Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Metris is the only van in its class in the U.S. to feature rear-wheel drive. That means you can do both the school drop-off line and the drift line in it. What might you pay for such amazing versatility?
There’s this old grindhouse movie from the 1960s that was billed as “the first monster musical.” It carried the ludicrous but self-aware title The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies.
Yeah, you haven’t been locked up in the house long enough to stoop to watching that as entertainment. I only bring it up because that title seems particularly apropos in describing yesterday’s candidate car—the incredibly strange BMW that stopped being an M-Roadster and became a mixed-up AMC Hornet. See? It totally works.
Unfortunately for the car’s seller, that mad monster party (yes, that’s another cheesy movie) of a car didn’t garner many rave reviews. Its $14,500 price tag faired even more poorly, earning the car a 68 percent Crack Pipe loss for its trouble.
Hey, let’s switch it up today and go from perplexing to purposeful. From vandalized to… well, just van.
When it comes to vans in the U.S., I’d aver that the Mercedes Metris is the coolest minivan around. And yes, I know that’s like saying “the sexiest wart” but stay with me here.
Here are a few factors that set the mini-Mercedes people mover apart from the competition:
It’s rear-wheel drive. Most minivans sport a conventional for the era transverse/FWD layout. Not the little Mercedes, it manages to fit a driveshaft and independent rear suspension under its load floor.
That means it handles like no minivan you’ve ever driven. That RWD layout provides a driving experience unique to the class—have you ever drifted a van before?
It’s also quicker than you might expect. The turbocharged 2-litre four housed in the short nose offers 208 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Those may not seem all that impressive, but that torque starts happening at around 1,250 rpm meaning it’s reasonably quick off the line and can get to freeway speeds before you’ve told the kids to “knock it off or I’m turning this van around and taking you home!”
Speaking of turning, with RWD, the Metris has a laudable 38-foot turning radius, which is pretty tight. Transmission duties are handled here by a seven-speed automatic with adaptive shift modes because why the hell not?
Okay, so we’ve determined that we all want a Metris, now we just have to figure out where to find one. Well, you don’t want to buy a new one since they are pretty expensive once you add-on all the various accouterments required for consumer car duty. That leaves the used market and seeing as the model has been on sale here in the U.S. for about four years now, a few passenger versions are starting to show up.
This 2016 Metris passenger van is one of those. It comes in dull as dishwater but still extra expense Mountain Chrystal White Metallic paint over a black leatherette interior. That interior seats eight, featuring two-rows of three-seats in the back, and comes with a slew of comfort and convenience options to make the van a solid drive-time partner. The ad lists out the van’s options which include everything from a “Driver Comfort Package” to a “Cold Weather Package.” There are electrically operated sliders on both sides and a 5,000-pound tow hitch in the booty. All that added up to an original MSRP of nearly $45k. Shee-it!
Here we are four model years later and this van has a mere 29,575 miles under its belt. Not only that but it still looks pretty much as it did when it was back asking that ridiculous amount. The paint seems without issue and covers a body with no obvious flaws. The interior presents as clean and complete, and while the materials used in the Metris will never be confused with those of, say, and S-class, it’s still perfectly serviceable. And, it’s likely going to be much easier to wipe down after the kids have gotten carsick in it from all that drifting.
The title is clear and the van carries an Illinois registration. The dealer asking price is $23,926 which is an oddly specific number. It is also notably almost half the original MSRP. And it comes with new tires installed on its handsome alloy wheels as well.
What’s your take on this Metris and that money? Does that seem like a fair deal to get into the Mercedes of minivans? Or, is that still too much despite all that this little people mover has going for it?
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