Mercedes-Benz has offered a solid line-up of commercial vehicles for some years now and it has just added another exceptional fixture with the new X-Class.
With a name like that, anyone who didn’t know better would probably expect some lavish super limo but no, it’s a pick-up.
However, as it’s based on the Nissan Navara – arguably the best pick-up available – it has been given a head-start and you can bank on Merc to inject a hefty dose of luxury to what some still view as a mucky and utilitarian segment.
But since when and why is a brand as premium as Merc turning to a carmaker like Nissan for a pick-up to rebadge?
It’s the result of a parts-sharing deal between Merc and the Renault-Nissan Alliance which was finalised a couple of years ago, and it’s nothing new – Mercedes based its Citan van on the Renault Kangoo.
Mercedes will seek to make the X-Class its own by kitting it out with a much higher level of quality and technology than that found in any Navara.
Volker Mornhinweg, the head of Mercedes-Benz’s van division, reckons the “X-Class will redefine the pick-up into a true premium vehicle” and believes pick-ups could enjoy a reinvention into something more desirable – much like what has happened with SUVs this decade.
The brand predicts global sales of pick-ups to grow by 43 per cent by 2026, exceeding one million units.
From the side, the X-Class bears a heavy resemblance to the Navara. However, from the front, it is unmistakably Mercedes with a supersized grille and the three-pointed star badge taking pride of place, front and centre.
Inside, the X-Class is as comfortable and plush as you’d expect, with its high quality feel bolstered by the inclusion of a high-res touchscreen and 360-degree camera.
Buyers will be able to choose from two versions – the 161bhp X 220d and the 188bhp X 250d – both of which will use the same 2.3-litre four-cylinder diesel engine, linked to a six speed manual gearbox, with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic available as an option.
The X-Class will launch in Europe this November, costing €37,294 (£33,002), before arriving in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand in the early stages of 2018.