2017 Mercedes-Benz Metris Worker: First Drive

2016_M_B_Metris_DSC_1115 II

By Bruce W. Smith

Heating and air-conditioning technicians, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, cable installers, parts runners, delivery people and dozens of other workers in niche markets who need a van to handle their goods and services would do well to check out the new, function-over-form 2017 Mercedes-Benz Metris Worker van.

The price is reasonable. It's spacious, nimble and powerful. It can tow 5,000 pounds and haul half that amount in payload. In short, it's the perfect canvas for customization to fit just about any business need. And in case you're running your business out of your home or have to bring the work vehicle home, the Metris Worker Cargo (and Worker Passenger model) also fits in a typical two-car garage.

A little more than a foot longer than the Ford Transit Connect with a wheelbase nearly 22 inches shorter than the Chevrolet 1500 cargo van (which hasn't been available since 2014; Chevy now only sells the 2500 and 3500 models), the front-wheel-drive Metris Worker is basically the only midsize commercial van in the segment.

The model we recently test-drove near the M-B van assembly plant in Charleston, S.C., has 45 percent more cargo space than the Transit Connect and more than 2,000 pounds of additional towing capacity. With a base price less than $27,000 for the Metris Worker Cargo van, it's also priced competitively. All Metris Worker packages will include the Audio 10 radio head unit, Bluetooth capability, an auxiliary input jack, a USB port and a five-speaker radio system.

Under the Hood

One would think a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine wouldn't be a good fit for a work van. However, the 208-horsepower, turbocharged inline four-cylinder, backed with Mercedes' seven-speed G-Tronic automatic, moves out smartly in traffic and has no problems rolling down the highway. The front-wheel-drive van's shift points are also nicely spaced with little hint of turbo lag.

The engine and transmission are the same as that found in Mercedes' popular entry-level C-Class cars, yet tuning and cam changes bring peak torque lower in the rpm curve.

The EPA rates the fuel economy at 21/22/24 mpg city/highway/combined. That places the more powerful Metris 2 to 5 mpg behind its two-wheel-drive, four-cylinder Ford, Ram and Chevrolet competitors.

On the Road

Sitting behind the wheel of the base model, it feels and looks like the dash of a C-Class sedan. It even has paddle shifters, which will hold whatever gear you select.

The high-back bucket seats are pretty darn nice for a work van. They are supportive, have good padding in the posterior and side bolsters, and the cloth feels like it would stand up to years and miles of wear and tear.

We were surprised by how well-insulated the interior is from road noise despite the low-end tires. We were equally surprised by how the Metris soaked up the jolts and jounces of potholes, railroad tracks, expansion joints and other road irregularities. It's the type of van you can spend all day in and not be deaf or beat at the end of a long driving shift.

As for the cargo-hauling utility aspect, Mercedes has designed the Metris like its Sprinter big brother, with safety a top priority. The Metris features six airbags for both the Cargo and Passenger models. All Metris packages feature standard Attention Assist, Crosswind Assist, hill start assist and load-adaptive electronic stability control. Other safety features available include a rearview camera, blind spot warning and lane keeping assist.

The interior and exterior are ripe for custom modifications to fit work environments or needs. The roof can support more than 330 pounds, and Mercedes offers a ton of special options for interior and exterior customization through its MasterUpfitter program.

The van we drove had the Ranger Design clear polycarbonate Max View bulkhead behind the front seats, which created a separated see-through wall that provided airy spaciousness inside the cab. There were also two sets of Sortimo cargo shelves on the back walls waiting to be filled to make any small-business owner more efficient.

Pricing for the Metris Worker cargo van is $26,990 (standard Metris cargo van is $29,945), while the Metris Worker passenger van is $30,990 (standard Metris passenger van is $33,495). 

The Metris Worker Cargo van will offer Convenience ($1,999) and Utility ($3,999) packages, while the seven-passenger Metris Worker Passenger van will offer Convenience ($1,999), Appearance ($3,999) and Comfort ($5,999) packages. This value-packed midsize van and packages are on sale now.

Editor's note: This story was updated Aug. 10 to correct the van's model year.

