Last Word First
Anyone who has travelled Stateside will know that ‘Trucks’ are big business, their street profile easily and immediately identifying the lifestyle and intent. We now welcome Mercedes-Benz to the hoedown with their five-seater, four-door pickup, the X-Class, and one can definitely assume that it will make a nationwide splash when it goes on general sale in January – entry level prices starting €39,950 for the X220 4x2 PURE, inclusive of VAT & VRT.
The X-Class will surprise with its on-road comfort and its off-road competency. It is quiet, squeak and creak free off-road and will feel equally at home on the mountain or the Main Street. It is not an SUV, but drives better than some. While Mercedes-Benz has never had an offering in this sector, they’ve put that to rights with the X-Class – big time.
Built out of their ‘friendship’ with Nissan and their Navara, the X-Class sits on a stiffened ladder-frame chassis, revamped the suspension, (the rear using multi-link rear axel and coil springs), lowering the front by 20mm, giving it a wider track and taking this commercial pick-up to a level of sophistication that can dispatch large amounts of tarmac and dismiss with aplomb off-road trails goats would put pickets on. This is mightily impressive.
Format: Premium pickup commercial, 4-door, 5-seater
Trim Levels: Pure, Progressive and Power
Engine: 2.3 litre, 4-cylinder with two power outputs. X220d, 4-cylinder, single-turbo & X250d, twin-turbo.
Power: 163bhp & 190bhp
Torque: 403Nm & 450Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual, 4Matic, 7-speed,
Drive: All-wheel drive with a low-range gearbox on X220d, with optional rear axle differential lock. Permanent all-wheel drive system coming in 2018.
Payload: 1042kgs – Load bed takes Euro pallet
Braked Towing Capacity: 1650 - 3500kg depending on engine and equipment.
Some of the competition: VW Amorak, Nissan Navara, Toyota HiLux, Renault Alaskan, Ford Ranger Wildtrack, Mitsubishi L200 and SsangYong Korrando Sport.
Unmistakably Mercedes at the front, subtle at the rear, the X-Class is quietly efficient in the pickup street parade. There are no overt design cues to draw you in, the X-Class relying on its star attraction, this being the marques first venture into the pick-up sector, which is expected to grow by some forty percent in the next ten years. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, the emergence of the X-Class, devoid of unnecessary badging and markings, will find love awaits it around every corner.
Depending on the trim chosen, the X-Class can be specified on 17, 18 or 19-inch rims. The introductory Pure, with its steel wheels, unpainted bumpers and Plain Jane interior will undoubtedly be sidestepped for the more appealing and more visually lively Power and Progressive trims. All have a sort front overhang, the rear more substantial, the rear LED’s on the Power trim delivering a definite advantage in terms of looks and function over the standard units.
Open the door and it’s a Merc. Even on the basic Pure, the internal ambience is unmistakable. The X-Class comes with a choice of three cockpit trims, a choice of five seat covers, which includes two leather options and a choice of two roof lining colours, and of course, there is a plethora of additional adornment available via the Mercedes-Benz accessory menu.
Customers choosing the Progressive and Power lines get a centre console framed by a decorative trim in silver shadow. The instrument cluster consists of large, analogue round dials from the C-Class and V-Class range that, in both versions, are tubular in form with a 7-inch colour multimedia display positioned between the dials. The Power variant has electrically adjustable seats and electric two-way lumbar support, as standard.
As might be expected, the X-Class is equipped with a complement of passive and active safety systems – among which are Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Traffic Sign Assist.
The X-Class powerplant is a 2.3-litre, common-rail diesel engine with a choice of two power outputs, the X220d, a single turbocharged unit with 163bhp and a bi-turbo X250d, with 190bhp. Driven through a six-speed manual transmission as standard, with the X250d 4MATIC getting a seven-speed automatic transmission.
On the Road
Running on one of the most educated chassis ever put on a pickup, the X-Class delivers a drive that surprises. While there is a bit of body roll if you peg it into a curve, it is wonderfully mannered, belying its commercial status at every turn. Cabin comfort for four male occupants on my test drive was without complaint, with conversations uninterrupted by the normal road noise expected from vehicles of its ilk.
Off-road and the X-Class continues to impress, dismissing slippery slopes without complaint, all the while not a creak emanating from its exertions.
In delivering a premium pickup Mercedes-Benz has rewritten not just how these workhorse vehicles behave on and off-road. In bringing their sophistication and technical talent to an already developed, competent chassis and then adding their star appeal, the resultant X-Class has brought a civility to the segment that will positively permeate the ranks. Can’t wait for an extended test drive – it is that good.
The X-Class will be sold through the following seven-strong main dealer network; Connolly Motor Group, Sligo; Cork Truck Services; Gilmores of Kingscourt; Kinahan Commercials, Moate and three Dublin city outlets – MSL Grange at Pottery Road, Deansgrange; MSL Park Motors on North Circular Road and MUTEC on Long Mile Road.