I could definitely see a larger family like mine taking advantage of the size and using this van as a family hauler but what about the price? While you can get a Metris cargo van for just over $25k you’ll need to spend just at $30k if you want to outfit it with seats. At that price point, though, you’ll still be looking at a front bumper cover that’s not painted to match the rest of the vehicle and you’ll be sitting in some cloth seats. My review vehicle, with leather and basically all the amenities had an MSRP of $45k. That doesn’t sound bad considering the size of vehicle you’re getting, but there’s definitely other things to consider. The Toyota Highlander we drove a few weeks ago, which fit my family pretty well, was also $45k. You can also pick up just about any minivan loaded out with rear-seat entertainment and all sorts of goodies for $45k. The Metris comes with none of these. So unless you’re signing up with Uber or Lyft and looking at hauling a lot of people to and from an airport, I’d consider just sticking with a larger SUV or traditional minivan for your family.