This is the world’s first true premium bakkie – well, minus some models Lincoln and Cadillac because those are only sold in the USA. Most probably the most anticipated bakkie since it was introduced to the world in 2016, it’s finally landed in South Africa! I headed down to George, Western Cape to sample this new bakkie.
Here are my thoughts…
As you may already know, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class shares a lot from the Nissan Navara. With that said Mercedes-Benz has left no stone unturned in terms of the cars underpinnings and interior. When one focuses their attention on the exterior of the X-Class it’s mainly the cars side profile between the front door a rear door that looks identical to the Nissan Navara. Mercedes-Benz has reworked the rest of the exterior to give it that distinct Benz look.
The good, the bad, the ugly:
Stepping into the X-Class it feels like a rather familiar place with a bit of the Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
The good: the seats are very comfortable, the steering wheel is lifted straight from the C-Class, the tablet screen that sits on top of the dashboard, and the command control is an awesome piece of kit which is easy to use once you get used to it.
The bad: Some of the material are some hard plastic which I’m sure Mercedes-Benz would hide behind the term “ruggedness”, and the lack of space for simple things such as your mobile phone and house keys.
The ugly: the key fob is an exact copy of the Navara with a Mercedes-Benz logo on it.
Though sharing the same underpinnings as the Nissan Navara, Mercedes-Benz has gone through great lengths to improving X-Class over the Navara. They’ve completely redone the suspension, front and rear, while offering a wider track for more on road handling.
The X-Class has been launched with two variants for different lifestyles and working environments I suppose. The Progressive (for the more workhorse feel) and a Power model (more lifestyle and a bit more cash in your bank account type of buyer). The Progressive model starts at R642 103, and the Power model starting at R 791,270.
The X-Class shares the same engines with the Navara. You get the same 2.3-litre four-cylinder
turbodiesel with different power outputs. X220d develops 120kW and the X250d develops 140 kW. The X 220 d is available in rear-wheel drive, while the X 250 d is offered in rear-wheel drive or with engageable all-wheel drive, with low-range. Power is transferred via a six speed manual transmission or a seven-speed automatic, depending on the model.
Mercedes-Benz will be releasing the X350d next year (2019). It will be powered by a 3.0-litre
turbocharged V6 diesel engine, developing 190 kW of power and a mighty 550 Nm, coupled with Mercs seven-speed 7G-Tronic Plus auto box with steering wheel shift paddles.
I sampled both the X220d and X250d on some of the most treacherous off-road terrain I’ve ever seen in my life which included Devils Peak and on some of the most beautiful roads I’ve ever seen. Off-road the X-Class is composed and did not lose its composure for a second. It’s capable. On-road the X-Class is what you’d expect it to be – quite, refined and delivers a smooth and comfortable ride.
On-road the X250d coupled with the 7-speed automatic was a gem!
Mercedes-Benz has done a good job with the X-Class but I don’t see it dethroning the likes of the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger and VW Amarok. With that said I think that X-Class is a good fit for those who already who are loyal to the Merc brand and want to keep it in the family, or for those who want a premium bakkie but also want to be adventurous.