Faced with the daunting prospect of building a van that wasn't quite as large as a full-size van, like the Ram Promaster or the Chevy Express, but not quite as small as a mini-minivan, like the Nissan NV200 or Ford Transit Connect, Mercedes has come up with a brilliant solution. It is the Mercedes-Benz Metris, and it is a minivan.

Mercedes isn't necessarily using the word "minivan," but it is a van that is smaller than a full-size van and larger than a city van, and it has sliding doors and three rows of seats. So it is what it is. But weirder still, this Mercedes minivan isn't the sort of minivan that you might be expecting from the storied maker of super-luxury barges like the Pullman.

In short, this ain't no R-Class.

It's more of a stripped-down, utilitarian workhorse than anything else. Here in North America, Mercedes used to be all about overbuilt metal and sumptuous leather, but that's been changing over the past decade or so. That came about back when Mercedes-Benz was a part of DaimlerChrysler, and Dodge needed a new van. Rather than build a whole new van from scratch, Mercedes just handed their then-corporate brethren at Dodge the Transporter van, changed the name and the Dodge Sprinter was born.

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But when Mercedes and Chrysler broke up in the wake of the Carpocalypse, Mercedes just kept on selling the Sprinter, but under its own brand this time. And it's been doing alright, without taking away from the halo that surrounds cars like the Pullman, so Mercedes has now decided to take that whole thing a step further.

Which brings us to the Metris, the new Merc Minivan. And all of the dirty slush that surrounds it, I suppose.

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What you're looking at above is actually the most minivan of all the Merc minivan versions, as it seats more than two people. The interior won't exactly win accolades, but for something that'll likely just end up bringing you to the airport it isn't hideous:

The back seats, too, should allow for six people to sit.

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But what you van fans are really looking for isn't some taxi. You're looking for a real van. And the Metris definitely comes in real van form, completely with panels where windows should be and a black car-bra on the front already:

Awwwwww yeah. Now that's a VAN.

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Pricing for the cargo van starts at $28,950, and the passenger van starts at $32,500, and that may sound expensive. But it really isn't, when you get stuff like driver attention monitoring, crosswind assist, lane keeping assist, parking sensors, blindspot assistance, and a whole bunch of other goodies standard.

So really, you shouldn't be waiting for anything at this point. Go buy one, and start spraying lasers and space adventures all over the sides right now.


Contact the author at ballaban@jalopnik.com.
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