The Mercedes-Benz Metris is this automaker’s offering for commercial vehicle buyers who like the Sprinter van, but desire something a bit smaller. They get it in the Metris mid-size van, a model first introduced to the U.S. in the 2016 model year that’s somewhat larger than compact competitors on the market. Because it’s smaller than the Sprinter, it’s more maneuverable in an urban setting with a reasonable 38.7 foot turning diameter. Notably, the Metris van offers a height that allows it to be parked in a standard garage. For commercial interests like hotels and transport companies needing a people mover, Metris also comes in a passenger version with seating for up to eight.
Mercedes-Benz is associated with luxury sedans, premium SUVs, and upscale sports cars in the U.S, but the Metris – like the Sprinter – charts its own course. This van is devoid of the luxury appointments expected in the automaker’s consumer products, instead keeping things simple with fewer frills and a much greater focus on the features most desired by tradesmen, businesses, and fleets.
To this end, Metris is fitted with sliding doors on both sides and wide-opening rear doors. Power sliding side doors are an option. It has a cargo capacity of 2500 pounds and can tow 5,000 pounds. A standard pallet fits between the wheel wells. The roof can support over 330 pounds. Plus, configuring a Metris for specific commercial uses is made easier with the Mercedes-Benz MasterUpfitter program that offers many options for interior and exterior customization. Fleet operators will appreciate the 15,000-mile service interval.
Metris is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engine that’s EPA rated at 20-21 mpg in the city and 23-24 mpg on the highway. It connects to a seven-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters, an unusual feature on a commercial van. New for 2019 is standard stop/start operation to enhance efficiency and an optional rear liftgate.
Crosswind Assist, Attention Assist, Hill Assist Start, and a load-adaptive Electronic Stability Program are standard on both van and wagon. Entry-level versions also include an Audio 10 radio head unit with Bluetooth capability and five speakers. Optional convenience and safety features include Active Parking Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Collision Prevention Assist, and Blind Spot Assist, plus parking sensors and a rear view camera.
Businesses requiring a delivery or work van that can fit a diversity of needs will see this Mercedes-Benz product an affordable option, a surprise to some since it has a Mercedes-Benz emblem on the front grille. And it became even more accessible with the more basic and lower cost Worker version added to the mix, which reduced the model’s initial launch price by $3,000 to bring the cost of entry to $25,995.
Ford's Transit Connect, named Green Car Journal's 2019 Commercial Green Car of the Year™ at the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show, is available in both cargo van and wagon variations. This popular commercial vehicle emerges as an all-new generation in 2019, with changes in its overall appearance at both ends and inside, through changes were minor. It continues to be offered in both short and long wheelbase versions. The larger van has more cargo volume and an increased payload capability of an additional 60 pounds over the smaller van's 1510 pounds. There are rear-door options - liftgate and panel truck style – as well as dual side doors. It’s available in XL and XLT trim.
Three engine choices are available, two of them new. One new offering is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, direct-injected flex-fuel (gasoline/E85 ethanol) engine producing 160 horsepower and 144 lb-ft torque, featuring 24 city/27 highway mpg. Also new is a 1.5-liter EcoBlue four-cylinder turbodiesel slated to arrive later in the model year. Auto stop/start is standard on both new engines. Six-speed automatic and new eight-speed automatic transmissions are offered. The Transit Connect’s carryover 2.5-liter Duratec four-cylinder engine features 169 horsepower and 171 lb-ft torque, delivering 20 city/27 highway mpg fuel economy. Fleet buyers can get the 2.5-liter engine prepped for propane or compressed natural gas conversions. The family of EcoBlue engines was developed by Ford engineering teams in the U.K. and Germany to replace the current Duratorq diesel engines. They offer improved fuel economy as well as reduced CO2 and NOX emissions.
Since connectivity is important, especially for fleet managers who use it to enhance productivity, the Transit Connect has a standard 4G LTE modem capable of connecting 10 devices to the internet. A charger for wireless devices and two USB ports are also standard.
This compact van’s list of standard driver-assist features includes pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection, rear view camera, and automatic emergency braking with forward collision warning. Available systems include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, driver impairment monitor, and lane-keeping aid with lane departure warning. Standard Ford MyKey technologies allow fleet managers to preset warnings, set speed limits, and restrict audio volume. Also standard is a rear view camera, curve control, torque vectoring control, trailer sway control, and side-wind mitigation.
Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its all-new Sprinter van, the third-generation of this highly successful commercial vehicle that first came on the scene in 2006. Beyond the model’s updated styling are its many features that mark the Sprinter’s entry into an increasingly connected and environmentally-focused world. The new Sprinter is available for order now in the European market and will be launched there in June, with a gradual introduction into other markets to follow.
Perhaps the most interesting bit of news about the new Sprinter is the coming introduction of an electric variant next year, part of Mercedes-Benz’ efforts to introduce electrification in its commercial fleet. The eSprinter will follow in the footsteps of the eVito van that has been available for order since late last year. Deliveries of the eVito are set to begin during the second half of 2018. The eVito will be followed by the eSprinter in 2019. According to Mercedes, its electric commercial vans will offer operating costs similar to comparable diesel-powered models. Electric eSprinter and eVito models are primarily designed for commercial use in city centers.
An array of important optional driver assistance and safety systems are now available in new Sprinter vans that were only previous offered in Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles. Among these are the automaker’s Active Brake Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, Attention Assist, and the radar-based DISTRONIC distance control system, When Blind Spot Assist is ordered with the Sprinter’s automatic parking package, traffic and pedestrians crossing behind the van are recognized and autonomous braking will initiate if needed.
"Our new Sprinter is the first van of a new type – a fully connected integral system solution,” shares Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. “We have made it even better with regard to its traditional strengths and have supplemented it with intelligent products and services. So, we are unlocking a new dimension in terms of efficiency, flexibility, connectivity, and profitability for our customers.”