Mercedes-Benz brought its popular European Metris van to the United States last year and continues it with a 2017 model. The Metris can be configured either as a cargo or passenger van and is smaller than the company’s Sprinter van.

Our test vehicle for the week was configured as a passenger van, and it would make an excellent hotel or airport shuttle. Most customers, however, will likely use it as a commercial van, according to Scott McDaniel, commercial vehicle sales manager with Mercedes-Benz of Baton Rouge. It’s a rear-wheel drive vehicle with the power and room to get the job done.

The Metris has been around for 20 years in Europe. It’s not your typical commercial van in that there are upscale features not normally found in a delivery van. It is, after all, a Mercedes-Benz. In its passenger configuration, there is seating for seven or eight, depending on the second-row seats.

Powering the Metris is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that develops 208 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission is a 7-speed automatic. EPA mileage estimates for the 2017 Metris are 20 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway, for a combined 22 mpg.

The Metric can tow up to 4,960 pounds and has a 2,502-lb. payload as a cargo van. As a passenger van, the payload is 1,874 pounds. The cargo Metris also has 186 cubic feet of cargo space. The Metris has hit upon a nice combination of power, cargo space and fuel economy.

Our 2017 Metris passenger van had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $32,900, which seems a bargain for anything with the Mercedes three-point star logo on the hood. But options boosted the price to $45,870. Power sliding doors, second row seating upgrades, a driver comfort package, a driver efficiency package, additional safety features, a premium exterior package, a cold weather package, enhanced air conditioning and a premium interior package were options included on the test van.

For 2017, the Metris gets a new “Worker” trim level that starts at $26,990 in the cargo van and $30,990 in the passenger van.

“A lot of people think because it has the three-point star that it will be a 50- or 60,000-dollar vehicle,” McDaniel said. “A lot of people don’t know it, but it’s a really solid vehicle at a great price.”

McDaniel said he used a Metris van when he was building a fence and hauled two pallets of dog-eared pickets. “I towed it with no problem. It’s got plenty of torque. That turbo-4 gets the job done,” he said. And, he added, a 4x8 foot sheet of plywood fits perfectly inside.

The Metris, even in its passenger configuration, isn’t your typical Mercedes-Benz luxury automobile. It’s also not a minivan like Chrysler’s Pacifica. It’s a durable and utilitarian delivery vehicle that can be transformed into a comfortable passenger van for up to eight.

I tried all three rows of seats in the test Metris and all were comfortable and supportive. I’m not sure I’d want ride across the country in row 3, but for shorter trips it is fine. Behind the third row, there’s room to stack about a half-dozen airplane roller-board bags.

Standard equipment on the Metris cargo van includes 17-inch wheels, a passenger side sliding door, rear barn doors, power windows and locks, air-conditioning, fabric seats, Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port.

The passenger Metris adds the two rows of seats with climate control, a driver’s side sliding door, rear doors with wipers and rear privacy glass. The passenger van has considerably more available upgrade options. Visibility in the passenger van is surprisingly good, but the cargo version doesn’t have side windows on the doors.

My test Metris was equipped with the optional Driver Comfort Package which softened the suspension, giving it a better ride than you’d expect from a van. The engine pushed the van along smartly with power and confidence. Handling was good and body roll in corners was evident but not bothersome.

2017 Mercedes-Benz Metris Passenger Van

Engine:

2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder

Horsepower / Torque:

208 / 258 lb.-ft.

Transmission:

7-speed automatic

Base price:

$32,900 ($45,870 as tested with freight)

EPA mileage estimates:

20 mpg city / 23 mpg highway / 22 mpg combined