For cool farmers and hip tradespeople who love pickups, the Mercedes-Benz X-class is an upgrade, but don’t trade your SUV in just yet.
The new Mercedes-Benz X-class has launched. In reality, it’s not new, it’s more like a newer version of Navara with a Mercedes-Benz bend.
Like most leading car manufacturers, Merc interpreted the best and put a Benz on it. The X-Class pick-up truck could almost be the Nissan Navara incarnate, but the luxury car company applied its own touch and came up with a shiny, curvy … workhorse. This premium pick-up bakkie will take you off-road with a load in style. What a way to grab a gap in the automotive market. Is it good enough to keep it?
The orange beast above is the Navara; the blue baby below is the X-class bakkie – long, solid, and balanced. On closer inspection, this new model a mix of what works (Nissan) and what Merc wants a pick-up to be. One day.
It has the same wheelbase, ladder frame chassis, 2,3-litre Renault-developed turbo diesel engine, and switchable four-wheel-drive system as its Nissan inspiration. However, Mercedes-Benz tweaked the original design for better stability and a more comfortable ride. “Because it’s built on a ladder frame and has a solid rear axle,” Top Gear notes, “it’ll never match an SUV for comfort” but it is quiet up to 100km/hr (on 8l/100km) and “drives like there’s an extra layer of rubber in the suspension that’s soaking up punishment”. That’s great for bumpy country roads but probably overkill for a stylish trip to the shop.
Speaking of style, no shortage of Merc magic in the X-class. While the starter button and the gear-lever scream Nissan, Merc lovers won’t be lost. It carries the cherished front grille, quintessential columns, familiar central screen, renowned rotary control and cues the ‘Benz girls and boys have come to love and rely on. The x-shaped air vents are a nice touch, too. The interior cabin has a distinctly premium feel although the entry-level model does use Nissan’s scratchy plastic dashboard surfaces. It’s refined (for a pick-up) but while Mercedes is aiming it at almost everyone with aspirations and a bit of a load to move, it might not be about to knock your sexy SUV off its tracks.
It doesn’t mind, though; it’s a tough baby and, at 163 or 190 horsepower, it sure knows how to work. It’ll carry up to 1,1 tonnes in weight. It will pull 3,5 tonnes. You know, your yacht or that new luxury tiny home you bought on impulse. The boot is huge at 1,2m by 1,6m. You know what they say about a big booty, eh? Sorry. Time to choose…
R642 103 (X220d 4×2 Progressive) and R818 340 (XZ250d 4×4 Power).
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