Ever since it was announced, the Mercedes Benz X-Class has divided opinions. Is the criticism valid? Has it unfairly been dismissed before it has had the chance to prove itself?
Thanks to the team at Trucks and Trailers New Zealand, we got the chance to test drive all the models in the X-Class range, from the base model Pure to the top spec Power. The V6 Power model, which comes out later on this year will take things to a new level of performance.
Some say it is nothing more than a re-branded Nissan Navara. Others say there are enough things that make it a unique Ute?
Like many things, the criticism is to be expected. A couple of years ago, the Navara was criticised heavily for its below standard towing capacity and payload. Although they are number one and two in the best selling vehicles list, a lot of people don’t like the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux.
Like its other popular vehicles, Mercedes has made a big investment into the suspension of the X-Class range. As the Car Sales Australia website notes “it features heavier coil springs at all four corners plus re-valved dampers and thicker anti-roll bars.”
The chassis is reinforced with cross bracing. On the road, it’s definitely a lot more noticeable because you don’t feel the hard turns or bumps like you do with the Navara.
One of my friends (an electrician) drives an XLT Ford Ranger and he noted how the shock absorbers of the X-Class were, in his words “a bit better than the Ranger.”
Across the the range, you’ve got a 3.5 tonne maximum towing capacity. It’s 5350mm long, 1819mm high and 1920mm wide, making it 70mm wider than the Navara, so you’ll have no issues fitting a full size pallet in the tray space at the back.
In our towing capacity of Utes article, a couple of you made an interesting observation about how drastically the towing capacity is reduced when you have heavier people in the vehicle and a lot of heavy equipment in the tray space. We put that question directly to Trucks and Trailers and got this response.
“The GVM (gross vehicle mass) is 6,130T – so there is more than enough capability to do it.”
Walking around the two Utes, you do pick up on certain things which are unique to the German brand. The front headlights and grille definitely look a lot more Mercedes than Nissan.
As Driven writer Liz Dobson noted, “the bonnet of the X-Class was intentionally made high to show strength” with the LED daytime running lights typical of the brand.”
It’s when you go inside that you really begin to notice the difference in quality and class. The inside definitely has more of an SUV type of feel than a workhorse Ute, which is excellent for the on road driving experience. The 21.3cm multimedia system is very user friendly and you’ll normally find what you’re looking for in moments. The 8 speaker sound system is a class above too, outputting very clear audio and call sound. The problem a lot of audio systems have is the echo effect. Mercedes has thankfully taken this into consideration and eliminated the problem before it even existed.
There is one glaring problem though in some of the models? Where is the cup holder? The glove box space is also smaller than the Amarok and Ranger.
The air conditioning systems have a unique windmill look and heat up or cool down the ute in moments.
The safety features are pretty comprehensive. You’ve got cruise control, lane keep assist, trailer stability assist, a crystal clear reversing camera and an awesome 360 degree reverse camera, the best I’ve seen in a Ute.
The X-Class has emergency autonomous braking, a very useful feature if you’re using the Ute for work and business. It is also something no 2018 Navara has. New Zealand is known for its narrow and winding roads, which are exacerbated in wet and windy weather. The more safety features you’ve got, the more peace of mind you have getting behind the wheel.
You’re not just paying more for the brand. You’re paying more for a smoother drive and a Ute that can handle those tough conditions and heavier loads a little bit better.
It was a lot of fun driving the various Mercedes Benz X-Class models. With the new V6 version launching soon, it’ll be interesting to see how it performs against the more established brands. My feeling is that its future lies in the top end models. But only time will tell.
If you’d like to find out more about leasing or financing the Mercedes Benz X-Class, give us a call today on 0800 275374. Or fill in the quote request form below and we’ll touch base with you pronto.
*Pricing is correct at the time of writing and is subject to change.