Mercedes is aiming to fill a gap in the global market for a premium pick-up. Its new X-Class is loaded with kit from its upmarket SUVs and saloons, to appeal to business and fleet users who wouldn’t normally give a truck a second glance. Naturally there’s a price to pay – in this case, it’s £36,612 plus options. We’re planning to see whether the X-Class is a good investment as the new premium pick-up joins our fleet.
We collected our car from sales executive Craig Guzzardi at the Orwell Van Centre, near Ipswich, Suffolk. Craig was very helpful, and showed us everything we needed to know about the X-Class. Our X 250 d has a 187bhp 2.3-litre four-cylinder diesel engine and a seven-speed automatic gearbox. It’s very much the mid-range model, because there is a lower-powered version of the same engine available, as well as a muscular V6 diesel.
Our Progressive spec includes alloy wheels, automatic wipers and electric heated mirrors, as well as a long list of optional extras. Firstly, there is the bering white metallic paint and 18-inch alloys (upgraded over the standard 17s), as well as the tinted rear windows and anodised roof rails of the Style pack (£2,628).
Then there’s the Comfort pack (£1,482), which adds electric seats, climate control, LED headlights and a man-made leather interior using a suede-like material. It looks and feels just as upmarket as the real thing, but saves the animals – and the planet – a lot of trouble, so we’re fans of that feature.
Add the Winter pack (£408) and those seats are heated, as are the washers, plus our truck has the 360-degree camera Parking pack (£1,098). Large vehicles such as this are tough to park accurately, even when you’ve been driving them for years as I have, so it’s useful to get a 360-degree view of the pick-up from above.
As we intend to use the X-Class for the purpose it was built – to tow and carry big loads – there is a tow bar and a retractable load bed cover to keep our track tools and tyres safe and dry. The final £45,217 price is close to that of the flagship Power, but we’ve spent nearly £8,500 to get it there.
Craig also took us through the Audio 20 infotainment system – which was helpful, because it isn’t the most intuitive set-up. Owners of previous Mercedes will be familiar with the click-wheel control in the centre console, but with multiple inputs available from that and the touchpad, it’s easy to make errors. My colleagues in the office tell me it’s simple enough to get used to, though, so hopefully I will be flicking through the menus with ease before long.
Oddly for an upmarket vehicle there’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but you can use your phone as a music player via USB or Bluetooth, plus there’s hands-free calling as you’d expect. The USB port is in the centre armrest, which unfortunately means running a lead along the console and across the dashboard if you want to mount and charge your phone while driving.
For those who have yet to embrace the MP3 revolution, the system also has a CD player – remember those? And if you don’t have a navigation app on your smartphone, you can use the built-in sat-nav sourced from Garmin.
We haven’t been running the X-Class for long, but from the first mile you can tell it’s a step above its pick-up rivals. While the running gear and chassis are from Nissan’s Navara, Mercedes has done more than simply upgrade the trim and slap a badge on the grille.
It’s worked its magic on the ride; this is the best in class, with the crashing and shuddering of competitors all but eliminated. The X-Class has a well-damped, smooth ride, and even body roll when cornering is minimised.
Is that worth the premium price alone? We’ll be aiming to find out over the next few months.
*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.