Mercedes-Benz X-Class (2018-2020) Review
Pick-up chic with a premium interior: the new Mercedes X-Class brings luxury to the utilitarian segment
Strengths & weaknesses
- Stylish: It's a pick-up to be proud of
- Refinement: Surprisingly comfortable
- Interior: By far the most stylish in the segment
- Price: It's very expensive
- Work ethic: Lacks some of the more practical pick-up touches
- Body styles: Currently limited to just double-cab
Demand for pick-up trucks in the UK shows no sign of abating and with more and more company car customers turning towards the XL machines because of favourable tax breaks. Many manufacturers have spotted a gap in the market for a more luxurious, everyday pick-up proposition.
The Mercedes-Benz X-Class is fundamentally a Nissan Navara underneath its sharp suit (even the key fobs are identical) but it ushers in a level of refinement and interior luxury that has previously been missing from the marketplace.
A full leather interior, the latest infotainment offering and Mercedes' typical eye for detail can be seen throughout the cabin, while the exterior boasts chrome trim elements, dazzling LED lights and an unmistakable Mercedes-Benz front grille.
On top of this, the new X-Class is offered with all of the optional trappings of any modern luxury vehicle, including the ability to add eye-catching metallic paints, wood grain interior trim elements and the latest online satellite navigation systems.
There is no point offering such levels of refinement if the vehicle still feels like an unwieldy piece of farm machinery to drive, which is why Mercedes instructed its crack team of engineers to work on the already very good Nissan Navara underpinnings.
The steering is light but direct, the sophisticated suspension at the front and rear makes everyday driving comfortable and the plethora of on-board assistance systems (parking sensors, 360-degree cameras) make manoeuvring the gigantic Merc that little bit easier.
However, there's no masking the utilitarian roots of this machine and there are some sacrifices to make over the typical range of Germanic saloons and coupes but it is really a two horse race between the X-Class and the Volkswagen Amarok in terms of overall comfort and driveability.
However, despite the four-door, double-cab body style, there's not a lot of legroom for rear passengers and despite the modern suspension system; the ride can feel fidgety and uncomfortable over rutted surfaces.
Plus, there's an extremely limited body style range currently on offer, with the only option being a four-door, double-cab set-up. This is great for everyday practicality but it does limit the bed length somewhat and does impact the size of the load it can haul.
On top of this, some of the more traditional pick-up elements, such as bed floor-mounted lashing points, are replaced by over-engineered sliding rails that make it quite tricky to secure bulky or odd-shaped loads.
Also, the interior is designed to be as car-like as possible, which means it looks great but it lacks some of the more functional storage bins and cubbyholes to stash work gloves and other building site accoutrements.
That said, it's still a mightily capable machine, with true all-wheel-drive abilities and a low-range gearbox helping the X-Class tackle some tough terrain, as well as a 200mm ground clearance (with the option to increase to 220mm) seeing it able to wade through water with finesse.
Of course, there is a price to pay for such luxury and refinement, with range-topping X 250d 4Matic Power models easily breaching the £40,000 mark.
In fact, even the entry-level vehicles cost over £32,000, making it as expensive as the most lavish Nissan Navara, upon which the X-Class is based.
Whether or not the customer deems that hefty premium worth it or not will really depend on personal taste and how much they appreciate the finer things in life.
|Warranty||3 years/Unlimited miles|
|Tax||From April 2018 £1,200 in the first year, £140 thereafter|
Best Mercedes-Benz X Class for...
Best for Economy – Mercedes-Benz 220 d 4Matic Pure
The entry-level model still comes very well equipped but boasts the lowest asking price and emits 200g/km of CO2, making it the cheapest to tax.
Best for Families – Mercedes-Benz 250 d 4Matic Power
Only the more powerful diesel engine is offered in the ultra-luxurious Power trim level, which comes with a full leather interior and plenty of technology. Plus, this model can also be specified with the seven-speed automatic transmission.
Understanding Mercedes-Benz X Class names
Engine 220 d
Just one diesel engine is currently offered but in two states of tune: a 163hp 220 d model and a 190hp 250 d version. An X 350 d, with a V6 engine producing 258hp, is planned for mid-2018.
Gearbox 6 Speed Manual
6-speed shows that the car has six gears. Customers can choose between a standard six-speed manual transmission and a seven-speed automatic, which is only available on X 250 d models.
