When an image of the American #Vanlife movement springs to mind it usually includes one of these three campervans: a Ford Econoline, a Dodge Ram or a Mercedes Sprinter. But what the US market has been sorely lacking in are small pop-top campers. Mercedes Benz has spotted this gap in the market and is teaming up with Driverge and Peace Vans to bring a dose of European flavor to the States with their Metris Weekender camper van.
While it’s not quite the tech-savvy Marco Polo that’s had Germans and Brits alike drooling, it is a fresh outlook for the price-conscious family who may be looking for something a little more economical than their gas-guzzling RV. The Metris Weekender sees Mercedes Benz teaming up with upfitters Driverge Vehicle Innovations and van conversion company Peace Vans whose experience in converting Mercedes Metris vans inspired the collaboration.
“Pop-up campers are iconic and highly functional vehicles,” says Robert Veit, Mercedes-Benz USA Vans VP and managing director. “We have known for a long time that this market need was unmet as evidenced by the high demand for aging existing camper vans still on the road. With the help of our partners, Peace Vans and Driverge, we have utilized the Metris to create a product suited to those who seek adventure but also need a versatile and comfortable vehicle for their day-to-day lives.”
The Weekender sleeps four and seats five, and its versatile design is perfect for short adventures and weekends away. The folding rear bench seat can be adjusted to create more legroom or cargo space thanks to the handy floor rails it’s mounted on, and can be transformed into a cozy bed for two. The other two sleepers are housed in the pop-top roof which comes with a built-in 2” thick memory foam mattress, three windows for enjoying the view at camp and USB ports for charging gadgets or plugging in a light.
The two front seats swivel 180° and so does the table, creating an instant cozy lounge and dining area. The van comes with one leisure battery as standard, however off-grid power and integrated solar panels are some of the many optional features Mercedes offers. Another one of these is a rear pull-out kitchen, which campers craving their morning coffee might miss in the standard package.
Camping upgrades include an 8’ awning for shade and rain protection, mosquito screens for the rear hatch and sliding doors, a rear tailgate tent and roof racks for hauling surfboards or skis for the slopes. If you’re looking for a dash of added style then you can even have your Metris wrapped in 3M body wrap in one of over 200 available colors.
“From adventure seeking millennials to hip retirees, everyone is craving authentic and connected experiences to nature,” says Harley Sitner, President of Peace Vans. “Small camper vans, like this exciting new Metris Weekender from Mercedes, hits a very large sweet spot in the market. The demand we see for these products is exceptional and the feedback from renters and early adopters is fantastic. Being experts in pop up campers, we are confident Mercedes has a fantastic product that is going to delight an entire new generation of road trippers.”
We don’t know yet how much the Metris Weekenders will be rolling off the line for, but if Peace Vans’ Weekender package at $25,000 plus the price of a brand new Metris for $32,550 are anything to go by, we could be looking in the region of $57,550 for this camper. What we do know however is that Mercedes Benz will be shipping the first 100 Weekenders to customers along with a free National Parks Pass. If that’s not a good incentive to take one of these beauties on a road trip then we don’t know what is.
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