2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class 

By Tim Pomroy on 31 October 2018
Mercedes XClass 2016 Mercedes Benz CLA AMG
Quick Facts
Make Mercedes-Benz
Model X-Class
Body type Ute

No Navara clone
Class-leading levels of quietness and refinement


Lack of cabin storage space

Country of manufacture Germany
Priced from $52,400


Number of cylinders 4
Engine size 2.3 L
Claimed max power (kW) 140 kW
Claimed max torque (Nm) 450 Nm

Type 7-speed auto

Fuel Consumption
Claimed fuel consumption 5.8L/100km

The Mercedes-Benz X-Class is the luxury carmaker’s first ever ute and much more than just a rebadged Nissan Navara. Prior to the X-Class launch, there was much industry chatter about Mercedes’ decision to partner with Nissan and use the Navara commercial range as a starting point for its first ever ute. Was it classic ‘badge engineering’ (a common practice back in the 1990s, where the only point of difference was literally the badge) or did it go much deeper?

What is it?

Mercedes needed a fast and cost-efficient way to enter the growing dual cab ute market. The chassis and engine/transmission package is shared (until the arrival of the V6), but Mercedes has tweaked almost everything else.

How much is it?

The X 250d dual cab is available in three guises: the entry-level Pure, mid-spec Progressive and top-of-the-range Power. Prices start at $52,400 for the Pure six-speed manual, with the seven-speed auto a $2900 option. The Progressive manual is $54,900 and the Power manual is $61,600. This pricing structure means the range begins at the upper end of the dual-cab ute segment, with Ford’s Wildtrak 3.2 ($62,790) and Volkswagen’s V6 Amarok Ultimate ($68,490) being obvious competitors.

What are the features?

The Nissan four-cylinder 2.3-litre diesel engine, matched to a seven-speed auto, develops 140kW and 450Nm. Mercedes’ 4MATIC AWD system, with low-range and standard differential lock, handles the tough stuff. The basic suspension design is lifted from the Navara’s double wishbone front axle and multi-link coils at the rear, but with Mercedes-developed springs and dampers. Like the Navara, the X-Class can tow up to 3500kg.

The Power’s standard features list is extensive, headed by an infotainment COMAND system with navigation and touchpad. There’s also climate control, keyless entry/button start, LED headlamps, leather trim, rear-view camera, digital audio with eight speakers, and 18-inch alloy wheels. welcome change it now impinges on space, of which there is not a lot apart from two small cup holders and a small storage compartment in front of the gear lever (that also houses a 12-volt charger) which ended up being the place for the key.

Is there anything interesting about its design?

While the body structure is shared with the Navara, it’s clothed in all-new Mercedes-designed sheet metal. Park the X-Class next to a Navara and the differences become apparent. It’s hard to miss the three-pointed star sitting in the grille. Wider front bumpers reinforce its wide stance and it has a softer, less rugged and, dare I say it, more sophisticated presence. The interior is unmistakably Mercedes and the dash-mounted air vents, infotainment screen and gauges ahead of the driver are the most indicative.

We also spent time in the Navara recently, so comparisons are inevitable. The driving position feels the same and the steering column, like the Navara’s, is adjustable for tilt only. Differences include a more supportive feel to the leather-trimmed electric front seats, and greater suppleness on the leather of the steering wheel. Our only quibble is that the control system for the infotainment mounted in the centre console takes up valuable storage space.

The cabin is remarkably quiet and the normal mechanical clatter from a diesel engine is barely audible, even under hard acceleration. The work done to reduce NVH levels has given the X-Class a level of refinement that few in the category can match. It’s the same for ride and handling, where it feels tauter and less inclined to move around on its springs compared to other dual cabs.

The verdict

The end result reflects Mercedes’ long history of producing some of the safest and most innovative commercial vehicles. Its engineering input gives the X-Class its own personality, and it’s far removed from the badge engineering efforts of bygone eras.

This article was originally published in the Open Road November / December 2018 magazine.

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