Almost all USPS Postal Fleets will recieve an allocation of Mercedes Metris vans through 2022, replacing aging Grumann LLVs.

The USPS has known for years how old their Grumann LLVs are getting. According to RuralInfo.net, in alignment with previous USPS statements to use Commercial-off-the-shelf right-hand drive vehicles as a temporary stopgap to keep their fleets afloat, the USPS will purchase over 17,300 Mercedes Metris Vans and over 7,100 Dodge ProMasters to replace LLVs, Chevrolet Uplanders, and Dodge Caravans.

A second contract gives the USPS a purchase option to buy 12,600 more Metris vans to accommodate EMA Route Conversions. If the second contract goes through fulfillment, that’s a possible 30,608 Mercedes Metris Vans delivering mail by 2022.

According to David Mills, Chief Executive of the USPS,

The Postal Service has determined that the Mercedes Metris has proven to be an effective delivery vehicle that will enhance the Postal Service’s fleet. Two contracts have been awarded by the Postal Servce to purchase and deploy additional Metris COTS right hand drive vehicles.

Check out their post linked here and here’s a gallery of images of a Metris Van that will be making the rounds of your local neighborhood soon.

Keen eyes will notice Mercedes badges swapped out for USPS-spec logos.

The Metris will not replace the next gen LLV

According to the USPS there are approximately 163,000 LLVs (as opposed to the oft quoted 140,000) still in use today, part of a larger fleet of 200,000 delivery vehicles.

This allotment of Metris vans only represents a small, but sizeable 10 percent of the entire postal route fleet meant to replace the LLV.

The USPS still has plans to replace the large majority of LLVs with a next-gen vehicle, a contract worth over $6.3 Billion to whoever wins it. Finalists from AM General, VT Hackney, Mahindra, Karsan, and Oshkosh/Ford are in the running with a winner yet to be announced.

According to Trucks.com, while that final decision was supposed to be made earlier this year in March, that’s been pushed back to mid-July.

Tail of the tape- LLV vs. Metris

Part of the fun blogging about the LLV is quoting how old this vehicle is, it’s literally a piece of rolling history. When the first LLV hit the road, Ronald Reagan was president. The Iron Duke engine was built by the Pontiac Motor Division, a new defunct arm of General Motors.

The Metris will be more powerful, get better MPG, will be a more enjoyable delivery vehicle, and will be a marked improvement than the aging LLVs on the road today.

The LLV packs a four-cylinder iron engine with about 90 HP and 125 lb-ft. Weighing in at around 3,000 pounds, these boxes achieved an OK 17 MPG with some LLVs today making around 10 MPG. LLVs can carry up to 1,000 pounds cargo.

According to the embedded Facebook post the Metris will pack gas 2.0L turbocharged Mercedes engines. Another post on APWU.org mentions a DEF tank so I’m assuming these Metris Vans will have a 2.0T Diesel Engine. If so, expect around 130 HP and a work-horse winning 230 lb-ft. MPG hovers around 20 City/24 Highway. With a more capable chassis, the Metris Cargo Van can haul upwards of 2,425 pounds cargo. That’s more than twice an LLV.

Check out this great video on the Metris via TFL Truck below.

Also, Metris Vans will have Air Conditioning, a marked improvement over a stationary fan that only blows scorching air in the middle of the Summer. The lack of AC is not only bothersome, it’s downright dangerous. One USPS carrier died after delivering mail in 117 degree heat.

Metris already run through the wringer.

According to APWU.org and 21cpw.com, Qualified Postal Union reps have already submitted their concerns about the Metris, mainly about visibility and not being able to place the front end with USPS offering their response shortly after.

My .02

I am not an expert on LLVs or postal carrier life but, as a low-key van enthusiast and a frequent customer of the USPS, I’m excited to see just how well the Metris performs in real-world conditions.

