2017 Mercedes-Benz Metris Cargo Van Review

The baby Sprinter van will happily haul your stuff


Wade Thiel, Staff Writer



Positives: Tons of cargo and storage space, easy to customize, handles well for a cargo van.
Negatives: Side mirrors are too small for a cargo van with no rear or side windows, the infotainment system is difficult to use, fuel economy could be better.
Bottom Line: The Mercedes-Benz Metris is a working man's vehicle. It's a pleasure to drive, has great seats, tons of cargo and storage space and could be outfitted for just about any job. It's not quite as large as the company's well-known Sprinter van, but for most jobs, it's just right. If you want a cargo van that feels refined and nimble on the road, and you don't care much about technology, this is a good choice.
 View Our 2017 Mercedes-Benz Metris Overview
When it comes to Mercedes-Benz cargo vans, the Sprinter gets all the glory and recognition. However, as good as that van is, sometimes it’s just too darn big. Mercedes realized this back in 2015 and smartly added another offering to its lineup, the Metris. This design is still new to many. It’s smaller than the Sprinter but keeps a similar design. Having driven a few different cargo vans, we were interested to see how the Metris stacks up to the tough competition from Ford, Ram, and Nissan. Read on for the full review.
 

Driving Experience

8.6

 

You wouldn’t expect a cargo van to drive as well as the Metris does. Despite its tall stature, the van doesn’t feel tippy. Its center of gravity is low, and it's reasonably well-connected to the road. You sit up high, and it feels like there’s almost nothing in front of you. If you’re not used to this driving position it feels a little odd, but you'll quickly become accustomed to it.

Ride Quality: The ride is a little on the rougher side due to the firm suspension that’s needed to help the vehicle carry heavy loads. Still, even with nothing in the cargo area, it’s not unpleasant.

Acceleration: The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder moves the van along well. Reported 0-60 times are 8.6 seconds. It’s not fast, but there’s enough power for getting around easily.

Braking: The brakes are good. They’re strong and progressive with better pedal feel than some minivans we’ve driven.

Steering: The steering is more precise and communicative than you may expect from a van. This makes maneuvering the Metris easy whether you’re in a parking lot or on the highway.

Handling: The Metris does a better job than we expected around curves. It instills a fair amount of confidence, and it’s easy to anticipate what it will do.

Technology

5.9

 

Mercedes-Benz used a dated infotainment system in the Metris. There’s Bluetooth, navigation, and radio, but all functions are difficult to use. The controls are far from intuitive. It makes sense that Mercedes would omit its latest and greatest tech in a cargo van, but something with a touch screen and clear controls would be nice.

Infotainment System: The 5.8-inch color screen offers fuzzy graphics and choppy operation. Many of the features are difficult to get to and use. We didn’t expect much from the system to begin with, and it still came up short.

Controls: The buttons and knobs on the dash are a bit confusing and there are a lot of them. Mercedes should consider switching to a more intuitive and easy to use layout or add a touchscreen to simplify things.

Bluetooth Pairing: Pairing a phone proved difficult. Even after we figured out the procedure, the system couldn’t find our phone. After running through the pairing procedure again, we established a connection. Once paired, we experienced no issues.

Voice Call Quality: Sound quality wasn’t the best on phone calls, but we had no connectivity problems.

Styling

8

 

Cargo vans aren’t sexy, but the Metris manages to bring attractive styling elements to a vehicle lacking a curvaceous shape. Mercedes-Benz manages to take the tall, boxy European cargo van style and make it look upscale. The Metris makes most of its competitors appear ugly, including the Ram ProMaster and the Nissan NV Cargo. Ford's Transit is styled closer to the Sprinter and fares better in this department than the others.

Front: The black grille features three horizontal bars with Mercedes’ three-pointed star badge in the middle, the large wraparound headlights curve up on either side of the grille, and the short hood features a few well-placed creases on either side.

Rear: Around back, it’s almost exactly what you’d expect. There are two rear doors and vertically oriented taillights. It’s nothing special, but it's certainly not ugly.

Profile: From the side it’s easy to see what sets the Metris apart from full-size vans. It’s not as long as its bigger brother, the Sprinter, but it keeps that well-known tall and smooth shape. The five spoke 16-inch wheels also help kick things up a notch.

