Posh pick-up touch of X-Class from Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz is looking to fill a niche for a premium pick-up with its X-Class. Motoring editor Andy Russell says it blurs the boundaries between prestige cars and practical commercial vehicles.
Luxury is not a word you associate with a pick-up, even the double-cab lifestyle models favoured as rugged alternative company transport and by active outdoor types.
Mercedes-Benz X-Class which aims to fill a niche for a premium pick-up, even though it is based on the Nissan Navara. It blurs the boundary between prestige cars and practical commercial vehicles, two things the German brand is good at. And that three-pointed star on the huge grille works wonders for its image.
Looks and image
Don’t think this is just a rebadged Nissan. Mercedes has given it a serious makeover with more blingy body styling and reworked underpinnings.
From the front, and inside the cabin, it’s done a good job of moving the X-Class upmarket – there’s not much it could do at the back apart from another three-pointed star.
Under the bonnet
The 163hp, six-speed manual X220d and 190hp, seven-speed automatic X250d use the 2.3-litre turbo diesel Navara engine, with selectable four-wheel drive. There is now also a range-topping Mercedes 258hp 3.0-litre V6 automatic with permanent all-wheel drive.
The X250d has plenty of go but is gruff and growly when worked hard. It cruises quietly, although there is some wind noise and road roar with the big tyres. Its 32mpg overall – 37mpg on a run – was also impressive.
How it drives
The Navara’s tough ladder chassis and advanced suspension for a pick-up were a good start and Mercedes has honed the ride and handling. It feels more like a well-sorted SUV than a pick-up to drive with all-round coil springs, not crashing through potholes and over bumps and lumps like some utilitarian models, instead just a little shimmy over poor surfaces.
The steering is well-weighted and it handles competently although there is the inevitable body roll through corners with the high ground clearance.
In normal road use, the X-Class is rear-wheel drive but high ratio four-wheel drive can be selected on the move via a rotary knob with low-ratio all-wheel drive for off-road use.
Space and comfort
It’s a big climb into the spacious cabin so I was glad of side steps and grab handles. It’s roomy up front with decent rear legroom but, being a pick-up, the rear seat backs are very upright. The back seats are also higher so the views are good but headroom might be tight for tall passengers. An electric side sliding window in the back screen helps with ventilation.
A large glovebox, locker between front seats and four door bins will suit business users and families.
The large, 2.48 sq m load bay, with a payload of up to 1.1 tonnes, has a strong lining to protect it and load securing rails. It can tow up to 3.5 tonnes.
Pure, Progressive and Power trim levels also offer car-like levels of kit and creature comforts.
At the wheel
It feels little different to a Mercedes car, apart from sitting much higher, with the same instruments, high-level infotainment system and touchpad controller, circular air vents and switchgear but, lower down, the heating and ventilation controls are clearly Nissan.
Add a brushed aluminium panel across the dash, some brightwork highlights, soft-touch trim with double row stitching and this is one posh pick-up. Hard plastics lower down should prove durable.
Mercedes has picked up the pick-up market with its premium X-Class. It’s one of the best-looking and driving pick-ups but you pay the price – many people will be happy to for that badge.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: Mercedes-Benz X250d Power 4Matic £34,100 excluding VAT, £40,920 with VAT (range from £27,310, £32,772 with VAT)
Engine: 2,298cc, 190hp, four-cylinder turbo diesel with seven-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive
Performance: 0-62mph 11.8 seconds; top speed 109mph
MPG: Urban 29.4; extra urban 40.9; combined 35.8
CO2 emissions: 207g/km
Insurance group: TBC (out of 50)
Warranty: Three years, unlimited mileage
Will it fit in the garage? L 5,340mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,113mm; H 1,819mm