With European style delivery vans already part of Amazons delivery fleet and already economical replacements for ambulances, food delivery vehicles, small companies, and as City vehicles, this further solidifies the front-engine, front-wheel drive/AWD van as a practical solution to our delivery needs.

And earlier this year, Merceds announced an all-electric Metris with over 260 miles of range and comparable power to their Diesel and Gas variants. Not only is the Metris more fuel efficient than the LLV, some can even be swapped out for all-electric variants with minor charging infrastructure changes.

For far too long our nation’s carriers have suffered with Grummans. They deserve power, A/C, and something made this century

As mentioned, these Metris Vans won’t replace LLVs but I imagine, if they perform just as good as LLVs, why not order more after 2022?

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29 COMMENTS

  1. I am a carrier in Sterling, VA and have received one of these vans to replace my LLV. We received 5 in our office and NOBODY like them. First of all they were not made to deliver mail. They were bought off the line and “adapted” for mail delivery obviously by someone who has never delivered mail before. We have a carrier in our office who tested 18 potential new delivery vehicles and he said this was the worst vehicle out of the 18. In the LLV’s you worked out of the front of the vehicle. In this *** there is no room up front and there is a wire cage so every time you need to move something up front you have to go to the side or back door and then carry them to the front door, S*****! There is not even room up front for my cooler so every time I need a drink I have to go to the side or back door, S*****! Bottom line they are terrible for mail delivery and take more time. Whoever approved this decision to use this vehicle should be immediately fired!!

    • No surprise here being a letter carrier for 24 years! I’m not surprised in the least that they chose something so ridiculous!! Postal brainiacs at their best lmao

      • Per M41 you are supposed to work from the back of the LLV,
        …that’s a bit of a task if you have ALL mounted deliveries.

      • Just like when I used the Ford Pinto back in the 1980’s, barely fit my 6′ 1″ body behind the wheel, no tray up front, had to reach a mile for the mail from hatchback as well as having it collapse from weak support pistons, and last but not least, worry EVERY DAY about getting rear ended and having car explode with me in it! Safety LAST, not 1st!

    • Have you ever tried the other vehicles up for the contract? Mainly intrested in feedback on the workhorse mode they were testing in Virginia. If you are familiar with this it has a bmw motor which charges electric batteries. … thx in advance

    • Thank you! Half of our vehicles in Pacific Palisades, CA are being replaced with these… they are so impractical! Both of the front side doors swing out rather than sliding. The back doors also swing out, unlike the LLV which has a rolling back door. In addition, it’s about 3ft longer than the LLV (though not as tall) making it more difficult to park on crowded streets.

    • I am a City Carrier in COlumbus Ohio and I agree with William these are worst for delivering, if you have a car any where close to a mailbox the wheel base is wider then the LLV and it is impossible to maneuver around it, With the doors not sliding is another issue .

  2. Is the USPS fleet replacement contract that is said to awarded in Sept something that USPS budgeted for or is the fate of the fleet replacement dependent on the infrastructure bill that passed in the house, but is now pending in the senate? Will the contract award(s) happen irrespective of the fate of the bill? USPS desperately needs new modern (and hopefully zero emission) purposely designed and built with the mail carrier in mind.

  3. They need to make an updated version of the LLV that utilizes those same door features and cargo capacity, install a/c so the carriers are not dealing with extreme heat through their work.
    And for the carriers that work in states dealing with snow and ice, an AWD version would be sent there.

  4. Got my route converted from POV to one of these Mercedes Metris vans. Mixed feelings on it’s use. HATE the cage. And tray could be higher for more under storage. Mine already has Check Engine light on after 2 weeks use.

    I’ve looked all over for an OBD connector and can’t find it to see what the error code is.
    Also WHERE THE HECK is the hood release? There’s no lever under dash as the left hand drive versions show.

