Theis a van near and dear to the hearts of the Roadshow staff since we used one -- codenamed Wu-Tang Van -- as a production vehicle for our video crew. During that year, we found it to be an eminently practical and rugged little van, and as such, we're always excited to hear about any developments to the platform. But in Europe, the Metris isn't called the Metris, it's called the Vito, and Mercedes just dropped the specs for the 2021 model year.
While the Vito doesn't always compare exactly to the Metris on options and specs, it's a damn good measuring stick to see what we can look forward to in the Sprinter's kid brother.
Let's take a look at the 2021 Mercedes-Benz Vito and its electric cousin, the eVito. To start, the internal-combustion Vito gets an updated version of Mercedes' OM-series diesel that produces 236 horsepower in its most potent trim, though there is a range of tunes that go from 101 hp on up. Max torque is 369 pound-feet with an additional 20 on tap during overboost.
The diesel engine is paired with Mercedes' nine-speed automatic transmission, driving the rear wheels as standard or all four wheels optionally. If you go with the most basic version, that is simplified even further to front-wheel drive paired with an older-generation diesel and a six-speed manual.
The eVito has an electric motor producing 204 peak hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. The electric motor is paired with a 100-kilowatt-hour battery, of which 90 are useable, offering a cruising range of 262 miles on the New European Driving Cycle, which like the WLTP cycle is much more optimistic than our own EPA estimates. The eVito supports 110-kW DC fast charging that promises to hit an 80% charge in around 45 minutes.
Mercedes offers the Vito in three different lengths and two wheelbases, which should mean that there's a Vito for just about every purpose. The Vito also prides itself on being a relatively short vehicle, even in all-wheel drive trim. Mercedes claims a height of seven feet, meaning that the van will fear no parking garage.
From a comfort and handling standpoint, the Vito is getting one of its most significant upgrades ever with the availability of optional Mercedes air suspension. Airmatic is especially cool in this application because it will automatically adjust to suit different loads in the vehicle, and you can alter its feel for different driving scenarios. Unfortunately, if you want air suspension in the eVito, you're out of luck -- Mercedes is offering it only in the passenger versions of the van with the newer OM 654 diesel.
The folks in Stuttgart are also turning up the tech in the Vito, which will now have automatic emergency braking and Mercedes' advanced adaptive cruise control. Mercedes hasn't made it explicitly clear that the latter is a standard feature, however. The Vito also offers cool safety tech like Crosswind Assist for the panel van variants and a driver attention warning system.
Mercedes is also offering a bunch of fleet management features for commercial customers, including built-in speed governors, vehicle tracking, electronic logbooks and more. It's even offering a digital driving style analysis tool, so if your fleet of plumbers is out there driving like hooligans on company time, you'll know.
Of course, this being a refresh, there's also a different grille, some new wheel options (up to 19 inches!) and some interior updates like new air vents and a different fabric used on the seats.
How much of this translates to the Metris that we'll get? That's hard to say. It seems unlikely that we'll get the diesels -- expect four-cylinder gasoline power instead -- and it could be possible that we'd see an electric work van, but we've already seen Mercedes' EQV electric passenger van, and that's likely to remain forbidden fruit.