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Discussion Starter #1
I know I am not an official automobile publication, but I have been published many times in various newsletters, newspapers, and even magazines that I think this is professional enough to qualify. Besides, many people who review cars can not provide the insight of the serially addicted Mercedes-Benz owner.



Sorry it took me so long to get this review done, but the first night, I was too excited, and yesterday… well this was the weather conditions that I had to work with.



Ah. That’s better, right? Right.

I have documented everywhere why I purchased this van, but to rehash: I bought it because I wanted a vehicle that was decent on fuel, had the feel and safety of a Mercedes-Benz, and could take any task I threw at it and accomplish it. The truck had 10 miles when I took delivery of it two days ago, and 280 miles now. Which means it is not broken in, so I haven’t had the pleasure to test its performance fully, and I am still getting used to driving it.

That being said, this car is distinctly like a smaller Sprinter. What do I mean by that? It looks, feels, and drives, like a Mercedes-Benz in taxi spec, writ large. Its all there. The solid handling, the effective (but slightly intrusive) electronic nannies, the distinct feeling of utter solid quality, a distinct sense of well engineered mechanicals- that are slightly clunky, heft and comfort that are extremely Teutonic in execution, and a distinct obsession with its pride of self. If you pick up any part from a Mercedes in a junkyard, you will know what car it is- a little three pointed star will be imprinted on even the smallest piece of trim- even in places you should never see. Silly showy example:



The solid feel reeks through out the vehicle, in every little piece. It sounds like a cliche- Honda builds solid cars, too, right? They do, more or less. But the Mercedes-Benz, of all other cars in the world, reek of it. Its the first impression you feel, and the most lasting. And in that respect, this Metris is every bit as much a Mercedes-Benz as an S-Class.

It is not a luxury car the way the S-Class is. It doesn’t have quite the refinement, and the interior, with two exceptions, is not in any way luxurious. Its solid, well assembled, looks nice, and does not rattle- just like in the S-class. But the plastics are hard, my floor isn’t even carpeted (I ordered it like that on purpose- its available for $730 extra along with more chrome trim and additional interior lighting), and it all looks functional.



See? But everything works, and there is a distinct quality feel to every control. The grab handles are damped. You paid more for a Mercedes-Benz, and you will know what you paid for every day of ownership.

I mentioned two exceptions. The first exception is the headliner. It is a nicely woven (not flocked) cloth, like that found on Audi’s of the early 2000s. It adorns the A, B, and C pillars (but not the D-Pillar) as well as the roof, and it feels like something you’d expect in a luxury car. And the second is the steering wheel.

It is the same steering wheel you’d get on a new C-Class. It is a $410 option stand alone, and its worth it. It has redundant steering wheel controls, of course. It includes a more comprehensive instrument cluster and trip computer. It has beautiful chrome work in various places. And it is beautifully wrapped in top-notch leather with beautiful stitch work. Interacting with the car through this steering wheel makes this car feel every bit as expensive and luxurious as an E-class. Touching the hard plastic door card is almost a let down comparatively.

The Comfort drivers seat is insanely comfortable, you sit up very high, and its adjustments are quite thorough. It is a teutonic seat, no question- very firm. But you can drive it for hours and still feel great. The comfort front seats are part of a $630 package, which includes the height, rake, and 4-way lumbar adjustment, and adds fore-and-aft adjustment to the headrests, as well as seat back pockets. The package, by the by, for some reason I can’t fathom, also includes two extra keys (for a total of four).

My car has vinyl. I’m not sure why one reviewer thought it was “aromatic leather” (leather is not available, aromatic or otherwise). Its what Mercedes-Benz has recently started calling “vinyl”, but what I refer to as “MB-Tex”. Its a tough-as-nails vinyl that is not perforated in this instance- meaning its wipe clean, and you can get into the car soaked to the bone without damaging it. It is also much more textured than internet pictures let on:



I have very little in the way of objections about the quality of the interior, beyond saying that the plastic floor covering gets a bit slippery when wet- the bulk of that problem will be fixed when the $90 set of fitted floormats I bought arrive.