  5. That’s bs. The van is great. No issues with the cage. Plenty of room in front. You must not have been carrying long. 15yrs here, have some minor adjustments, .nothing like all the complaints I’ve seen mostly from people who haven’t even used one. Lol

  6. This vehicle will definitely not work for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!!! RWD in snow, ice and drifts, what are they thinking? We will be getting towed daily. This will ensure swift delivery of mail. Let the games begin. Why the cage? Are we transporting animals?. Just a idiotic idea for our region of the country.

  7. I suppose it depends on whether you have a driving route or a walking route. But of course where I used to work they would have just made us turn a driving route into a walking route. In the early 90s we had some K-cars which were used for walking routes. The USPS made Chrysler tear out the AC units before these vehicles were delivered.

    • yes, right-side…….tray on left, but no room to put stuff under the tray…..then a ‘wire cage’ to prevent access to back of vehicle from the front. It’s definitely a different feel

  8. Jim I wonder how many packages you deliver also I’d be curious how tall you are. As a carrier for 8 years in a collage town I average over 200 packages per day. Bad days over 400. No way you are getting over 150 in that tiny van. I mentioned height because I am 6’8” and literally cannot fit into the dodge vans with cages and can barely fit into the pro masters. I seriously doubt anyone over 6’2” will be fitting in the new Mercedes POS

  9. The USPS driving German vans?? What?? That’s just not right. Are we not American any more? Support our domestic makers? US-made is good, but US-owned, US-made is better. Dear USPS: If we’re still America, don’t buy foreign-branded vehicles again. Pontiac is gone because people are too stupid and selfish to support their own. Will these Mercs still be on the road 35 years from now?

  10. These are not made for every style of delivery. I’m driving one. It’s not good for my route, but I could see it being ok for other routes. I have a lot of walking, but I go in and out of businesses too. The only place I don’t have an issue is at my apartment complex. So maybe this vehicle is best for cluster delivery. It’s definitely not as easy to get in and out of. The use of the back is not as good either. It’s lower and there’s no grip on the floor so everything slides everywhere. So much for organizing before you leave the office. Efficiency definitely takes a back seat. And for what? Because somebody thought we needed a turbo engine, when we are supposed to be the most careful vehicle on the road, often going slowly. And if it’s not big enough, what’s the point of twice the total weight capacity? Most of these seemingly awesome specs pointed out are useless to the average postal carrier.

  11. im just woundering what are they doing with the old LLVs,i live in California and see them being towed two or three at the time form post offices around me,are they reusing them or are they scraping them? personally i would love to own and customize one LOL.

  12. Why didn’t the post office invest in AWD vehicles? In Denver today (2/25), I had to shovel out my park points. This van is worthless for those carriers having to deal with winter driving conditions.

  13. I have driven the same rural route for over 9 years. It is over 100 miles/day with over 30 miles of that dirt or gravel roads. I use a factory RHD Jeep Wrangler with 10 ply off road tires. If I have to use one of these vans, even driving very conservatively, the 30+ miles of dirt/gravel roads is going to be very tough on a van and I will be making many calls to change a flat tire(if I have phone service). Not to mention the 6 low water bridges I have to cross daily. It will be very scary using one of these vans on my route in any inclement weather conditions. I invite anyone overseeing these vehicle contracts to ride along with me for 1 day.

  14. They just put one of these on my route after once owning a transit connect and always using my own jeep wranglers of many many years w 10 ply tires and Barely getting up hills in western pa. This is a joke. In regular use of reg. Jeep tires I would have 3 flats a week let alone using 4 wheel drive all day. I just got the 2021 jeep after waiting 3 years for them to be made now they stick me w crap because the whining subs would rather have the easy out instead of us oldies being safe and reliable

  15. THE FRONT TIRES ARE BEING DESTROYED BECAUSE THESE VEHICLES WEREN’T ALIGNED . I OWN A CONTRACT SHOP THAT REPAIRS THE POSTAL LLV AND METRIS VEHICLES .

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