Hashtag vanlife has blown up in the last couple of years. In that same amount of time, Volkswagen’s let Jalopnik road-test its T6 California minivan-sized camper. I still get emails from readers asking if they can buy one. If you’re in America, the answer has been “no.” Until now. Now, the answer is: “Buy this Mercedes.”
The Mercedes-Benz Weekender is a modestly-proportioned camper van based on the Metris and unequivocally the coolest debut to come out of the 2020 Chicago Auto Show.
Look at it. LOOK AT IT!
The vehicle’s origin story, per Benz’s press release:
The new camper vans are built by Driverge Vehicle Innovations, who are part of the MASTERSOLUTIONS program, in partnership with Peace Vans, one of the largest classic camper van repair and restoration shops in the United States.
I’m not really sure what to do with that information, but it seemed worthy of inclusion. Anyway, the interesting stuff is what’s inside this thing. Also straight from the release:
- An elevating roof with a sleeping area for two. Including an integrated spring system, two-inch memory foam mattress, three windows, and added USB ports for lights, charging and more.
- A multipurpose rear bench seat that opens up into a bed for two. Additionally, when folded into the seat configuration, the seat moves along a rail position into four locations, allowing additional room for varying cargo needs.
- Swiveling front seats that rotate 180 degrees allow your van to quickly turn into the perfect multipurpose lounge. Whether doing work after getting off the trail, sharing a meal or playing cards– the reconfigured space with seats fully swiveled adds a whole new dimension to the experience.
- Standard on every Weekender package is a second battery to power your devices, light up your nights or suit any of your other campsite needs.
- 5,000-pound towing capacity.
Optional features include:
- Off-Grid Power and Integrated Solar Panels, preparing you for extended trips with built-in solar charging capacity.
- Upgraded audio and navigation features to improve your road trip experience.
- Various personalization options with the world-class 3M auto body wrap materials. The Weekender can be wrapped in any one of 200 available colors.
- Camping upgrades:
- 8-foot awning for shade and rain protectionMosquito/bug screens for the rear hatch, and sliding doorsA tent that quickly attaches to the rear lift gate for added space and privacy
- Roof Racks for hauling surfboards, extra storage or skis for the slopes.
- A pullout rear kitchen.
The Weekender is a lot smaller than a Sprinter, which will make it much easier to drive and less expensive albeit less spacious to luxuriate in inside. I’m 100 percent here for it, and I hope this gets more people out into the great outdoors.
It doesn’t look like a price has been announced, but the nicer Metris passenger vans list for about $35,000 right now. Mercedes’ release sent me to www.mbvans/weekender for ordering details but that address redirects to the Sprinter site at the time of this writing. Apparently the camper will be available at Mercedes-Benz Vans dealers around the U.S. starting spring 2020, though. I wouldn’t expect you’ll be able to get one for less than $50,000, but if the build quality is solid and the space is well-utilized it might not be a bad buy!