Indianapolis, Indiana – Don’t call it a minivan.
OK, so it’s the same size as a minivan, it seats eight like a minivan, it’s based on a European minivan platform, a its producer plans to offer it both as a work vehicle and a consumer option – much like Dodge does with the Caravan.
But Mercedes officials insist that the Metris is a medium-sized van, not a minivan.
Unveiled at the NTEA Work Truck Show, the Metris is a North American version of the vehicle that Mercedes-Benz sells in Europe as the Vito (and yes, officials at the automaker said it’s avoiding that name here to be sensitive to the Corleone family).
Mathias Geisen, product manager for the Metris, says the new van is bigger than compact commercial options such as Ford’s Transit Connect or Ram’s Promaster City. And it’s smaller than full-sized vans such as Mercedes’ Sprinter line or Chevrolet’s Express.
”Our intention is not to build a minivan. The Metris is entirely focused on the commercial segment,” Geisen says. Yet Mercedes does plan to offer a consumer version, and it also plans to offer the vehicle to car services and taxi companies – much like Toyota and Chrysler do with their… minivans.
Geisen says unlike the Ram CV, the commercial version of the Dodge Caravan, the Metris has a commercial chassis, so it will boast a higher weight rating, despite featuring only a 2L, four-cylinder engine. The Ram features a V-6.
The van should be on sale before the end of the year with a $28,950 starting price, making it Mercedes’ least-expensive offering in the U.S., nearly $3,000 less expensive that CLA-Class small cars and GLA-Class crossovers.