Cars.com photos by Bruce W. Smith; manufacturer images

 

Metris_Standard_Garage IIThe 2017 Mercedes-Benz Metris Worker Cargo van feels more like driving a sedan than a van. The garage-friendly front-wheel-drive work van sports a 208-hp, turbocharged gas I-4 and seven-speed, paddle-shifting automatic.

 

Metris_Ranger_Bulkhead IIOne of many options through Mercedes-Benz outfitters is this Ranger Design bulkhead that protects passengers while giving the cab an airier feel.

 

Metris_2_0_Engine IIUnder the Metris hood is the 208-hp, 2.0-liter gas I-4. The EPA's combined rating is 22 mpg. Service intervals are every 15,000 miles, best in class.

 

Metris_Paddle_Shift IIThe Metris shares a lot of the entry-level Mercedes C-Class sedan dash and drivetrain parts, including the seven-speed automatic and paddle shifters.

 

Metris_Interior_DR_Side_DSC_1549 IIThe low step-in height and curbside sliding door gives easy access to the interior. A front-wheel-drive layout keeps floor heights low for easy load-in. The high-back cloth seats are comfortable in the Metris Worker Cargo model.

 

M_B_Upfitter_Sortimo_Metris II

A trio of ship-through outfitters allows M-B Metris Worker buyers to customize the van for many business needs. It has an impressive payload capacity of 2,500 pounds.

 

Comments

I would like to see a minivan version of this

So what is it, "the only mid size van in its class" or with mileage "two or three miles behind its competitors from Ford, Ram, and Chevrolet"?
To me it looks like the old Dodge mini van beefed up and restyled with Mercedes mechanical.

Unless they changed something for the worker version, the Metris is rear wheel drive - one of the main reasons I was considering it over a "normal" minivan.

Depending on the price point comparison with the Sprinter, it will be interesting to see how successful this van will be.

"The front-wheel-drive van's shift points are also nicely spaced with little hint of turbo lag."

It's a rear-wheel drive van.

Its a Mercedes, which means the big three cant come close to it.

The Mercedes Benz Metris is rear-wheel drive, not only the only midsize work van in the US market, but the only RWD van smaller than full size in the US market.

How long is the cargo area?

Will it rust as bad as the Sprinters do?

I'd like to see the pickup version of this.

The Metris is the market successor to the GM Astro/Safari twins... a true mid-size RWD van that can do work. I know people who hung onto Astros and Safaris until the paint was gone because there was no such van to replace them once GM discontinued the pair.

Given its a Benz, how long would a Chevy Astro van owner want to pay for repairs? No very long. Rust is the main concern. And they will keep needing repairs starting from about 80k miles or so.

I went back to Ford (Transit) because there's value knowing that there's a dealer and/or parts available everywhere.
I'd love to get into a Metris because of the size but won't deal with another over-the-road Mercedes again. They are expensive to maintain.

Fred is right, I'd rather settle with an unreliable, ugly Transit and deal with the recalls vs an expensive to repair Benz.

But neither one will come close to replacing the GM Astro/Safari twins...GM should bring those back!

Keep living in the past because that is all you have. The GM vans won't be coming back. GM was thinking about getting back into vans but GM got scared and hedged their bets. GM had Nissan badge engineer a Nissan NV for them. smh.

We have a bunch of the passenger models in the parking lot- both fancy ones and black bumper/steel wheel models. Really nice size vehicle.
The confusion about the FWD/RWD is from the Home market Vito Worker- which really is FWD- different engine and of course, transmission.
All US models are the same gasoline 4cyl Turbo/7speed/rwd- at least for now. If volume takes off- and it well might, then there could be AWD (available in Europe) and diesel options.

If you use an inflation calculator to adjust pricing from the last time the Astro was available, you find that the Metris costs the same and hauls more, while using less fuel. Winning!


Owning a small business can come with challenges, but it can also come with rewards. The 2016 Chevrolet City Express small cargo van offers a range of conveniences including 122.7 cu. ft.† of cargo space, an EPA-estimated 24 mpg city†, and a host of work-ready features that can turn the City Express into a mobile office. Whatever the task, City Express has the tools and maneuverability to check it off your to-do list.

http://www.chevrolet.com/city-express-small-van.html

Chevy City Express 24 mpg

Ford Transit Connect 20 mpg

Enough said.

