Company Van Today - Issue 8 - Winter 2018

pick-up market had risen by more than 5% in the year to date. Despite all this, Mercedes hasn’t leapt straight in at the developmental deep end and designed its own truck from scratch. Instead it has taken the Nissan Navara and heavily revised it. This is much more than an application of mascara, though, because the X-Class gets an entirely new interior, revised suspension and its own engines. Only those with a real dedication to digging around under the bonnet will find the majority of the Nissan bits. To see whether it goes far enough to offer the true Mercedes experience, though, we’re living with an X-Class for the coming fewmonths. Actually, that’s not entirely accurate – we’re due to be living with both ends of the X-Class spectrum. To start off with we’re finding out what mid- range means for X-Class buyers in a four- cylinder X220d Progressive, and then we’re switching into a newly-launched V6 model to see what truck luxury really means in Mercedes’ eyes. The initial impressions are that the more basic version of the X-Class certainly gets you some of the appearance of luxury, but it certainly doesn’t offer all the trimmings, even on the mid-level Progressive trim. Still, the interior looks and feels a real step up from a more workmanlike, mainstream model. The parts you touch regularly, such as the steering wheel and gearlever, are coated in materials that feel like they wouldn’t be suited to a dirty life. The tactility of the dash goes a long way to creating the right atmosphere, but the ride takes it a step further. So far, we have been restricted to on-road trips in the X-Class, but they have been across a wide variety of surfaces and the Mercedes has displayed a calmness that is not normally associated with a pick-up truck. The seats have made an excellent first impression, too. The Alcantara-style covering has a real feeling of luxury, while the electric adjustment allows for precise fine tuning; they’ve certainly been comfortable so far. The experience isn’t one of total luxury, though, and this is down in part to the 163hp engine and manual gearbox. Even with a generous amount of soundproofing, it is impossible to ignore the engine’s workmanlike roots, and it sounds gruff and lacks much in the way of urgency. The gearchange is a little resistant to a swift shift, which takes a little smoothness away from the overall interaction, too. The X-Class has managed to prove it is so much more than a rebadging affair so far, even if it is not the full-on premium experience, so it will be interesting whether that becomes the case the higher up the range we go. Tom Webster Ride quality is a step above the class norm ● One thing that is a regular reminder of the relationship with Nissan is sadly something you touch all the time. The key is shaped like the ones you get with a Nissan, which is a real shame. ● e infotainment system is controlled by a large rotary dial, but you have to turn it in a way that feels unnatural to move through some of the menus. TESTER’S NOTES FIRST REPORT The rise in pick-up truck popularity is showing no sign of abating, with buyers loving the blend of work and leisure that the vehicles offer. The Mercedes-Benz X-Class takes the sector in a new direction, though, because it is the first pick-up from a premium manufacturer. Given that Mercedes says that it had more than 1000 people commit a deposit before they had even seen the X-Class, it seems that the demand is there. Combine this with the fact that, at the time we took delivery of the X-Class, the SPECS MODEL: X220d Progressive PRICE: £30,725 (ex VAT) OFFICIAL ECONOMY: 37.2mpg OUR AVERAGE MPG: 35.7mpg OPTIONS: Metallic paint £510, Comfort package £1235, Winter package £340, Electrical components for trailer socket £130 FOLLOW THE WHOLE STORY of the Merc X-Class’s time with us at companyvantoday. The latest news from our long-term fleet Our fleet Big Merc nails practicality and luxury MERCEDES BENZ X CLASS REVIEW COMPANY VAN TODAY.CO.UK 21