Mercedes-Benz X-Class revealed: The Mercedes of pickup trucks
19 July 2017 - Autoblog
The new Mercedes-Benz X-Class is here, and it promises to be the most opulent and premium pickup around.
While this may seem like an all-new model for Mercedes, the X-Class is based on the Nissan Navara, the global successor to the Frontier. This gives the Mercedes some serious truck cred while allowing the German automaker to thoroughly customize its standards. Those hoping for a version here in North America will likely be sorely disappointed, as Mercedes announced plans to sell the X-Class in overseas markets, but not the United States.
The exterior is essentially a Nissan Navara with Mercedes-Benz styling front and rear. Not much has changed from the concept version. Still, it's a handsome thing, with the familiar two-bar and three-pointed star grille, LED-accented headlights, and a wide lower intake up front. The flat rear features another large emblem flanked by tall, thin tail lights. There's a large bar in the bed, presumably to mount lights. It also looks like roof rails and a tonneau cover are available on some trims.
Mercedes has attempted to make the exterior both good-looking and functional. As expected, the tailgate opens 90 degrees. If that's not quite enough, there's an option for a rear-bumper delete, increasing the opening angle to 180 degrees. The cargo area comes standard with lighting, and a light underneath the center brake light illuminates the entire bed. The bed is wide enough to fit a Euro-spec pallet flat in between the wheels. A 12-volt outlet comes standard.
There are three trim levels: Pure, Progressive, and Power. Each comes with different standard options. The X-Class comes in nine colors. There are 17-, 18-, and 19-inch wheel options, depending on the trim. Other options include running boards and an electrically operated sliding rear window. Pricing hasn't been announced.
The interior is far more Mercedes-like. It appears that nearly every surface and cubby has been touched by Mercedes designers - totally expected if it's to live up to the Mercedes name. The switches, knobs, and buttons have all been replaced with Mercedes hardware. The steering wheel, instrument cluster, and infotainment screen are all right out of the Mercedes-Benz parts bin. It's very reminiscent of the Euro-market Mercedes-Benz V-Class van. This is all a good thing, as Nissan isn't known for having the most luxurious interiors. Look for lots of wood and tough leather. This is still a truck, and Mercedes wants it to hold up as well as any other truck would in hard use.
The X-Class comes with a wide variety of options underneath the skin. There will be four engines, two transmissions, and three types of drive systems. There are two 2.3-liter inline-four diesel engines: a single-turbo engine with 163 horsepower and a bi-turbo engine with 190 horsepower. The later has two different-sized turbos, helping improve power all across the rev range. There is one gasoline engines: a 160-horsepower inline-four. Finally, there's a range-topping Mercedes-sourced 258 horsepower diesel V6. There are three transmissions, a six-speed manual and two seven-speed automatics. The X-Class comes in rear-wheel drive or selectable or permanent four-wheel drive, depending on the trim. The V6 only comes with Mercedes' 7G-Tronic Plus automatic and permanent four-wheel drive. Don't expect an AMG variant. An executive said at the reveal the X-Class has a towing capacity of 7,000 pounds.
While the Mercedes-Benz badging might make the X-Class appear soft, the suspension is still fairly tough. Coil springs are used both front and rear to improve the ride quality. The front uses double wishbones, while the rear uses a tried-and-true multi-link solid axle. That should help the X-Class handle a decent-sized load when tasked with it. The wide track and long wheelbase provide the truck with good stability and handling. Mercedes boasts that it's the only manufacturer in this segment to offer standard disc brakes at all four corners.
As with any modern Mercedes, the X-Class comes with a number of enhanced safety features. The truck is available with lane-keep assist, active emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, and a 360-degree camera.
As wonderful as all this may sound, only shoppers in Europe, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, and Brazil will have the opportunity to purchase an X-Class. Maybe if we shout enough, Mercedes will consider changing its stance, though that would surely require certifying engines for US emissions. Until then, look to the Big Three for the premium truck segment.