LOS ANGELES, Calif. — On Friday, Oct. 2, Mercedes-Benz held a press event to announce the release of its new mid-size passenger and cargo van, the Metris. During the event, attendees were allowed to test out the vehicle, and were guided on a route that took them through the hills of Calabasas, Calif., to see first-hand its drive-handling and its impressive self-parking feature.
The Metris has a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder that powers through a 7-speed transmission. Mercedes hopes that the Metris will fill the need for commercial users looking for something slightly smaller than the Mercedes Sprinter. The Metris Passenger van can carry up to eight people, and has a cargo volume of 38 cu. ft.
The Metris has a roomy cabin that can accomodate multiple seating configurations.
The vehicle drove smoothly during the ride, and handled the sharp corners easily. The cabin offers a good amount of room, making it easy for passengers to get in and out of the back, and behind the wheel, the driver is treated to an up-scale design similar to other Mercedes vehicles.
The vehicle has crosswind assist, attention assist, load-adaptive electronic stability control, and lane keeping assist, all of which combine to make for a very safe and efficient ride. A major talking-point for the vehicle is the lowered ceiling, which at 74.4-inches makes it easy to fit into any-size garage, unlike the taller, full-size Sprinters.
The MSRP starts at $32,500, and Mercedes hopes the vehicle will find use in chauffeured fleets for group shuttle work.
The Metris Passenger Van has 38 cu. ft. of cargo space.
The automatic-parking feature worked very well, with the vehicle needing only one slow pass by the open spot before its computers had surveyed the available space for precise parking. Once the auto-park function is activated, the car steers itself into a “hands-free” parallel parking maneuver, with the driver controlling the gas and break until the car is parked.