Mercedes has tried not to go so far upmarket that their planned pick-up is next to useless for any practical purposes. That’s a bit of a balancing act that has defeated others, so how is Mercedes differentiating the new X-Class?
The aim and the claim is that the X-Class is a rugged pick-up capable of going off-road and doing some work, while at the same time it is a comfy vehicle for families to use in more urban environments. And those urban centres are not initially going to be European cities since this is a vehicle built primarily for South America, Australia, Southern Africa and generally all places South of the Equator.
It’s been tested in those environments, so it should be able to handle both wilderness and civilization. The basics are rugged enough. There’s the traditional separate chassis, with a body featuring a four-door crew-cab with pick-up body. Selectable or permanent four-wheel drive works with a low-range transfer case via a six-speed manual or a seven-speed auto transmission, so this ought to be able to handle more than a grass verge.
Mercedes-Benz X-Class pick-up
There will be four engines on offer: a 161bhp diesel in the X220d; a 187bhp X250d; a 163bhp petrol and, later, a 255bhp V6 diesel. With the longest wheelbase in the class, it can tow a 3.5-tonne load and the pick-up bed can handle 1042kg.
Being a Mercedes there is some useful safety tech like Lane Keeping Assist, Active Brake Assist and Traffic Sign Assist. Comand infotainment and 360-degree cameras are options, and there are three dashboard finishes, six upholstery choices and three trim levels although it is reckoned most will go for the higher Power or Progressive trims.
With long-travel suspension, in theory it will be comfy on-road and will have adequate travel for some off-road driving, although you can tweak that via the driving modes, from Comfort to Off-Road. But theory is only halfway useful, so we took it off-road, on a race track and up…