Mercedes have revealed their all new X-Class, an off-roader for a more civilised age. But with performance pick ups like the Raptor, will it be up to standard?
Now of course there are many factors that go into making a good, reliable pick up truck. First being that it needs to be tough. Real tough…
There is no point what so ever building a big, beefy, go anywhere vehicle if it whimpers and falls apart at the first sight of a daffodil or a broken twig, conveniently placed in your path.
So how tough exactly is the new X-Class?
Well according to Mercedes, they’ve fixed the long term issues of modern design while having uncompromised robustness. The X-Class can haul a payload of up to 1.1 tonnes. That is enough to transport 17 full 50-litre barrels of beer in the cargo area. Able to tow up to 3.5 tonnes, it can also pull a trailer containing three horses or an eight-metre yacht.
So sure, it can tow things. But can it go off-road?
Well, Mercedes seem to think so. The X-Class is the first pickup to deliver both excellent off- and on-road performance. The wide track, long wheelbase and comfortable spring and damping tuning typical of a Mercedes open up a new world of driving enjoyment and driving dynamics on the road – without resulting in compromises when off-road.
The comfort suspension is designed in such a way that it achieves a high level of driving dynamics and ride comfort on the road, while also delivering maximum off-road capability in conjunction with 4MATIC all-wheel drive.
With 1632 millimetres at the front and 1625 millimetres at the rear, the X-Class has a wider track than most competitors. This provides the ideal prerequisites for optimum driving stability and higher cornering speeds.
At 3150 millimetres, the wheelbase is also longer than many other mid-size pickups. This reduces vibrations during the journey and makes for smooth and reliable straight-running stability.
The comfort suspension is part of the standard equipment in all European markets. Its ground clearance is 202 millimetres. A 20-millimetre higher suspension is available as an optional extra. The increased ground clearance improves off-road capability even further, including a higher seat position and sharper off-road look. In all markets outside Europe, the X-Class comes with the higher suspension as standard.
Now as nice as that all sounds, to me the new X-Class still doesn’t give me that sense of confidence I could go and throw it around the sand dunes of Namibia or wade through the rocky climate of wales. To me it looks a little bit too clean, like a footballer who’s not that keen on getting their hair wet.
That being said, I do have to give Mercedes points on its equipment.
To my pleasant surprise the X-Class has active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist and Traffic Sign Assist. Additionally, there are Trailer Stability Assist, a tyre pressure monitoring system, emergency call system, cruise control and LED headlamps that deliver the brightest light output in the segment thanks to six LEDs respectively. If required, a 360-Degree Camera is available in addition to a reversing camera.
So it’s definitely not short of kit to entertain your kids on the school run.
So what about the power?
Well, this may cause some divided opinion. Mercedes say at market launch the X-Class will feature two four-cylinder engines with a displacement of 2.3 litres, both available with a choice of two power outputs.
In the X 220D with a single turbocharger it generates 163 hp and in the bi-turbo X 250D no less than 190 hp. Power is transferred to the bulky wheels by a six-speed manual transmission. Also, a seven-speed automatic transmission is available on request for the 190 hp X 250D and X 250D 4MATIC models.
This seems still a rather low power output for something designed for be off-roading in a muddy field. So what are Mercedes going to do? Stick a 258bhp V6 in it of course! The V6 model will be released mid-2018 so sorry folks, you’ll need to wait for the grunty engine.
Overall, is it a Raptor killer? We don’t think so… The X-Class is however a very new and different take from the traditional pickup stereotype, which is most welcome. Only time will tell how this new venture for Mercedes performs in the real world environment!