The controls are extremely intuitive. If you have driven any mid-2000s or later Mercedes, everything works exactly as you’d expect it to. If you drove one before that, everything but the stereo and the location of the cruise control (below the combination switch rather than above it) should be familiar. The Tempmatic Air Conditioner works great, automatically regulating the temperature of the air coming out, but requiring manual setting of air routing and fan speed. Tri-zone automatic climate control is optional.

The Becker Map Pilot gets a lot of panning on the internet, and I’m not sure why. I mean, yeah, its an expensive option, and Garmin’s Nuvi series of PNDs are generally as good or better for less. But that’s practically any car company’s factory navigation system, too. But so far I have liked it. Two things, though. First of all, one common complaint I hear is not figuring out how to adjust the volume- when its not giving instructions, the cars volume controls adjust the stereo volume. When it is giving instructions, it adjusts the navigational guidance volume. The other major complaint I hear is the voice recognition stinks.

I thought so too. Until I figured out that you set the state manually, and then state the number, street, and town. If you say “1 Mercedes Dr, Montvale, New Jersey” it won’t understand you. But if you were looking in New Jersey, and said “1 Mercedes Dr, Montvale”, it will get you almost every time. Better than my voice operated Garmin, in fact. I’m sure that the fact the car automatically shuts off the HVAC fans and mutes the music has a lot to do with it. Faster, too.

Garmin: Voice Command; [pause]; VOICE COMMAND!!!!!; [pause] ICE CREAM MAN!!!!!; [pause] [beep]; Find Address; [pause]; FIND ADDRESS!!!; [pause]; FIND A DRESS!!!; [pause] [beep] [State An Address In United States]; One Mercedes Drive, Montvale, New Jersey; [pause] [beep] [Would you Like to Begin Navigation?]; Navigate. Schiesse.

Becker: [Push steering wheel button] [pause] [beep] One Mercedes Drive, Montvale [pause] [press control knob] [pause] [press control knob].

As for the stereo sound… its about the same as in my 2005 ML350. Which is really something of a complement since that was equipped with the high-end Bose setup. Good range, good clarity, good power. I mean, its not the Burmeister system in the S-Class, but its just fine for my purposes. When I get a hi-fi recording of Wagner’s Flight Of the Valkyrie, maybe I can tell the difference. But I did run a good quality recording of Schubert’s Die Forelle, and it sounded excellent, so- point being, the sound system is quite good. Its a nine-speaker set up, 4 in back, 5 in front, mounted to the same Becker head unit as the Sprinter, and similar to the unit used in the last of the pre-Command control knob cars.

The rear interior of the car is quite well set up, in some ways, and poorly set up in others. The rear seats are, as far as I can tell (I will test this soon) interchangable. That means that the two place bench is essentially 2/3rds of the 3-place bench. It is a bit narrow for two people of American-style girth. You can fit, but your butts will be, perhaps, hanging off a bit. Three American-sized adults will likewise find the third row a bit tight in width. In terms of leg room, it is extremely spacious- if they have narrow bums, you can fit 5 (or six) 6’4” men in there. If you plan on carrying more than five adults (including driver) regularly, however, I would suggest getting the 8th seat. That way you can carry two on each row in comfort, or more in slightly less comfort. If you are looking to carry more than six adults regularly, however, I would suggest the Sprinter.



Like the front seats the rear seats are very much Teutonic comfortable. They are firm, well shaped, and generally quite supportive. Each place has a two-way adjustable headrest. There are four ISOFlex child seat anchors (left outboard and center seats of both rows). There are roof mounted vents on all four outboard seats, which can be completely closed or adjusted for air flow direction. All four outside seats have damped grab handles.



My car, as I mentioned before, is not equipped with carpeting. I am pleased to find out that it does have those metal tracks, however, as opposed to the pockets in the brochure. While they give the false appearance of adjustability, they also raise large and heavy object slightly off the plastic matting floor. This decreases the chance of damage to the floor covering over time, and gives you a smooth and easy surface to slide things in on, rather than the somewhat tractive when dry plastic. (Its quite slippery when wet, however.)



