By Steve & Tami Laser
So there we were minding our own business when we saw an unusual van stopped at a traffic light. Quicker than you can say, “Honey, give me your phone!” the light turned green and we were able to quickly take several photos before it drove out of sight.
What we bagged was a prototype of the upcoming Mercedes-Benz Metris van. And yes, it’s coming to America. Mercedes-Benz announced the new mid-size van, which is called Vito in Europe, will indeed go on sale in the U.S. in fall 2015.
The van made its U.S. debut in October at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas. However, the quartet of vans on display were prototypes prepared by upfitters with the themes of “Party/DJ Van,” “Luxury Van,” “Fire Chief Concept” and “Mobile Golf Pro Shop.”
The van that we saw today was a plain window van, likely a passenger version, sporting only a touch of camouflage along with a Michigan Manufacturer license plate. Upon closer examination, the rear styling matches the Vito’s, so we know this is the genuine article. The Vegas concepts sported different taillights and a tailgate with larger rear glass apparently transplanted from the more upscale Mercedes-Benz V-Class that won’t be coming stateside.
While Mercedes-Benz has not announced specs for Metris, the van that passed us by had an exhaust note similar to Sprinter’s so we believe that it will be powered by a turbo-diesel engine driving the rear wheels. As a commercial van, styling for Metris could best be described as understated.
Styling is not a primary buying motivation for fleet customers who are snapping up the larger M-B Sprinter, and smaller Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV 200 and soon the Ram ProMaster City. Cargo (or passenger) capacity, payload, and durability remain top purchase considerations for CV buyers.
Story and photos ©2014 CarNichiWa.com