Test Drive Notes Library
- Very utilitarian. While the passenger version of the Metris is about the same length as a full-size minivan, it’s both wider and taller, by about 10 inches in each direction. This makes the inside of the Metris feel huge. There’s enough space between the two front seats that you can get up, walk to the second row, dope-slap your fighting kids, and walk back. With only two seats in the second row (seven seats total), there’s a veritable hallway leading to the third row, so you continue to the way-back and scold grandma for vaping with the kids in the car. And with the high roof, you can do all that without your back parallel to the floor. Adults will be happy in any of the seats.
- Cargo room. Even with three rows of seats, there’s a good amount of cargo room behind the third row. It’s accessed by two large barn doors (a huge lift gate is optional). If you want to make some extra money doing runs to the airport, you could do that with your Metris.
- Flexible. Both the second and third rows of seats are removable, allowing you to take seven people to a Sleepy LaBeef concert on Saturday night, and pick up the world’s largest Lego hot tub at a yard sale on Sunday. The seats are heavy, though, so bulk up.
- Good power. The 2.0 liter, turbo four-cylinder, direct-injection gasoline engine gives you a little over 200 hp, and it does everything you need to move this van around. The seven-speed automatic transmission works well and mostly unnoticed. We never noticed a lack of power in day to day driving (of course, we never loaded it up with seven fluffy people and luggage and tried to use an uphill highway ramp). EPA rates the Metris at 22 mpg combined, which is pretty darned good for a rolling box of this size.
- Maneuverable. The Metris is surprisingly easy to drive (with the right optional safety features). Handling is nimble, and the turning radius is shockingly city friendly. We also expected, intuitively, that the tall, boxy Metris would feel tippy. It didn’t. It feels like the weight is down low, and it corners pretty confidently.
- Inexpensive. Yes, a relatively inexpensive Mercedes. The Metris starts under $30,000 and our test subject rolled out the door at $35,415. For a little more, you can — and should — get the backup camera, power side mirrors, and blind-spot monitoring.
- Good front and side visibility. A huge front windshield and high seating position makes it easy to see what’s in front of you. Views to the side are generous, too. Looking back, not so much.
- Cupholders. The Metris has two awesome cupholders. They cantilever off the center console, and sit exactly where they’re most useful and easy to reach. When the Cuppies Awards come around in 2017, we plan to nominate the Metris.
Test Drive Notes Library
- Very utilitarian. While most of us think of Mercedes as a luxury car, this Metris is really a work van. It feels well made, but very basic. Interior has lots of hard, plastic surfaces, few extras, very basic seats, and a small, comps-serve-style, sometimes hard-to-read touchscreen. It’s got a spartan vibe.
- Basics are extra. It’s hard to find a vehicle these days that doesn’t come with a backup camera and power outside mirrors, but our test Metris came without either. They’re available in option packages, and you’d be well advised to get both. You can barely see out the back of the van, nor easily down the sides with the inadequately small side view mirrors. Blind-spot monitoring is practically a necessity, too. I suppose if you’re buying one of these just to shuttle people from your hotel to the airport, you might skip the extras. But if you’re actually planning to drive this van, get them.
- Some safety. Because the Metris is offering itself in passenger van configuration, we’ll set the safety bar at passenger level. So we credit Mercedes for offering blind spot, lane departure, and forward collision warning. Automatic emergency braking would complete the package for families, but alas, it’s not available on the Metris.
- Rattles. Minivans, because they are essentially large, rolling cavities, are known to develop body rattles and squeaks over time. Our relatively low-mileage Metris already had a few.
- Ride. While certainly comfortable enough, it’s not as luxurious as a high-end dedicated passenger minivan, like the Pacifica, Odyssey, or Sienna. Nor does it have the amenities, like rear entertainment screens, or built-in vacuums. But it can be had, in its more spartan outfittings, for $10,000 less.
- Step up. It’s high off the ground, and requires a step up on the running board to get in. Once you’re in, it’s as spacious as a hall where Gene Simmons is lecturing on manners.
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