As for removing and replacing the seats, I have a tutorial for that Tutorial.

There are two models of backup camera. The cars equipped with swinging doors get a simple one that is fixed next to the license plate light. The one in the tailgate, though, is way cooler. It is mounted on a moving flap, which tucks the camera away when it is not in use.




As for driving impressions, the car basically drives just like I said. A Mercedes-Benz writ large. You know you are driving a big van, although most of that impression comes from height. Calling this a minivan as some reviewers have done is neither fair (its built for commercial use, and minivans aren’t) or accurate. The dimensions online don’t really demonstrate this car.



First of all, the floor of this car doesn’t even come up to my knee. In fact, it is about at my upper shin, much lower than that of other minivans (remember, the Chrysler vans floors need to contain their seats when folded!). That tailgate is fully flat, and when open, a man about 6’4” could stand under it and not hit their head.



This door opening is about 6 inches wider than the Chrysler Town & Country. Besides Sprinter Class vans, this is the only vehicle I can enter forwards, with my 325lb girth. The reason this doesn’t look that way in the picture is that its hard to explain this vans considerable height- ten inches taller than the Chrysler- twelve when equipped with the roof rack.



Chrysler's van is .8 inches wider, but as you can see it has a lot more tumble home, and the interior trim panels are much thicker.



The Chrysler is documented as being .1 inches shorter, but look at how much of that space is taken up by a much farther back seating position, a lot of rear tumble home, and a protruding bumper.

This van is, in fact, a much larger vehicle than the Chrysler. You sit much higher than in the Chrysler, too. And that gives you a distinct sense of size. Or to put it in even better perspective… the tires on the T&C are 225/65R17, and on the Metris 225/55R17. The wheels are the same size… and the tires are slightly lower profile.

I don't know if I missed anything... but if you have any direct questions about it, I can probably answer them by walking outside and checking. I'll reply as soon as I can, but I might be out driving.

I am finding the car a pleasure to drive. The visibility is truly exceptional, the spaciousness of the driving compartment is immense. The car is quiet, refined, and smooth riding… like a Mercedes.

In truth, this car reminds me of the Mercedes-Benz 240D model of the mid-eighties. That was essentially the E-class Mercedes, but with a small engine and none of the “luxuries”. This is in many ways the same thing. The comfort, safety, engineering excellence, and quality you expect from a Mercedes-Benz, but without any of the frills.

In essence, exactly what I was looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I thought I'd add a few pics and give you an update. Yes, you can put the third row into the second row space- confirmed! It requires two people to do it. It is a pain in the keister.

Yes it fits into a garage- tight.

I got my new floor mats!

And I now have 1000 miles on it. I still love it.
 

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Thanks so much for checking on re-arranging the seats, and for all the info you've given us. I have an appointment this afternoon to see about ordering a Metris.
 

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Somehow I missed this thread until now. Thank you for the detailed info regarding the seating and the vinyl quality. Nice write up.

I think I'm going to choose blue paint as well -- blue looks great on the Metris.

As a 1980s Mercedes-Benz owner, and someone who appreciates the feel of an MB, I appreciate the comparisons. Good to see that Mercedes-Benz feel extending even into a midsize van.
 

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3rd row in 2nd row

Thanks for confirming that 3rd row can be moved in 2nd. can the 2nd row be fitted in 3rd row facing rear tail gate. you can fit a led TV on the rear tail gate and you can have your own small little entertainment area in the rear if you can make the seats face backward. Can you share your thoughts
 

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Thanks for the great review. My main question has still been, what is the true ground clearance? 3.6" per Mercedes' website seems incredibly low, but looking at pictures and comparing the clearance to the size of the wheels it sure looks higher. I'm thinking of using one of these for a camping/climbing trip van, and it's nice to have at least 6-8" of clearance for some of the dirt roads we end up on...

Thanks for any insight.

Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The body's clearance is about 10 inches. There are jacking points hanging down that bring it down to about 8.

There are also suspension mounts that are probably 5 inches.
 

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Thanks for that info, good to know. Wonder why Mercedes' website says 3.8"? (I corrected that, I said 3.6" earlier).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My van was built in Spain and was shipped fully assembled to Ladson, SC. A lot of the individual components were made in Germany.

Cargo vans are built in Spain, shipped to Germany, certain driving components (mostly drivetrain) are removed, and the removed parts and the van are sent on separate ships to Ladson where the same components are refitted. This avoids the 25% Chicken Tax on commercial vehicles.

Sprinter vans are the same. Both models are fully assembled in Bremen. The Cargo van is partially disassembled after a road test, the passenger van remains assembled. The cargo van gets sent on two ships, the passenger on one. The cargo van gets reassembled in Ladson.

It is Mercedes intention to expand Ladson to fully assemble Sprinters and possibly Metrises in Ladson in the future. I'm glad I got a Spanish one.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Now that I have 2800 miles on it, I feel qualified to discuss its driving characteristics.

First, though, the pictures I botched the upload on:






Anyway, I have confirmed that 101 mph is the top speed on it. It hit the limiter pretty hard- I am fairly confidant that if one were to remove the limiter the car could do well into the 120s. I tested it shortly after dropping out of sight of a police stop (theory being that particular territory's cop was occupied). I then commented outloud, "So we now know the limiter's at 101." My wife replied, "How do we know that?"

Cuz my foot is on the floor, the car has stopped accelerating, and we are passing everybody on the Penn Pike going 101 mph, thats how I know. My point being that doing 101 mph, my passenger had no clue that I was going that fast- even with a prompt. Not that I suggest sneaking triple digit speeds past your wife- mine has unusually strong belief in my ability to drive a car safely fast.

Sargent Egan, in his epic book, "A Speeder's Guide to Avoiding Tickets", stated that driving X miles an hour feels nothing like going 15-20 mph slower. That was probably true in the Sarge's '89 Cruiser. But it is not true of the Metris. In true Mercedes fashion, it can be driven at highway speeds with your hands off the wheel. Its stability is incredible.

I used to believe in the laws of physics. I am becoming more doubtful driving the Metris. A truck six and a half feet tall, weighing over 5000 lbs with passengers aboard, has no right to be as nimble as the Metris. I had assumed that my driving style with the ML350 would have to be altered a lot. I spend a lot of my time in and around Philly, and if you live around there, you know that making progress in traffic involves a lot of fast lane changes and weaving.

And I used to spend time startling drivers that something as big as an ML class could be weaved through traffic so fast and efficiently. No more. Now I am astonishing drivers that a vehicle a foot and a half longer, 7 inches taller, and 4 inches wider can be moved through traffic with the same efficiency.

Its not as good as the ML350 going around jugs and cloverleafs. Although, that might be me, more than the truck. I haven't lost traction, or engaged ESP. But the speed at which I start to feel uncomfortable with the cars attitude is about 15% lower. That's partially the effect of the loss of four wheel drive- the system practically eliminates plow. But I think the main reason is that I am sitting about 5 inches higher, magnifying the effect of the body roll forces on my body.

But let me instead be fair to this truck. This is not a four wheel drive sport utility vehicle. Nor did it cost the $49k unadjusted price of my ML350, let alone the $60k inflation adjusted. No, this truck doesn't compete in that segment at all. People have been comparing it to the Transit Connect van, which in large form is a 120" wheelbase, 189" long, 72.2" wide, and 72.0 inches tall, with 128 cubic feet of cargo capacity- 58 cubic feet less than the Metris. Wrong comparison.

The Ford Transit van is 129" wheelbase, 219" long, 82" high, and 81" wide with 246.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Thats 60 cubic feet more than the Metris. So if you were really wondering, it is precisely a midsize van- right between the small vans and the large Sprinter-class vans. So its not really comparable to that, either.

