Just two years after shoppers in the entry-luxury segment were faced with the dilemma of accepting a sub-$30,000 Mercedes-Benz for the first time in as many years, the luxury brand is now asking the same question of van drivers.
Earlier this week, Mercedes-Benz pulled the wraps off the Metris, a new-for-America van due to hit showrooms this coming fall. Based on—well, almost entirely the same as—the Vito van that Mercedes-Benz sells in other markets, the Metris occupies a new niche for the the brand. With apologies to a famous man from New Jersey, the Mercedes-Benz vans' slogan is "Born to Run."
The Metris smaller than the Sprinter, and will be available as either a commercial van or a passenger van with seats for 7 or 8. Built in Spain and exported to the U.S., it will be the second of a two-van lineup sold by nearly 200 of Mercedes-Benz's domestic dealerships.
Powering the Metris will be the M274 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine common to the C300, making 208 horsepower in this application, with 258 lb-ft. of torque at the ready. Careful readers will note that a different four-banger, the M270 found in the CLA, also makes 208 horspower, but presumably the Metris was in need of greater torque capacity. No diesel engine will be offered at launch.
Frankly, we're more interested in how the Metris stacks up against its key competitors. Its most relevant competition might come from the Ram ProMaster City, which is shorter overall but offers nearly 30 cubic feet more of cargo space inside. The Metris' pricetag places it on the expensive end of traditional minivans, like the Dodge Grand Caravan, but within the range of today's commercial vans.
By the numbers: 2016 Mercedes-Benz Metris
MSRP: $28,950 (excluding destination charge)
Power / drive wheels: 2.0-liter, 208-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine / rear-wheel drive
Transmission: 7-speed automatic transmission
EPA fuel economy: N/A
In showrooms: October 2015