Mercedes-Benz is taking Metris to the tool shed. It’s not so much beating up its cargo minivan so much as fixing it up … with tools and other stuff … to make it more useful for certain trades.
The company last summer introduced a successful “MasterSolutions” program and at the Chicago Auto Show, it showed off a concept van to showcase the unique upfitting program — the Mercedes-Benz Metris MasterSolutions Toolbox Van, converted by RennTECH.
First of all, it kind of looks like a large toolbox, complete with massive handle on top, which theoretically could be used for further advertising. And just like any toolbox, it opens up to unveil a thoroughly stocked interior to complete any job. The upper bodysides (where a passenger van’s windows would be) swing up (almost gullwing, like, you might say) in a manner similar to traditional food trucks.
The bottom part holds compartments for small items such as solvents and shop supplies, and there’s even a wooden workbench surface. Behind it is a wide variety of Ranger Design and Sortimo by Knapheide shelves, racks and removable cases. They sit on a grated tile floor that provides sure footing for mucky or wet work boots, while also being easily removed for sweeping the workspace out.
A clear, plastic partition from Ranger Design separates driver and cargo for safe motoring.
The MasterSolutions program is a factory fitment available on all Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner vans. With suppliers Autotruck Group, Knapheide Manufacturing and SmartLiner on board, any van can be custom fitted to suit just about every vocation, including refrigeration. And they can also be converted for passenger-shuttling.
The rear-wheel drive Metris is already a fairly competent cargo van, with a payload rating of 1,134 kg (2,500 lbs.) and a tow rating of 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs), from its 208-hp 2.0-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that also generates 258 lb-ft of torque. It uses the Mercedes 7G-Tronic 7-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.
To easily accommodate personalization, the Metris Worker cargo van is available only in white, and features steel wheels (done up in bright blue and silver for the Toolbox concept), 180 degree opening rear doors to make it easy to back up close to loading docks, and unfinished steel floor (although it can be optioned up to a wood floor or any other material from MasterUpfitters).
And although the interior is Spartan, the equipment list is not barren, featuring standard Bluetooth connectivity, USB port, audio system with five speakers, six airbags, and safety features such as crosswind assist, hill-start assist and load-sensing stability control. A rearview camera, heated outside mirrors and blind-spot assist are also available.