There are three trim levels on offer, with each level costing more but offering additional comfort and luxury features. Power, the most lavish trim level, is only offered in the higher-powered X 250 d models.
Body style 4 door
The X-Class is currently only offered in a four-door double-cab body style.
Mercedes-Benz X Class Engines
X 220 d and X 250 d
Just one engine is used by Mercedes-Benz to power its inaugural pick-up truck and that's the very familiar, very smooth 2298cc turbocharged four-cylinder unit that is also used in the Nissan Navara range and the soon-to-be-released Renault Alaskan, which also shares much of its underpinnings with the Japanese model.
It is available in two states of tune, with the higher powered X 250 d also offered with a silky smooth seven-speed automatic gearbox, which should be a consideration for those who intend to use their X-Class as a commuter tool, as it takes the strain out of stop-start traffic and suits this more powerful engine.
Granted, acceleration isn't exactly blistering (the 0-62mph sprint takes 12.9 seconds in the X 220 d and 11.8 seconds in the X 250 d) but it is more than powerful enough for brisk overtaking manoeuvres.
It will appear fairly noisy compared to the more refined Mercedes-Benz models but it is actually very quiet compared to rival pick-up trucks, while extensive work has been carried out to improve sound deadening in the cabin, making it a relatively peaceful place to while away the motorway miles.
Mercedes-Benz says that a more powerful V6 engine is on its way, which will bring the engine range in-line with the Volkswagen Amarok and will likely offer the sort of grunt that premium pick-up customers are looking for. This will be coming to the UK in summer 2018.
That said, even the lower powered engine is perfectly capable of hauling 3,300kg of unbraked trailer load and its slightly lower kerbweight means it can accept a 1,087kg payload in the rear bed, bettering the X 250 d by around 20kg.
An official fuel economy figure of 37.2mpg (combined) seems a little hopeful, as its more likely that most users will find the electronic readout on the dash displays something more like 34mpg.
0 - 62mph
X 220 d
X 250 d
Mercedes-Benz X Class Trims
Pure, Progressive, Power
Customers looking for the full luxury treatment may be left a tad disappointed by the entry-level Pure models, as they eschew the leather and chrome accents inside for more basic plastic flooring, fabric seats and other hardwearing materials, while the exterior misses out on the chrome door handles, LED taillights and striking chrome radiator grille.
That said, there's still plenty of standard equipment to write home about, including cruise control, a fantastic 7-inch high-definition media screen with Bluetooth, a DAB radio, a reverse camera, fog lights, LED load are lighting ISOFIX attachments for child seats inside.
Stepping up to the Progressive trim level adds a more comprehensive eight-speaker sound system, rounded covers on the instrument dials, chrome air vents and slightly more lavish carpet flooring on the inside.
Outside, these models are treated to painted bumpers, aluminium doorsills, chrome door handles and heated exterior mirrors. Plus, convenience features, such as the automatic windscreen wipers, are also added.
Naturally, many customers are going to plump for the top-spec Power line models, as these feature a full leather interior, electrically adjustable seats, an aluminium interior trim package, interior ambient lighting and handy keyless go.
The exterior receives painted bumpers with a simulated chrome under-guard, fog lights with chrome surround, and a high-performance LED front and rear lighting system.
There's also a number of additional packages that can be added, which see things like the useful 360-degree parking camera and heated washer fluid jets thrown in for extra cash.
It's very easy to go crazy with the optional extras and end up spending big on the X-Class but this will be in the pursuit of the sort of luxurious niceties that many customers come to expect from their premium company cars.
The important safety features, such as lane keep assist, hill start assist, tyre pressure monitoring system and eCall automatic emergency response, which can notify the emergency services and give a detailed GPS location in the event of an accident, all come as standard across the range.
Mercedes-Benz X Class Reliability and warranty
The Mercedes-Benz X-Class is too new to comment on its reliability, but it is built on an extremely robust platform and uses tried-and-tested technology inside, so should prove to be a solid companion on the road and off.
On top of this, Mercedes-Benz offers free dedicated roadside assistance with the X-Class, which means the vehicle is covered by the marque's MobiloVan scheme that it claims sees 80 per cent of vehicles repaired on the roadside to minimise downtime for business users.
Used Mercedes-Benz X Class
The X-Class has been on sale for just under a year, so a fair few have made it onto the used market.
Nearly new high-spec models are infrequently popping up at around £37,500 - a useful £2,500 saving from new.