See the first Mercedes pick-up due in November with prices from €40k
First drive in Cape Town: Mercedes X-Class
Mercedes will introduce their new X-Class pick-up here in November, and I expect prices to start under €40,000 (including VAT).
Because premium rivals such as BMW, Audi and Volvo have nothing similar on the horizon, expect Mercedes to pick up strong business for their new motor.
It has muscular Merc SUV styling out front - as you can see - but underneath lies an intriguing tale. The engine, transmissions and 4WD on 4cyl version are all Nissan's (from the Navara pick-up).
The ladder chassis from the Navara is carried over. But there's additional bracing (by Mercedes) to cope with the V6 engine's additional torque. These revisions applied to all X-Class variants.
While of a similar wheelbase to the Navara, it is 85mm longer and 70mm wider. They've also made wider rear axle/front suspension wishbones. Spring rates and dampers are tuned to Mercedes specs too; so is electronic stability control.
While the 4cyl engines are Nissan's, the V6 (X350d) and transmission are Mercedes' as is the permanent 4WD system. The Navara's multi-link rear suspension has been carried over too but Mercedes have revised the settings.
Inside is much more typical Merc with special attention to seat comfort. That's important because while Mercedes say the X-Class will suit all lifestyles and work environments, I see its major appeal being a premium on-road driver with light off-road use (business owners can reclaim VAT on it too).
The X-Class can haul up to 1.1 tonnes and has a 3.5-tonne towing capacity. It also claims to be the only mid-size pick-up with lighting in the cargo area as standard. The load bed is wide enough to fit a Euro-pallet between the wheel arches so it has the credentials to be a workhorse too.
There are three variants: Pure (for robust use); Progressive (more crossover-like feel/comfort; and Power (for urban lifestyles).
You can choose from nine colours, a variety of 17in to 19in rims and three choices of cockpit trim as well as a spread of materials and colours.
Individualisation options include styling bar, side bar, canopy, various covers etc.
Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Traffic Sign Assist are among several safety technologies.
The Mercedes Me connect means you are linked to the car via smartphone at all times. There is also a Command online multimedia system with 8.4in diagonal screen - great quality from its 360-degree cameras and sat nav maps. And the instrument cluster echoes C-Class and V-Class ranges with a 5.4in multimedia display between the dials.
I think Mercedes have come up with a winner here - a pick-up with the X-factor.
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