Putting the 2018 Mercedes-Benz Metris to work in our long-term test fleet
Because there's no better video production vehicle than a cargo van.
Steven EwingFormer managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
Meet the unsung hero of Roadshow's long-term fleet.
See, we make a lot of videos, and that means schlepping equipment and producers all over the country. Plus, we often need to get moving, car-to-car shots, which means we need something tall-ish, with flat surfaces on which to mount cameras. That's why we're using a 2018
Metris as our video production vehicle in San Francisco for a full year. We've even inexplicably lovingly named it, uh, Wu-Tang Van.
Mercedes will sell you a Metris in passenger van spec, but with hauling as our primary goal, we've opted for the cargo van. That means 186 cubic feet of space behind the front seats and a 2,500-pound payload rating. Plus, lots of helpful floor rails so we can strap down and secure all of our gear.
Watch this: 2018 Mercedes-Benz Metris: Welcoming our latest production vehicle
You can get the
Metris cargo van
with a traditional hatchback, but our van has a pair of doors that open to the side. We like the versatility of these side-hinged doors, especially with their 270-degree opening capability, but might prefer the hatch to get a little shade on sunny days, or have a covered awning when we're shooting video in the rain.
The Metris is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 engine, with 208 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque and a seven-speed automatic transmission. It's decently peppy and super easy to drive, but because this thing doesn't have any side or rear windows, we're relying pretty heavily on our van's blind-spot assist and rear-view camera tech.
In fact, our van has the full $2,340 Active Safety Plus package, which gets us active parking assist, collision prevention assist, blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, heated mirrors and a first aid kit. We've also added the $750 Cold Weather package for its heated windshield washer system and heated leatherette seats. Add in the $1,175 Premium Appearance package (body-color bumpers, 17-inch alloy wheels, roof rails) and a few other goodies, and our 2018 Metris cargo van is fully loaded at $38,417, including $995 for destination.
So far, we love the Metris. Not only is it stellar for hauling our goods and assisting with tricky video shoots, its easy-to-drive dynamics and compact size make it enjoyable while commuting, especially near Roadshow HQ in downtown San Francisco. Beyond its weekly use as our video production rig, the Metris is also great to have around for all our hauling needs.
We've got a full year of production work planned for the Wu-Tang Van, and we'll have a number of videos and updates to share during our test. In the meantime, we've got a full docket of other cars to shoot, which means it's time for our Metris to get back to work.