Mercedes-Benz is a name synonymous with premium motoring, a brand seemingly locked in with luxury, and none of its cars even remotely resemble budget or utilitarianism. So what’s a pick-up truck doing brandishing the famous three-pointed star?
It’s easy to forget that Merc actually has a few vans in its range (and very good they are too – especially the Sprinter), but the fact is that the appeal of pick-ups has skyrocketed in recent years. Their large, open load area means they can shift bulky, awkward objects but with five seats, they double up as a family wagon, ideal for a weekend getaway.
In the past, the Volkswagen Amarok and Nissan Navara were about as high-end as the one-tonne pick-up market reached, but now the new X-Class aims to satisfy pick-up buyers with a taste for the finer things in life.
Rather than develop their own from scratch, Mercedes has hooked-up with Nissan and used its Navara as a starting block for the X-Class before applying its own spin. But has it succeeded? Let’s find out.
‘Handsome and capable’
Auto Express (AE) wasn’t too blown away, awarding it three out of five stars.
They described it as “a handsome, capable machine” with “impressive refinement” for its segment, but they felt the promise of a premium interior finish didn’t meet expectations.
As such, they didn’t think the X-Class justified its loftier asking price, especially for private buyers.
Equipment is split over three trim levels – Pure, Progressive and Power – with the first targeting business buyers, but even this entry-level trim offers plenty of goodies, such as a seven-inch infotainment display and cruise control, despite the basic black radiator grille and bumpers, and steel wheels.
Range-topping Power throws even more niceties like LED high-performance lights, keyless go, electric front seats, Artico leather and Dinamica microfibre upholstery, and 18-inch twin-spoke alloys. However, that inflates the price to nearly £41,000, which is a bit rich in AE’s view.
AE added that the 2.3-litre diesel engine (the same unit found in the Navara) was well isolated from the cabin’s occupants for most of the time, but can become rowdy at higher revs. Still, they felt it packed more than enough muscle with the seven-speed automatic transmission shifting smoothly.
Autocar was a bit kinder to the X-Class, gifting it four stars.
Its ability to obscure the lines between workhorse and plush SUV was perhaps its most impressive trick, but they agreed that the interior would benefit from higher-grade plastics on some parts of the dash.
They added that light hydraulic steering underlines the X-Class’ softer target market, but actually made it easier to handle off-road, while the multilink coil spring suspension made it a far more comfortable ride than its leaf-sprung rivals.
Does it drive well?
Top Gear says yes. They were instantly impressed with how quiet the cabin was and the ride, which was as good as some SUVs.
“It’s the best pickup for ride quality I’ve driven in a while,” Top Gear’s Tom Ford added, before praising the light steering, effective braking and decent handling.
With trademark Mercedes lines, the X-Class is inherently good-looking, which is a view that will be echoed in virtually every review you’ll read of the X-Class.
Another widely-held opinion is that Mercedes really should’ve gone the extra mile when sprucing up the cabin, because the corners that have been cut with cheap plastics spoil the overall picture. Additionally, the sluggish engine felt out of character for a Mercedes.
Are you still in the market for an X-Class after reading all that? Let us know where you stand in the comments section.