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It would seem that double cab trucks are all the rage. Well, they must be; Mercedes-Benz went and made one! Dipping their toe into unchartered waters, Mercedes-Benz have partnered with Nissan in the creation and development of their new X-Class. Car companies often do this to cut costs. Another example would be the new BMW Z4 and Toyota Supra collaboration.

Nissan provided the base and Mercedes-Benz completed the meal with the toppings. Obviously, these “toppings” are unique and in-line with the brand’s premium image. The X350d is the flagship in the range, offering Mercedes-Benz’s outstanding 3.0-liter turbo diesel motor that is paired with their slick-shifting 7-speed automatic gearbox. The X350d comes standard with the permanent four-wheel drive system, 4MATIC. I tested that vehicle during a rainy patch and was very impressed with its prodigious grip levels. In fact, this bakkie/truck is the least utilitarian of all its competition. Far more SUV-like, the X350d is truly a premium product.

Not just a rapid rock, yes – this V6 sprints to 100km/h in a meagre 7.9 seconds, but the X 350d is more than comfortable and quick. It offers a low-range reduction gear and differential lock on the rear axle ensures excellent performance and traction on a wide range of driving surfaces.

 

There are three all-wheel-drive modes to choose from: 4MATIC for increased vehicle dynamics, 4H for improved traction off-road, and 4L for tough off-road terrain. The all-wheel-drive system paired with the suspension with its long spring travel and ground clearance of 222 millimetres, the X-Class V6 effortlessly climbs gradients of up to 45 degrees, fords water courses with a depth of up to 600 millimetres and maintains its poise on inclines of almost 50 degrees.

The X-Class range is offered in two “blankets of regalia” so to speak. These are PROGRESSIVE and POWER, with only the entry-level X220d being offered in Progressive kit.

 

The PROGRESSIVE line includes 17-inch, 6-spoke light-alloy wheels, air vents in electroplated silver chrome, a leather-lined steering wheel and parking brake, the infotainment system Audio 20, and an eight-speaker system.

 

The POWER line includes a simulated, chrome-plated underride guard in the front bumper, a chrome-plated rear bumper, 18-inch 6-spoke light-alloy wheels, LED High-Performance headlamps, electrically adjustable seats, and the infotainment system Audio 20 with a multifunctional touchpad.

 

Being a Mercedes-Benz, safety is paramount. Occupant protection is provided by the particularly robust body shell with its high-strength passenger cell, plus a structure whose front and rear sections can absorb energy by specific deformation.

 

For passive safety, the standard equipment includes seven airbags and the i-Size attachment system for two child seats. With optional Active Brake Assist and Traffic Sign Assist, two driver assistance systems are at the ready to simultaneously increase active safety and comfort. Additionally, the X350d 4MATIC – as the top model of the X-Class –also features Active Lane Keeping Assist as an option.

So, the question remains: does the new X-Class drive like a re-dressed Nissan Navara? Speaking from the X350d 4MATIC, the top of the range model, in comparison to the high-end Navara 2.3 D Double Cab. Let’s start with pricing, the Benz begins at R650 000 for its entry-level X220d and tops out at R985 000 for the X350d Power model. Its brother from another mother, the Navara, begins at R485 000 and runs up to R647 500.

 

Albeit similar, these two products are different to vastly different depending on the model you buy. The X-Class is honed to a greater degree. Its refinement is evident but not perfect. There are still some cheap hard plastics in the cabin and a rather rudimentary automatic gearbox selector.

 

The X-Class makes a unique entry into the market as a premium product. Its closest rival, the VW Amarok is the bridge between price and product quality and offering. But if you have the cash, this product is a pleasure to drive as a daily commute while being very capable.

 

Plus +

  • It’s a premium functional vehicle
  • Luxurious
  • Solid
  • 350d is rapid

 

Minus –

  • Pricey
  • The steering has a large turning circle

 

The competition

Fiat Fullback, Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Mazda BT-50, Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux and Volkswagen Amarok.

 

The pricing

X220d Progressive R646 071

X250d Progressive R699 200

X250d 4MATIC Progressive R701 615

X250d 4MATIC Progressive auto R729 675

X250d 4MATIC Power R796 145

X250d 4MATIC Power auto R824 205

X350d 4MATIC Progressive auto R914 711

X350d 4MATIC Power auto R983 711

 

The service and warranty

The Mercedes-Benz X-Class comes standard with a 6-year/ 100 000km maintenance plan.

 

My choice

X250d 4MATIC Progressive auto R729 675

https://world.mercedes-benz.co.za/

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