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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Mercedes' new pick-up with the X factor

* The new Mercedes with X Class.

Mercedes X-Class V6 road test by Steve Rogers

Meet the Mercedes X-Class, the poshest pick-up on the planet.

The planet? Okay, that's pushing it a bit but posh, pick-up and planet trip nicely off the tongue.

There are lots of custom pick-ups layered in gleaming chrome with outrageous paint jobs strutting their stuff at the classic car shows but as far as a working pick-up goes this is the best you will find in Europe.

Mercedes launched the X-Class early last year but with just a four-cylinder diesel which is a tad agricultural. Bring on the mighty 3-litre V6, an engine to help this pick-up stand out from the rest.

On the back of the surge in SUV popularity double cab pick-ups are almost the new fashion statement, and there are plenty to choose from. As well as the updated versions from diehards like Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Ford, Izuzu and SsangYong we have seen unlikely entries from Fiat and Mercedes-Benz.

But when it comes to a juicy V6 the choice is limited to Volkswagen Amorak or X-Class, and here the Merc streaks away with the dash to sixty taking just over seven seconds, a top speed approaching 130mph and a whopping lump of torque.

Does anyone really want to spend 40 grand on a pick-up? According to| Mercedes this is what their customers have been waiting for. No point in having the three-pointed star on the front grille if it can't beat the rest.

Is it really practical? Of course it is. This is a workhorse like any other pick up, able to haul three and a half tons, while getting muddy off road is just another day at the office. Like its four-cylinder sibling X-Class sits on a Nissan Navara chassis and shares the multi-link rear suspension.

This is key to the way X-Class behaves, particularly on public roads, and sets it apart from rivals that do not use this car like technology.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves and say this drives with the same comfort as a sports utility let alone a car but how X-Class manages poorer road surfaces is a couple of levels ahead of most rivals. Of course there are times when you are bobbling in the seat but the suspension makes a good fist of cushioning occupants against pot holes and such like.

This feeling of riding in something up market extends into the cabin where the layout and materials are pure Mercedes and move up a level from the four-cylinder X-Class.

The familiar high definition seven inch screen operated via a rotary controller and touch pad between the seats takes care of the majority of functions, apart from the heating which is good old fashioned switches. There are most of the creature comforts to be found in a top end SUV, the all round camera is brilliant, but one area X-Class is lacking is space for oddments. The cabin has been designed to look pretty but in reality it is pretty poor when looking for somewhere to store a mobile phone and such like. I put mine in the glasses holder in the roof lining.

Like a Mercedes car, the ride can be adjusted electronically and that extends to the full on four wheel drive and hill descent systems.

Enough. Let's get to the meaty end of our posh pick-up. The V6 has been round long enough to be honed and refined and delivers what is expected... performance. Best part is the mid range torque which is huge and gives a nice feeling of security when overtaking. Floor the accelerator and you are away.

Steering wheel paddle shifters for the eight speed auto can be handy for downshifts into bends if cracking along in the sport setting but it is as well to be aware of the slight delay in throttle response, particularly at roundabouts, when using the economy setting.

Expect anything between 25-30mpg but exploit that performance too often and you will be into the teens.

Whatever your take on a plush pick up there are points that need to be clear. It is not the answer to a big SUV but there are certainly tax benefits if chosen as a company car. The level of comfort is way above expectation as is the premium feel to the cabin but this is still a working pick up so don't expect miracles.

For this sort of money you could buy a seven seater SUV with all the bells and whistles and better economy but using this for family transport is not out of the question.

Key facts
X-Class 350d V6
3-litre; 258bhp
550Nm torque
Max payload 1067kg
0-62mph 7.6secs
31.4mpg combined

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