2020 Mercedes-Benz Vito & eVito First Look
Coming Soon to The US Metris?
Vans are an important part of life. Whether you drive one or not, it's likely that you interact with a van in some way every day. They haul your groceries to the store, deliver your packages from Amazon, and shuttle your kids to and from school events. If you stop and look, you'll see that vans are far more prevalent that it may at first seem. So, when one of the largest van makers in the world unveils a new model, it's worth our attention.
Also interesting is the way in which most vans make their way to the United States. As is the case with European and Japanese automakers, the standard operating procedure is to update their local market equivalent first, and then follow suit in the States. Case in point, the Mercedes-Benz Vito, which is known in the US as the Metris. Mercedes just unveiled an updated Vito and eVito for the European market, and we can't help but wonder what secrets they hold for the future Metris.
New Mercedes-Benz eVito Tourer
Mercedes-Benz has offered an electric version of the Vito cargo van for several years now (since 2018, actually). New for 2020, however, is the eVito Tourer passenger van. Touted as the perfect option for hotel shuttles, VIP transportation, taxis, and the like, the eVito Tourer pickups up where the standard eVito left off. Powering the 2020 eVito lineup will be the company's eATS electric drivetrain, featuring a front-mounted electric motor with a peak output of 204 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. The drivetrain integrates motor, transmission, and powertrain controls into one compact unit that resides under the hood. Supplying power is a 100-kWh (90-kWh available power) battery that Mercedes says can be recharged from 10 percent to 80 percent in less than 45 minutes using a DC fast-charging station. Mercedes claims a range of just over 260 miles, and the standard eVito can reach a top speed of 87 mph (optional equipment pushes this to 99 mph).
Vito & eVito Refreshed
The addition of the Tourer to the eVito lineup wasn't the only news for 2020. Both the Vito and eVito benefit from a mild interior and exterior refresh. A subtly restyled front grille and Mercedes emblem headline the exterior changes, while "turbine-style" air vents work to liven up the interior. Upholstery has been updated as well from "Tunja" fabric to "Caluma" fabric. Basically, the fabric style has been updated for those of us not in the textile world. Also updated is an available interior chrome package and piano black dash accents along with a slight tweak to the infotainment system, including new Audio 30 and Audio 40 systems with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. New colors and new 17-, 18-, and 19-inch wheel options have also been added (including several alloy wheels as well). Also significant are the safety features being added to Vito for 2020. Automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and a rearview camera mirror are now optional.
2021 Mercedes Metris Refreshed Also
Tucked in with all of the Vito and eVito information from Mercedes was a simple list of updates to the US Metris. Chief among these is a new 7-inch infotainment system with smartphone integration (not mentioned specifically is Apple Car Play or Android Auto). The rearview camera has been improved, and a new digital rearview mirror is available. Like the Vito, the Metris receives an updated grille and new interior air vents. Seating material is updated to the same "Caluma" fabric as Vito, and there's new piano black accents for the center console. Safety is key for the US as well, so Metris also receives adaptive cruise control and auto emergency braking. There are also new 16 and 17-inch wheels to choose from.
Will We Get An eMetris?
If we were the betting type, and we are, we'd say the 2020 eVito is a look at the future of the Metris. While the U.S. market Metris uses a different powertrain than the Vito (a 2.0L turbo I-4) and is only offered as a rear-wheel drive—Vito can be had in front, rear, and all-wheel drive—there's actually very few reasons why Mercedes couldn't (or wouldn't) bring an electric Metris to market. We're sure it would be front-wheel drive, just like the eVito, and we'd bet battery and range would also remain similar. As more and more delivery companies turn to small vans to finish out the "last mile," it only makes sense. Adding further fuel to the fire is the fact that Ford has announced an electric version of the Transit is coming soon—and we've got to figure Transit Connect won't be far behind—so why would Mercedes let Ford take that chunk of the market when they've got eVito (and eSprinter for that matter) already in the lineup? We're guessing 2022 as a 2023 model year, so check back then and see just how wrong (or right) we were.