The moment of truth has arrived and today we are in the all new @mercedesbenzsa X-Class. Impressed by the looks, particularly the front with the dominant Mercedes-Benz badge on the grille. Side profile could be more Mercedes-Benz. 😉 The back is minimalistic and elegant. Driving impressions later. Pricing: X-Class X220d 4X2 Progressive (Manual) – R642,103 X-Class X250d 4X2 Progressive (Auto) – R694,025 X-Class X250d 4X4 Progressive (Manual)- R696,785 X-Class X250d 4X4 Progressive (Auto)- R723,810 X-Class X250d 4X4 Power (Manual) – R791,315 X-Class X250d 4X4 Power (Auto) – R818,340. Will you choose this over the competition? #chooseday #mercedesbenz #bakkie #xclass #mercedes #benz #george #tourism #uhuru
The long awaited X-Class has finally landed in Mzansi. The car has been grabbing local and international attention ever since Mercedes-Benz announced that it would be making a bakkie. As you would expect, this is not just a bakkie; in fact, Mercedes-Benz has billed it as the first premium bakkie. Before we get into the new X-Class, let us point out that Merc did not reinvent the wheel when making the X-Class. The car is in fact based on the Nissan Navara. Now that you know that, let us get into the new X-Class.
The exterior is striking, particularly the front. It has a large grille with a big Mercedes-Benz badge that makes the X-Class look imposing. You will struggle to not move over when you see it on your rear-view mirror. It looks like a large luxury Merc SUV rather than a bakkie. The side profile (barring the square side wheel archers) is where Merc could have done more. It is good looking but, it is very much Navara. Not a bad thing, the Navara’s side profile is one of the car’s best looking parts. It’s simple but stylish. Then again, the X-Class is the premium offering and accordingly you would have expected more here. The back is minimalistic and not boring at all.
The interior is pleasing for the first attempt in the segment by Merc but, there are areas Merc will need to improve on in the second iteration, particularly on the practical side. You could be forgiven for thinking that you are stepping into the likes of the C-Class when you set your foot inside the X-Class. It is designed to resemble premium Merc sedans and SUVs. The X-Class has a floating infotainment screen, air-vents with an X-Class design and a multifunction touchpad. Build quality is great with some hard plastics that remind you that you are in a workhorse, after all. Think of the balance that Merc strikes between purpose and style in other commercial offerings like the Vito for example, although, the X-Class does feel more premium than the former. The placement of the automatic gear lever sets the X-Class apart from its other offerings which have their gear lever mounted on the steering column.
The interior, as premium as it looks, can be a bit impractical. There is limited space for keys, cell phones and juice bottles in the centre console. If you are in a manual, juice bottles in the cup holders behind it do get in the way. You would not expect that from some of the most expensive bakkies in the segment. The center console storage bin is a bit shallow as well. We hope these gaps in practicality are corrected in the next version of the car.
What is on offer?
An X220d and X250d are available from the get go. Both are powered by a 2.3 litre turbo-diesel engine. In the X220d, the engine produces 120 kW/403 Nm whereas it kicks out 140 kW/450 Nm in the X250d. Both the Progressive and Power trims are available with either a six-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic transmission option. The X-Class is available in both 4×2 and 4×4.
We drove both the X220d and X250d on launch. Power delivery is good in both vehicles. The extra power and torque is evident and does set the X250d apart from the X220d. We drove the X-Class in normal road conditions and challenging off-road terrains. The X-Class remained composed throughout. On the road, the car takes off well, is comfortable, has great sound insulation and takes corners well, notwithstanding its size. Off-road is where the X-Class was most surprising. We did not expect Mercedes-Benz to have a major off-road component to the launch of what is billed as the first a premium bakkie but, Merc had other ideas and to our surprise, the car did exceptionally well. After that experience and noting that the X-Class is already revolutionary by being the first premium bakkie, we wondered if it could also be the luxury Mercedes-Benz offering with off-road capability that owners do actually take off-road.
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