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Mercedes X-Class review: Merc’s luxury packed pick-up is a top load-lugger

PICK-UP trucks used to be simple things.


In South Africa they’re called Buckies.

In Australia and New Zealand, they’re Utes.

While Ford’s perennial F150n is the best-selling vehicle in the USA.

There were certainly no frills back in the bad old days.

Vinyl bench seats, wind-down windows, rubber flooring and the ergonomics (and performance) of a post-War tractor.

You could chuck a mud-caked Border Collie in the cab and hose it all out when the day was done.

DAIMLER AG

QUALITY: High-spec Merc will carry a tonne of stuff

Pick-ups were the preserve of farmers, builders and anyone else with a dirty, hard-working lifestyle.

And then people started to pick up (sorry) on the tax benefits of pick-up ownership.

Companies started to make crew cabs with room for four or five.

It didn’t take long for the market to adapt, and suddenly pick-ups became something you could use for work during the week and as a family car at weekends.

For the past few years, pick-ups have been getting posher.

Ford’s latest Ranger variant upped the game and VW’s Amarok followed suit.

But probably the most car-like driving experience has been, and still is, offered by Nissan’s Navara.

Which brings me, neatly, to Mercedes’ latest X-Class pick-em-up truck.

It uses the Renault/ Nissan alliance’s Navara platform to save a load of time, trouble and expense.

Most of the body panels are bespoke to Merc, as is the coil spring multilink front and rear suspension which provides a slightly wider track than Nissan’s offering.

The interior is the biggest difference, though.

In top spec there is leather upholstery, electrically adjustable seats and the sort of gadgets you are used to seeing in their cars.

In fact, it’s so posh inside it’s very easy to forget that this car will tow 3.5 tonnes and carry just over a tonne of whatever you fancy in the pick-up bed.

DAIMLER AG

OFF-ROAD: The X-Class will climb and descend pretty ferocious inclines

So what’s it like to drive? Once you get used to being stared at, lustily, by other envious pick-up drivers it’s remarkably civilised.

Ride quality is possibly best in class but it’s still not quite reached SUV levels of refinement.

After all, it still has the capability to carry over a tonne in the back, so the spring rates are pretty beefy.

Still, the extra sound-deadening material keeps cab noise to a minimum and in seventh gear on motorways it’s as quiet inside as a car.

Two things instantly make an impression.

The first is the steering which is really low-geared, so parking and U-turning involves much sawing at the wheel.

Secondly, the initial pick-up (sorry) is a bit tardy.

I drove the most powerful twin-turbo X250d version and just when you need it to respond quickly – like when crossing a dangerous junction or pulling off a crafty overtake – it doesn’t.

Presumably this is nothing more than an ECU mapping issue.

But maybe the extra 200kgs the X-Class carries over the Navara is to blame?

Either way, it means the more powerful V6 diesel due halfway through 2018 would be my choice.

Off-road, even on road tyres, using the diff lock and low-ratio options, the X-Class will climb and descend pretty ferocious inclines.

There are three spec levels. Pure at the bottom of the food chain, Progressive in the middle and Power at the top.

PR

CLASSIC: Most of the body panels are bespoke to Merc

There are currently two 2.3-litre (Nissan) engines available, the single turbo X220d and twin-turbo X250d.

Prices start at £27,310 and top out at £34,100 for Power trim.

That’s plus VAT, which most business users will claim back anyway.

There is no doubt the X-Class currently offers the most car-like user experience on the market.

I reckon that’ll step up another notch when the X350d V6 arrives next year.

Fact File:

Mercedes X-Class X250d Power

Engine: 2.299cc, four-cyl diesel turbo

Price: £34,100 plus Vat

Power: 190PS

Torque: 450Nm

Top Speed: 109mph

0-62mph: N/A

Economy: 35.8mpg combined

CO2: 207g/km

For: Poshest pick-up

Against: Pick-up

Sum up: Luxury grafter

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