Over the last 10 years, largely due to SUVs going mainstream, minivan sales have been dwindling. However, there are signs that the
minivan may be making a comeback, with the Chrysler Pacifica leading the charge.
If you are deciding whether to buy a
minivan or an SUV, you might be tempted to look at other luxury brands to see what is available, and the Mercedes-Benz Metris van will likely appear in your search results.
It must be good right?
Mercedes-Benzis synonymous with luxury and is backed by that famous German engineering we hear so much about.
Wrong! According to YouTube car personality Doug DeMuro, the Metris is not only a bad choice, "It’s truly terrible. The worst minivan ever made!"
Why does Doug DeMuro hate the Mercedes-Benz Metris?
In preparation for his review, DeMuro rented a 2017 Mercedes-Benz Metris for two whole weeks. He explains that while the vehicle length, 8-person occupancy, and sticker price of $43,270 are all comparable to the excellent Honda Odyssey Touring, that’s where the similarities end.
DeMuro’s first complaint is with the rear passenger seats. The second-row bench seats don’t fold. This means, to enter or exit the third row, you have to tip the entire second-row bench forwards, which is awkward and too heavy for most kids (who often occupy the back row of a minivan). Additionally, the lever to tilt the seats is only accessible from the passenger side, an infuriating design flaw.
Similarly, the third-row seats do not fold flat to increase trunk space. They just tilt forwards on a hinge, which doesn’t help much, and they don’t even stay tilted forwards unless you jam something behind them!
Incredibly, the Metris only offers 38 cubic feet of cargo space, which is the same as a Honda CRV. You can remove the backbench seats if you get out your tool kit and are strong enough to lift it, but it’s very inconvenient. In DeMuro’s own exasperated words, "What even is this?"
Outdated features and cheap material
Another of DeMuro’s gripes is the lack of modern features. The sliding doors are manual, the front seats are manual, and opening and closing the tailgate is also manual. There are no power functions anywhere on the car. The rear windows aren’t manual, but that's only because they don't open at all.
While this might be acceptable for a cheap ride, DeMuro reminds us that the sticker price is almost $43,000, and describes the Metris as "comically inept" when compared to other minivans like the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.
His criticisms don’t end there though. DeMuro explains that there is no rear entertainment system ("it doesn’t even have a rear dome light!"), and the front display is tiny, with no touchscreen (a technology available on vehicles that are half the price). The system also has an embarrassing typo, showing "Ready for Bluetooth telephony" when you try to pair your phone.
DeMuro rounds off his review of the car’s features by pointing out several more design flaws: The car has a European size license plate holder, which looks weird alongside a smaller U.S. plate, the front grill is made of "wildly cheap plastic," and the fuel tank door is located right next to the driver’s door, so it's a tight squeeze to climb out when you pull up next to the pump.
The final detail that annoys DeMuro, is that Mercedes has removed the chrome trim and panic button found on keys for its other models. They have included a button to open the power sliding doors, but as mentioned earlier, the base model doesn’t have power sliding doors!
What’s the Metris like to drive?
You might expect the one saving grace for the Metris is its performance on the road, after all, it's a Mercedes. Unfortunately, DeMuro savages it here too.
First up, he criticizes the cheap halogen headlights and the fact you can’t see anything through the rear window unless you remove all of the passenger headrests. If you try to use the camera when reversing, you’ll find it points to the ground, so you can’t see your surroundings, and there are no parking sensors to help either.
The base model Metris, despite its exorbitant sticker price, has no lane keep assist, no adaptive cruise control, and no forward collision braking or warnings.
The rear seats shake and rattle around while driving, which prompts DeMuro to say, "You think they would have tested the vehicle before selling it."
While the ride quality is otherwise good, the acceleration is "just terrible," especially when compared to other luxury minivans. The reason for this is under the hood. The Metris comes with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and 208 hp, significantly less powerful than the 280 hp offered by rivals.
And despite having a less powerful engine and significantly slower acceleration, the Mercedes-Benz Metris has the same fuel economy as the Honda Odyssey. You get all of the drawbacks of having a smaller engine, with none of the benefits.
DeMuro ends his review by calculating the car’s "Doug score," which is a shockingly bad 31/100. This makes the Mercedes-Benz Metris the second-worst vehicle he has ever reviewed, tied with the Mitsubishi Mirage (which costs a fraction of the price), and only ahead of the
BMW Isetta, which was decommissioned over 60 years ago!
Defending the Mercedes-Benz Metris
Mercedes fans will still defend the Metris, claiming it was designed for commercial use as a shuttle van, and not for regular use by families.
However, this doesn’t sway DeMuro, who notes it is the "same size as a Sienna/Odyssey, with the same price as a Sienna/Odyssey, and the same scope as a Sienna/Odyssey."
He states, "I honestly believe the only reason this vehicle exists is so limo operators can buy it and advertise that they’ll pick you up from the airport in a Mercedes-Benz. But honestly, I would rather be picked up in a Honda Odyssey, or in a 14-year-old Acura Legend with mismatched tires."
So there you have it. The minivan may be making a comeback, just don’t pay $43,000 for a Mercedes-Benz Metris. If you are looking to buy a minivan, make sure you have the right coverage. Start by finding affordable insurance by comparing quotes from different reputable providers with
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