As Sales Grow, Mercedes Adds Tech, Other Features to Metris Van

March 11, 2020 by Jerry Hirsch, @Jerryhirsch

Mercedes-Benz plans a significant refresh for the 2021 Metris van.

Known as the Vito in Europe, the mid-size van slots in below the German automaker’s Sprinter and is gaining sales in the U.S.

Mercedes sold 7,956 Metris vans in the U.S. last year. That was a 9.1 percent gain from the prior year. It came even as industry auto sales dipped 1.3 percent.

METRIS VERSUS RIVALS

The Metris is a unique offering in the U.S. It’s bigger than better-selling rivals such as Ford’s Transit Connect and Nissan’s NV 200 but smaller than the Sprinter, Ford’s Transit and other Euro-style vans.

Still, it is gaining a following with businesses that need more space than smaller rivals offer but don’t want a full-size cargo hauler.

The standard Metris is 202.4 inches long and has a maximum cargo volume of 183 cubic feet. It has a maximum payload of 2,425 lbs. The standard Ford Transit Connect, by comparison, is 174.2 inches long and has a maximum cargo volume of 123.2 cubic feet. It has a maximum payload of 1,510 lbs. Both vehicles come in extended versions, but the Metris is still larger.

There is a big difference in price. The Transit Connect starts at $24,275. The Metris starts at $27,180.

Mercedes puts more content into the Metris. In this refresh, the automaker is packing the van with one mechanical and multiple technical improvements.

NEW 2021 METRIS FEATURES

Mercedes is giving the 2021 Metris a 9-speed automatic transmission and forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking. It gets a digital mirror, where the rear image of the camera is shown on the rearview mirror. The mirror can be switched between normal function and digital function with camera imaging.

Other technology includes adaptive cruise control that allows the van to automatically match the pace of traffic. The van gets blind spot assist to alert the driver if there is an adjacent vehicle that would make a lane change hazardous.

Other upgrades include a new 7-inch touchscreen, improved rearview camera, a new grille, improved vent nozzles, new seats and new plastic floor covering.

The van already has crosswind assist. That detects strong wind gusts and automatically applies. It then applies braking pressure to the correct side of the vehicle to gently swing back on course. The system kicks in at speeds over 50 mph. It also has attention assist. That gives the driver alerts if the system detects typical signs of drowsiness or inattention, and urges the driver to take a break.

Mercedes builds the Metris at its factory in Vitoria, Spain. If volume continues to build, it could move U.S. market production to the company’s new Sprinter van factory in North Charleston, S.C.

The refreshed Metris goes on sale later this year.

Jerry Hirsch February 6, 2020
Mercedes-Benz is jumping into the camper business by using its Metris cargo van as a base. It unveiled the Weekender camper at the Chicago Auto Show on Thursday.

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