The Test: On the surface, a minivan seems more suited to soccer moms than adventurers. But first impressions only count for so much. We chased a rally-car driver down the narrow mountain road between Dunton Hot Springs and Durango, Colorado, in the all-new Metris minivan from Mercedes-Benz and within seconds forgot we were piloting a 208 hp, 4-cylinder turbo, seven-passenger tank.
What really sets the Metris apart, though, is that it’s only sold through Mercedes’ commercial division (read: it’s built to be more utilitarian and bombproof than luxurious). But if you’re aiming to ditch your stationary home and convert to the van life, look no further than the cargo model. The body is wide enough for a 4x8-foot mattress, and max payload is 2,500 pounds, so installing drawer storage won’t wreck the ride. The Metris has a nearly 5,000-pound towing capacity, so you can haul your around-town rig behind you on long road trips.
The Verdict: Can’t afford the Sprinter van of your wanderlust dreams? The Metris is a more affordable, yet nearly as capable, option that fits in a garage.
$28,950 (cargo van); $32,500 (passenger van); 20 city/20 hwy