The Mercedes-Benz built for the wilderness: Weekender returns to the ‘glory days’ of camper vans

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Mercedes-Benz revealed their first pop-up camper for sale in the United States during the 2020 Chicago Auto Show on Thursday. 

The car company is hoping to capitalize on the growing number of people turning to vans for road trips and nostalgia with its Weekender.

The Mercedes-Benz Weekender is ‘harkening back to the glory days of camper vans,’ the company said in a statement, USA Today reports. 

‘Mercedes-Benz drew inspiration from illustrious models of the past while integrating the latest sophisticated safety, reliability and convenience features to create a new modern pop top van,’ they said.  

The vehicle was made in part by Driverge Vehicle Innovations and Peace Vans, who took the Metris and added new amenities like an elevating roof. 

The Weekender will be built in collaboration with Peace Vans in South Carolina, before Mercedes-Benz will ship the luxurious camper through its American dealer network and sell in several dealerships across the country 

Harley Sitner, president of Peace Vans, told Car Scoops that the uptick in interest for camper vans  is phenomenal.  

‘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,’ he said. 

‘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.’ 

Mercedes-Benz USA Vans exec, Robert Veit added similar sentiments. 

‘Pop up campers are iconic and highly functional vehicle,’ Veit said. 

‘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.’ 

While larger campers can be bulky and difficult to maneuver in tight spaces, the Mercedes-Benz Weekender van can still fit into urban areas like parking lots. 

The van has a tent mounted onto the roof that is accessed from inside the cabin and travelers can sleep on a two-inch memory foam mattress that fits two. 

Unlike old camper vans, the Mercedes-Benz Weekender has USB charging ports for lights, accessories and phones. 

Atop the tent is a solid, protective cover with roof racks so adventurers can bring along items like skis, surfboards and other equipment.  

The second-row seats also convert into a sleeping area for two or can be repositioned to allow extra cargo space for larger bags. 

The Mercedes-Benz Weekender is also aiming for comfort by allowing the front two seats to swivel 180 degrees to foster a lounge-like environment.

There is also a second battery to power the camper.

Apart from the car’s standard amenities, Mercedes-Benz has rolled out several bonus features that will up the driver’s experience to a whole other level. 

Consumers can invest in solar panels to provide power when they wander off the grid and cook meals in a ‘pullout rear kitchen.’

The German automobile company can also install mosquito screens to keep the bugs out of the space and an eight-inch awning to protect against bad weather. The Mercedes-Benz Weekender offers 200 exterior color options. 

The vehicle has a 5,000 pound towing capacity, as well as safety features like a rearview camera and crosswind stability system.

The Weekender is 74.5 inches high, 202.4 inches long and has a wheelbase of 126 inches. The maximum payload caps at 1,896 pounds and it runs on a 2-liter, 4-cylinder, direct-injection turbocharged gas engine that reaches 208 horsepower.  

Although the Weekender is the first camper van Mercedes-Benz is selling in the United States, it has already begun selling the Mercedes Benz V-Class Marco Polo camper in Europe that was described as a ‘smart home on wheels’ and could be controlled by an app on smart phones.  

A price for the Weekender has not been announced, but passenger version of the Metris minivan starts at $35,000.  

The first 100 Weekenders sold will come with a one-year pass to the United States National Park System. 

Orders for the impressive vehicle will start being accepted in spring. 

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