None of Tranist Connects get 20 mpg.

Connect =25 mpg (combined)

http://www.ford.com/trucks/transitconnect/specifications/

City Express = 25 mpg (combined) which is actually a Nissan van.

GM should try coming up with their own vehicles instead of piggybacking off Nissan!

Would love to buy the pop top camper (Marco Polo Activity) version sold in Europe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MGrTatM_Tw

2014-16 Ford Transit Connect

Vehicles Affected: Approximately 40,000 model-year 2014-16 Ford Transit Connect vans sold or ever registered in states with higher ambient temperatures, including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Oregon and Washington. Only

The Problem: A side door component could break, preventing the doors from latching. If the door is able to be closed, it could become unlatched while driving, increasing the risk of injury. Ford has identified one accident and one injury that may be related to this issue, the automaker said in a statement.

Enough said!

I agree. The Chevy City Express is the way to go.

One big difference between the Metris and the Express is the cargo space, Metris has 105.4" in length while the Express has only 82.8" of cargo length! That means you can load full sheets in the Metris, they claim it will hold 60 sheets of Sheetrock!

The Metris is not front wheel drive.

The Metris is a rear wheel drive vehicle.

This error in the review diminishes the credibility of the review.

The Metris undoubtedly offers the comfort and best handling, for being a slightly inflated minivan.

It is expensive and small though. The 118" wheelbase Ram Promaster has a longer load floor, tighter turning radius, is overall shorter, and has a lot more room inside. Not sure on the full-size Transit. I haven't looked into it.

@Sierra,

How come Chevy is not in the game with the taller commercial vans?

The problem with the Metris is it is not a small van and it's not a full-size. A company who wants a small van will not buy it. A company who needs a full-size will not buy it. You need that special niche buyer.

Used as a Taxi shuttle in Europe. In Australia the Hyundai ILoad , with it's 2.2 Diesel does a very similar job.

Mercedes needs to offer an option of 4Matic with their 9 speed automatic.

Love the investment in the van and the modernization by Nissan, Fiat, Ford and Mercedes. Will GM get with the program? Who knows. But this field has been neglected for a long time and I know its at least paying off handsomely for Ford so far. Its good to see so many modern dynamic offerings focused on work, value and practicality.

There are a lot of these running around Toronto Canada already.

How come Chevy is not in the game with the taller commercial vans?

Posted by: Joe | Aug 10, 2016 6:40:38 PM

Will GM get with the program? Who knows. But this field has been neglected for a long time and I know its at least paying off handsomely for Ford so far.
Posted by: Clint | Aug 11, 2016 9:09:32 AM

Why spend money on a mostly fleet special market with no money to be made? Remember last quarter's profits? Ford 2.0 Billion GM 2.7 Billion.

Looks like a nice alternative van, with a decent payload and tow, better than the average 1/2 ton and mid size. Easier to drive, park and handle. Secure area in the back.

All moved around with a tiny 2 litre engine. Imagine the next F-150, powered by a 2 litre EcoBubble.

I'd like to have one as a little camper.

Unless you are 1.5 m (5'0"), for the person that has to do something inside during 10-20 min will be an absolute nightmare. The smaller Transit Connect maybe can be charged/discharged from the outside?

Would rather go with the Sprinter with diesel engine. It's not only that's bigger, the engine/tranny are more truck like and can easily go for +500.000 km. I think it holds like 15 l of oil.

When the Sprinter was badged Dodge, MB has cut some corners with the coatings, but I doubt they are going to let Mercedes Sprinters rust the same as it will tarnish the brand.

I was waiting and waiting for GM to resurrect the Astro which I had 5 of since "87, along came the Metris, I am NOT looking back. 9 MPG better, smoother, quiet over railroad tracks, very good seating position everything I want from a midsize van. All my equipment from Astro fit perfectly (1500lbs+) It's actually fun to go to work
with a Mercedes that costs little more than a Ford.

Metris awd coming 2019

To the USA



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