The Ford E150, on the other hand, was a lot closer, and what I'll compare it with, partially because I had one. My Econoline carried 207 cubic feet of volume, due to the inefficient design of the the aftermarket divider (the Mercedes design actually adds space by mounting the seats on the divider!) Beyond that the bizarrely heavy tumblehome and the stupid location of the fuel filler neck (intruding on cabin space) means that its usable space is only slightly greater than the Metris.

It's payload of 2800 lbs means it is really in the same class in that regard too. Of course, the E150 was inefficient in its packaging, being a 138" wheelbase, 212 inches long, 79.3" wide, and 80" tall. And thats the pre-2008 numbers- it gained 4 inches in length when Ford decided to graft a large nose on it.

In that context, we can discuss its driving ability. It moves with authority. Its not "fast", but it can dominate any traffic situation excluding a fairly high-performance car challenging it.

I mentioned it was comfortable. It is comfortable for hours and hours of driving, under all kinds of conditions.

Lastly- fuel economy. Please keep in mind, I am a very aggressive driver. I hit 80 mph practically every day, and I probably hit 90+ (depending on what blocks I can pick up- I never do more than 80 without a block) several times a week. I don't encourage such driving- it requires good reaction times, an ability to read the psychology of other drivers around you, complete concentration, and complete confidence in your vehicles responses. I've averaged 750 miles a week for the past 14 years of driving.

But I do it. I have been averaging about 23.5 mpg based upon my time tested method of dividing miles driven by gallons pumped. Irritatingly, the car says I have been averaging 24.7 mpg- about 8mpg better than the ML350 driven similarly. I suspect that most of you, who probably are less aggressive drivers than I, will do better.

My only niggle with this car is the difficulty of managing seat removal. If you are going to convert frequently between cargo and passenger, I sincerely suggest you either buy a Chrysler minivan, or buy a passenger Metris, and a $1500 Ford Econoline.

Speaking of fuel comparisons... *gulps* My Econoline was a 250 version, with the 5.4 liter Triton SOHC V8. It had a bigger payload than the Metris (3500lbs) and I usually had it overloaded. (Coincidentally, the 4.6 Triton in the E150 made 210 bhp and 262 lb-ft of torque- nearly identical figures to the Metris's 2.0 Turbo) Anyway, I averaged 9.8mpg.

If we figure that one with the 4.6 V8 could get 12 mpg, and the Metris can get 24 mpg, if you are driving 750 miles a week, than... that would mean that if we assume gas costs $2 for the Ford (89 octane) and $2.35 for the Metris (92 octane)... Than the Metris will cost you $73.25 a week the fuel, and the Ford $125, or a savings of $51.25 a week, or $2665 a year. Or to compare full numbers, the Ford costs $6500 a year to fuel, versus the Metris at $3818.75.

The Ford can have its oil changed for only $100 or so, but needs to be changed every 5000 miles. If you drive 750 miles a week (39,000 a year) that means you need to change your oil 7.8 times a year, or $780 a year. The Metris costs $200 for an A service, and $400 for a B service, or $600 per 30k miles. That comes out to a pro-rated $780 a year.

So for the largely similarly capable Metris, you save $2665 a year. Since the Ford was similarly priced in its last year on the market, that means that if you were to beat them to death over a 10 year, 390k mile period (which I have no doubt both can handle)... the Metris is nearly free compared to driving an Econoline. Stick that data in your pipe and smoke it.
 

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I's so jealous, still looking for the 8-passenger I like. And the dealers around here in SoCal jack up the price more than sticker price. I want one before Thanskgiving but couldn't find any, been shopping since mid-October.
 

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I's so jealous, still looking for the 8-passenger I like. And the dealers around here in SoCal jack up the price more than sticker price. I want one before Thanskgiving but couldn't find any, been shopping since mid-October.
Waiting for the hype to die down is a good thing to do if you can but of course not all of us can do that. You can always try to get dealers to compete on price, lengthy process but worth it.
 

