A few months of driving the Mercedes-Benz Metris: thoughts

I bought a 2016 Mercedes Benz Metris because it has a tight turning radius, it’s easier to parallel park than larger vans, it’s lower to the ground so it can fit in parking garages, but it’s got more power and acceleration than a Nissan NV200 or a Ford Transit. There are a few things that are very good that I wasn’t expecting and a few very bad things that have begun to hit me hard in the wallet.

The Good:

  • The Metris has a great feature that automatically turns off the engine every time you come to a stop. This has a great effect on blood pressure during rush hour in downtown traffic, knowing you’re not burning through precious fuel while stationary and also not contributing unnecessarily to global warming. Whether this causes the starter to burn out prematurely remains to be seen. I try to turn this feature off in stop and go traffic like on the I-5.
  • The Metris has a very nice voice recognition feature that allows you to activate directional assistance from the gps map thing. You can clearly enunciate an address and the Metris will find a route to that address that is somehow updated to avoid traffic. I am not sure what it is communicating with to get that information but it knows when streets are closed, etc.
  • The ride is smooth
  • The backup camera is on point. I can get within an inch of somebody’s bumper when backing up, allowing for more parking possibilities.
  • The spare battery is cool. I left my lights on in the back a few times but the batteries are compartmentalized so though the back battery drained my van started right up the next day because my main battery was not drained.

The Bad:

  • The tires are very weak. I drove an Astro van and an E150 for years before this and only popped a tire once during that time. In the time I have been driving the Metris I have averaged a popped tire once every two months. Also the sidewalls are weak. When parking, don’t you dare scrape the sidewalls on the curb. You have to drive the Metris like it is a Mercedes sedan or something. Cost me $300 to replace a tire today, and what they pulled out wasn’t even sharp like a nail or screw. The Benz guy told me that they use a softer tire to give a nicer ride. I’d rather have a rougher ride if it saves me $300 a year.
  • The gas tank has something wrong with it so at gas pumps the pump automatically shuts off for no discernible reason. You have to keep starting the pump over and over again.
  • The spare tire lowered itself for no reason. I had to figure out how to get the spare back up.
  • There is no subwoofer hookup on the factory stereo. If you want the navigation package you can’t use your own stereo. The sound is okay without the subwoofer but it would be great to put a subwoofer in there. I’m tempted to get an aftermarket gps unit just so I can put a subwoofer in there with my old bluetooth stereo.
  • My window doesn’t always roll down reliably. I have to push the button a few times to get it to work.
  • Apparently I cannot check my own transmission fluid. The Benz people use their own disposable dipsticks for this. The Metris is not a very DIY car, you better know what you are doing to work on this vehicle.

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Bjørn Madsen

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