Caroline drives the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class.
When Mercedes-Benz says that it’s going to build a pick-up, the world takes note. At first there seems something a little incongruous about one of the finest makers of luxury saloons and sports cars adding a pick-up to its line up – but it actually makes absolute sense. Think of the G-Wagen, Mercedes’ iconic boxy off-roader.
There’s also a partnership with Nissan to consider that makes the development of a pick-up a good move for Mercedes-Benz: the X-Class and Nissan’s Navara pick-up are blood brothers, with Nissan providing underpinnings and engines.
Now that might rub some of the “glamour” off the Mercedes pick-up but hang on because Mercedes-Benz hasn’t just rebadged the X-Class: they also promise they’ve done some work to fit the more premium positioning of this new model.
And it’s to the extent that Mercedes-Benz is loftily billing the new X-Class as “the Mercedes among pick-ups”. Let’s see shall we?
Certainly the Mercedes star perched on the grille raises expectations to what is otherwise a relatively generic design. For the Irish market there are three trim lines – Pure, Progressive and Power – each impacting the styling somewhat. The Power models in particular are aimed at a more lifestyle crew and come with smarter body jewellery and LED headlamps.
How much does the Mercedes-Benz X-Class cost?
Pricing in Ireland for the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class starts at €39,950 but that’s for a 4×2 and I reckon it’s 4×4 y’all be wanting – they start from €42,300.
At launch the new X-Class is available with a Nissan engine – a 2.3-litre turbo diesel. The X220d has 163hp while the X250d uses a biturbo version putting out 190hp. They qualify for the commercial rate of motor tax of €333. A 6-speed manual transmission is standard with 7-speed automatic transmission available for the X250d 4MATIC models. There’s also a V6 diesel on the way.
The new Mercedes-Benz X-Class has a payload of over 1 tonne and towing strength is up to 3.5 tonnes, giving it power to pull a trailer containing three horses or an 8 metre yacht!
The model I tested was a X220d 4MATIC Progressive retailing from €43,995. Standard equipment on this model includes 17″ alloys, air con, Mercedes infotainment system with 7″ screen, touchpad and rotary controller, Bluetooth, reversing camera, electric windows, front fog lamps, cruise control, Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Traffic Sign Assist.
Inside, there is seating for five and the cabin of the new X-Class has some very familiar Mercedes switchgear. But it’s all set into a durable base of hard plastics so this still very much feels like a working vehicle. Yet the steering wheel and instrument dials look and feel of good quality so there is a pleasant layer of refinement to the cabin. The X-shaped air vents are another nice detail.
So what’s the Mercedes-Benz X-Class like to drive?
Built on a solid ladder type steel frame, Mercedes has tuned the spring and damping system for superior comfort and invested in some extra sound deadening materials. On the road the Mercedes-Benz X-Class is surprisingly refined and comfortable once you get it up to speed. The X220d with 163bhp is coarse and is hardly fast but it does the job and settles down at cruising speeds.
The suspension can be a bit bouncy over rougher road surfaces but long distance cruising on larger roads is not a problem. The steering is predictably slow but once you get the hang of it the X-Class is far from useless when the road gets twisty.
The selectable 4MATIC with low-range gearing makes the Mercedes-Benz X-Class excellent for off-roading and there’s also a hill descent mode. Ground clearance is also very good. I went off-road in the X-Class and I felt far more adventurous than I usually do!
The Mercedes-Benz X-Class certainly carries a premium over other more mainstream brands offering the same sort of working vehicle. The X-Class can’t disguise its tough utilitarian roots so buyers expecting something akin to an E-Class will be disappointed! But for sure being a Mercedes-Benz means there is a refined element to the new X-Class, yet this is no show pony: it’s the X-Class’ capability on- and off-road that will truly endear it to owners.
Model tested: Mercedes-Benz X-Class 220d 4MATIC Progressive
Price: €43,995 (Range from €39,950)
Engine: 2.3-litre turbo diesel
0-100km/h: 12.9 seconds
Top speed: 170km/h
Claimed Economy: 7.6/100km
CO2 emissions: 200g/km
Motor tax: €333 per year (commercial)