If you’ve ever wanted a contemporary version of the 1970s hippie van your time ran out a few years ago. Ford’s Transit Vanwagon and the regular wheelbase of Chevy’s Express van are as close as you can get, which isn’t very much. They’re not like those tall Euro-Sprinter vans that are now sold in the states. But they’re too long or too boxy, without the style of those 1970s and 1980s GM, Ford, and Dodge vans. But a Mercedes Metris with a mattress should bring back memories of hippie hijinks.
Mercedes-Bens produces a close-enough hippie van for the 2020s. It’s called the Metris Cargo Van. It’s similar to those hugely tall Sprinters but with a top that is reminiscent of those vans of yore. And, they’re not lifted for giant truck tires and wheels, either.
The city-friendly Mercedes Metris can fit in tight spots and can accommodate hijinks
Granted, these types of vans are largely for tradespeople that need an enclosed cube for their business-whatever that might be. But there is now more variety with small, medium, and large vans to fit almost every need. And there’s also this more city-friendly Metris.
The Mercedes Sprinter van clearly is a popular choice. For business purposes, people love the way it handles, even when full, and the maxed-out space inside. But if you’re wanting something a little more subdued or especially if you’re looking for the looks and proportions of older vans then this might fit your needs.
The Metris with a short wheelbase reminds us of the hippie van look
They’re still a bit long, especially when compared to the van-craze choice of a short wheelbase model from the day. Maybe it’s the way the body sculpting breaks up the sides, or how the side-section tapers in as it goes up. Whatever it is it looks shorter.
It’s why the GM Express and Savana vans turn us off. They’re long like a sausage, even with the regular-wheelbase model. If you need the length then you’re in luck. But the Metris short wheelbase hits the nail close to the head for that cruisin’ van vibe. It stretches out to 202-inches overall with a 126-inch wheelbase. The extended versions are 211-inches and 135-inches respectively.
The Mercedes Metris won’t have that V8 power but a gas engine with a turbo ain’t too bad
You can only get the 2.0-liter four-cylinder for power. But it is a gas engine with direct injection aided by a turbo. And, it’s rear-wheel-drive. So there is still a semblance of how vannin’ was in the past. With 208 hp and a seven-speed automatic, it should give plenty of good response even if it’s not a V8.
There are even wheel-mounted paddles if you feel like doing your own shifting, but quickness was never part of the hippie van’s criteria. The cargo area is stripped of even a minute amount of insulation. But if you’re going for paneling or carpeting the walls you can shove some insulation into the access panels for some extra quiet.
We don’t know if there are too many looking for a modern van with 1970s looks, but a Metris with a mattress should bring back some pleasant, familiar memories.