Mercedes-Benz is jumping into the camper business by using its Metris cargo van as a base.
The company introduced The Weekender, a Mercedes-Benz pop up camper, at the Chicago Auto Show on Thursday.
“We have known for a long time that this market need was unmet as evidenced by the high demand for aging existing camper vans still on the road,” said Robert Veit, managing director, Mercedes-Benz USA Vans.
The campers, which can be ordered through Mercedes dealers this spring, are built by a partnership between the automaker, Driverge Vehicle Innovations and Peace Vans, a large classic camper van repair and restoration shop based in Seattle, Wash.
The Weekender’s standard features include an elevating roof with a sleeping area for two, a multipurpose rear bench seat that opens up into a bed for two, swiveling front seats that rotate 180 degrees and a second battery to power devices.
The pop-top works with a spring mechanism. It has a 2-inch memory foam mattress, three windows, and added USB ports for lights and charging.
The multipurpose rear bench seat opens up into a bed for two. Additionally, when folded into the seat configuration, the seat moves along a rail position into four locations, allowing additional room for varying cargo needs. Also inside are swiveling front seats that rotate 180 degrees to turn the cabin into a lounge.
Optional features include off-grid power from integrated solar panels and upgraded audio and navigation systems.
Rival German automaker Volkswagen popularized the use of small vans as pop-top campers in the U.S. with its Westfalia model in the 1960s and 70s. More recent models from the 1990s sell for as much as $30,000.
Like other Eurovans, Mercedes said its Metris pop top will be as suitable for daily driving as well as for cross country vacations. Its smaller footprint than the automaker’s larger Sprinter van makes the Metris an easier fit in parking lots and garages.
Mercedes hasn’t released price information but expects the camper van to retail for around $70,000. 2020 model year Metris passenger vans sell for about $36,000 but can easily climb above $40,000 with options.