Vision of Mercedes is to help Americans explore a slightly smaller version of van life than we're used to these days. Definitely, aftermarket Mercedes Sprinter Van conversions are readily available, Mercedes introduced its first modern pop-up camper designed for the U.S. market at the Chicago auto show. Called the Weekender and based on the 2022 Mercedes Metris, the new van brings European-style van camping to the U.S. with plenty of options to customize.
Mercedes calls the Metris a "right size" van, smaller than the Sprinter but still large enough to fit what you need. In the U.S., the 2022 Mercedes Metris is currently sold as a passenger and utility van, and Mercedes isn't doing the conversions to camper mode itself. Instead, the automaker is partnering with Driverge Vehicle Innovations and Peace Vans to install a raft of standard and optional camper features at Driverge's facility in North Charleston, South Carolina, which is adjacent to the new Mercedes factory there.
2022 Mercedes Metris Exterior and Interior
Let's start with what's standard: an elevating roof that creates a sleeping area for two people with a two-inch memory foam mattress, three windows, and USB ports. A rear bench-slash-bed for two and 180-degree swiveling front seats are also standard, as is a second battery to charge devices and run the interior lights.
It's in the options that things get more fun. Integrated solar panels will be key for anyone planning on taking one of these vans on an extended trips, as is the pullout rear kitchen. Depending on where you fall on the camping vs. glamping divide, you can also have an eight-foot awning, insect nets for the rear hatch and sliding doors, and a extension tent that covers the rear liftgate. Utility roof racks are also available.
Non-camping specific upgrades include getting your Weekender wrapped in one of 200 available colors and choices of better audio and navigation features. One thing to note is that the Weekender seats five but only sleeps four, so packing a tent might still be required in some situations.
In Europe, Mercedes sells that market's version of the Metris camper van as the Marco Polo. This Euro-spec model comes in three variants, including the base Marco Polo, the Marco Polo Horizon, and the Marco Polo Activity, which offer different levels of luxury and ruggedness.
The Mercedes R&D department has been working especially hard for the last six months to get the Weekender ready for the latest Chicago auto show.
Seattle-based Peace Vans restores old campers vans and converts new ones, but it was the rental market that influenced some of the design choices that went into the Weekender. Now, each person on the trip has an average of two devices, he said, which is why the Weekender has extra USB ports built in and the second battery to provide more power.
2022 Mercedes Metris Release date and Price
The Weekender is converted from a passenger model Metris, which starts at around $40,000. The base conversion costs a little over $25,000, so the cheapest you will be able to get a 2022 Mercedes Metris Weekender is just under $70,000.
Official Mercedes-Benz van dealers will start taking orders in about two weeks, and the first deliveries should happen at the beginning of 2021 (delay based on situation worldwide considering Coronavirus – Covid-19).
If all of this strikes your fancy, get your name in early. The first 100 customers will get their Weekender with a free National Parks Pass attached, which means there will be no excuses to not get out into the wild as soon as possible.