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Finally, I got the Mountain Crystal White Metallic 8-passengers tonight after about three hours. It's pretty loaded and I paid $2,250 less than sticker price. I have no idea what the "real" invoice price is but my total out the door is $46,258.75 including 8% sales tax here in SoCal. Here what I got:

134 Mountain Crystal White Metallic
VU9 Black Leatherette
C01 Driver Comfort Package
C02 Driver Efficiency Package
C04 Active Safety Plus Package w/ Active Parking Assit
C05 Premium Appearance Package: Bumpers
C09 High Performance Air Conditioning: Automatic Climate Control
C10 Interior Appearance Package: Comfort Suspension
LC8 Tailgate surrounding light
T55 Power Sliding Door right side
T56 Power Sliding Door left side
U71 Additional Seat, 2nd Row, Folding Curbside
W65 Single Flip-up Tailgate
X50 ECO Start/Stop Package: ECO Start/Stop

Fist thing to upgrade is the lame headlights. Driving home in the dark the headlights are so weak even with Fog lights on compared to my other car with HID. Not sure the after market has the projector for this new model yet.

One thing I remember when signing the paperwork is the extended warranty offer is only one time when first buying the van. I'll do the research later.
 

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I just got my Silver Metris with 8 passenger seats. The MSRP price is 46855 and the out of door price is 47000. additional 7/70000 warranty.

VU9 Black Leatherette
C01 Driver Comfort Package
C02 Driver Efficiency Package
C04 Active Safety Plus Package w/ Active Parking Assit
C05 Premium Appearance Package: Bumpers
C09 High Performance Air Conditioning: Automatic Climate Control
C10 Interior Appearance Package
LC8 Tailor Hitch
T55 Power Sliding Door both sides
U71 Additional Seat, 2nd Row, Folding Curbside
FZ5 Anti theft system
W65 Single Flip-up Tailgate
X50 ECO Start/Stop Package: ECO Start/Stop

I just found out a huge mistake. The license plate at front is still there. They didn't remove it and I didn't know if i can manually remove it.
There is a black holder with license plates. It's free to remove at dealers. Now, I think I need to do it by myself but I worry to damage the bumper.
 

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After three days of driving I have to say those headrests of the passengers, six total, are not very friendly: I can't see much thru the rear view mirror. I gotta take them off and wow it's like day & night.

I really missed the keyless entry. In the last few years I haven't touch my key in the pocket: door lock/unlock, engine start/stop with my touch only. I already got a dozen times reaching the door handle to open and realize I need to dig into my pocket to get my key to unlock it. And remember to lock it with the key. They should have this keyless entry option in the future.

About audio: no Sirus-XM built in. The screen is about the same of my iPhone 6 Plus and it's not a touch screen. Also no auto sound leveling. I have no comments about the Navigation because I don't think I'm going use it: Waze on my iPhone is better.

With all of the dislikes above I don't mean I hate my van: I love it. Just like the OP detail review.
 

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Anyway, I have confirmed that 101 mph is the top speed on it.
Yes, I've read a review somewhere posted that.



I hit 80 mph practically every day, and I probably hit 90+ (depending on what blocks I can pick up- I never do more than 80 without a block) several times a week.
Have you noticed when you hit 90+ the vent will blow a strong cold air briefly to the face warning you drive at high speed? The E350 is doing that. Mine is not over 1K miles yet so I don't want to test it.



I have been averaging about 23.5 mpg based upon my time tested method of dividing miles driven by gallons pumped.
A review saying they tested for only 19.xx MPG. It's good to hear we can get higher mileage.



And my ECO start/stop doesn't work like the E350, lot of times the engine is still running waiting at red lights. Not sure if I need to take it back to dealer to check it out.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I have that start stop thing too. I think it's a calibration issue. If you can manage it, release the brake and feather the gas until the light comes on, then stop again.

mine doesn't do the cold air thing, but I have the manual control. It does tell me to observe the speed limit, though. (Yes, I observe it is 65. I am going 82. Shut up!)
 

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How heavy is the 3-seat in the back?

I want to remove it to load something in the back just not sure I can handle it all by myself. I guess it's no less than 100 lbs.
 
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