Cabin: The cabin features a fair amount of black hard plastic. It’s not the most attractive layout, but Mercedes at least went all black instead of trying to add some other kind of ugly trim. The steering wheel is attractively styled like many of the brand's other models. It’s leather-wrapped and features Mercedes’ badge in the center.

Comfort

7.8

 

The Metris is designed for people who spend a lot of time on the road. For many of the owners, the van is as much their transportation as it is their office. Because they spend so much time in the vehicle, it has to be comfortable. Luckily, the cabin of the Metris delivers. It doesn’t supply the same luxurious interior that Mercedes-Benz is known for, but the worker who spends a lot of time in the car will be happy.

Front Seats: The two captain’s chairs up front on our tester had leatherette upholstery. The seats offered good support and a reasonable amount of bolstering and adjustment. The seating position is upright and there’s plenty of legroom.

Rear Seats: None.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): There’s a fair amount of road noise in the Metris. The large cargo area seems to amplify sound a bit as well, so any bump you roll over sounds worse than it is. The vehicle would likely be quieter with its cargo hold filled up.

Visibility: Front visibility is excellent. You sit up high and can see over or around most vehicles in front of you. Rear visibility is virtually non-existent (our tester came without rear windows) and side visibility isn’t great due to the lack of windows all the way down the side of the van. The rearview camera and parking sensors help a lot, but a few more windows and some larger side mirrors would go a long way.

Climate: The heating and cooling system in the Metris is powerful and does a good job. The heated seats included on our tester worked fast and were powerful, too.

Safety

5.5

 

The Mercedes-Benz Metris has not been rated by the NHTSA or the IIHS. There was a fair amount of safety technology installed on our tester, and Mercedes-Benz vehicles generally do a decent job on safety tests, so we’d expect the Metris be respectable.

IIHS Rating: Not yet rated.

Standard Tech: The Metris comes with a fair amount of safety features, including crosswind assist, airbags, attention assist, traction and load-adaptive electronic stability control, and tire pressure monitoring.

Optional Tech: A Monroney window sticker was not provided with our test vehicle, but our Metris came equipped with at least the following optional equipment: backup camera, parking sensors, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist.

Storage/Cargo

9.8

 

Storage space is the name of the game with the Metris. Its large cargo area offers a flat load floor and tons of space. Up front, there are multiple places to store folders, gear, and tools that you’ll use on a regular basis. We were thrilled to have so many places to put things, and we’d expect the hard working people who buy these vans will be, too. The Metris does better than the other smaller cargo vans out there, but not as well as the large vans. It's a happy medium.

Storage Space: The cabin is rife with storage spaces. There are multiple slots and bins on top of the dash, the middle of the dash features two small cubbies to either side of the infotainment system, and in front of all that, is a large bin and two cup holders. The door pockets are large and there’s even an access panel to the spot under the driver’s seat.

Cargo Room: The cargo area offers up to 186 cubic feet of storage space. The space inside the van is large and flat with the exception of the wheel wells. Larger vans like the Ford Transit beat the Metris with over 224 cubic feet of space, but they're also bigger overall. Smaller vans don't have quite as much space. The Ram ProMaster City for example only has up to about 132 cubic feet of space.

Fuel Economy

7.6

 

The Mercedes-Benz Metris’ turbo four-cylinder engine was designed to be both powerful enough to move the rather large van and its payload along at a good pace and make it so that it doesn’t suck down too much gasoline. Still, it’s not as efficient as the smaller cargo vans out there, like the Ram ProMaster City or the Ford Transit Connect.

Observed: 20.6 combined mpg.

Distance Driven: 319 miles.

Driving Factors: We drove the Metris primarily in the city. The few short trips on the highway wouldn’t have impacted the mileage very much.

Audio

6.5

 

The five speaker audio system in the Metris isn’t too impressive. You can hear what’s playing, but the van’s large cargo area seems to swallow up a lot of the sound coming from the cabin-mounted speakers. Some kind of surround sound system would work better.



Final Thoughts

As far as cargo vans go, the Metris is a smart choice. It offers good driving dynamics and the ability to haul large amounts of gear and items in an enclosed and lockable space. We see it as a major boon for workers and contractors. It drives better than you might expect and the seats are truly comfortable to sit on for long periods of time. If you’re looking for a tough workhorse, this might be the perfect vehicle for you.
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