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Driven: Mercedes X-Class ute hits the road

Account open: Mercedes is targeting both tradespeople and lifestyle buyers its 13-variant opening X-Class model range, with strong early interest coming from people outside the brand.

More than 9000 Aussies register interest in all-new Mercedes X-Class now on sale


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12 Apr 2018

MERCEDES-BENZ has staged one of the most-anticipated launches on the 2018 Australian motoring calendar with the launch of its first-ever one-tonne utility – the X-Class – in Tasmania this week.

The Australian subsidiary of the German prestige manufacturer has racked up more than 9000 expressions of interest from prospective buyers in the lead up to the X-Class entering showrooms from today, April 12, with 69 per cent of these coming from outside the brand, 60 per cent from rural/provincial areas and 40 per cent from the trade/construction sector.

Mercedes-Benz Vans (Aust/NZ) managing director Diane Tarr would not be drawn on divulging pre-order numbers or specific sales expectations but said the high level of interest pointed to “the magnitude of interest” in the all-new X-Class, which is based on the Nissan Navara but heavily modified in styling, specification and mechanical terms.

“We probably imagined a stronger skew towards the metro, so we are really pleased that we have this more balanced interest coming from rural and metro demographical environments,” she said.

The company is targeting vehicle owners from other brands – primarily ute owners, but also those coming from SUVs and passenger cars – and existing Mercedes owners across trade, recreational and family buyer demographics.

Ms Tarr told GoAuto that she was confident the X-Class would be a success in the ultra-competitive segment, based on Australia’s involvement in the program from the outset, the early response from customers and positive feedback from dealer staff who have driven it.

“It’s super, super exciting,” she said. “I think the engineers and developers have done an extraordinary job. It’s great to have been part of that journey and have input as one of the four key markets, so it’s really exciting.

“It’s a game-changer for us.”

The X-Class lines up against the Volkswagen Amarok and high-end variants of top-selling models such as the Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux, Holden Colorado and, not least of all, the Navara.

Dealers have pre-ordered vehicles based on expected demand and tailored their stock according to local requirements – rural dealers will have more entry variants, for example – but if a customer wants a unique specification, delivery timing from the factory in Barcelona, Spain, is expected to take four-to-five months.

With the flagship 190kW/550Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel still some months away from launch, the all-dual-cab X-Class range opens in Australia with a Nissan-sourced 2.3-litre four-cylinder diesel in two variations: 120kW/403Nm single-turbo (220d) and 140kW/450Nm twin-turbo (250d).

There are 13 variants spanning the two engine tunes, six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic transmissions, 4x2 and 4x4 drivelines, three model grades (Pure, Progressive and Power) and a choice between cab-chassis and load bed configurations at the rear end.

Pricing opens at $45,450 plus on-road costs for the trade-oriented X220d Pure 4x2 cab-chassis manual, with the load bed adding $950. A part-time 4Matic 4x4 option is also available with the built-in box at $4950 (including an electronic hill-descent control system and centre differential lock), but no automatic transmission with the lower-spec engine.

The remainder of the range is specified in higher-output X250d designation with 4x4 only and the choice of either manual or auto across all three grades, kicking off from $51,450 for the Pure cab-chassis manual and topping out at $64,500 for the Power pick-up with auto.

There is no cab-chassis at the Power point, but otherwise the major options are all available, with auto adding $2900 and the load bed on X250d Pure and Progressive with the same $950 increment as found on X200d.

The Pure trim level is described as “ideal for rugged, functional use” as a workhorse, offering a high level of safety features – chief among them active brake assist/autonomous emergency braking (a class-leading attribute), plus lane-departure warning, tyre pressure monitoring, ABS brakes (with brake assist), electronic stability control, seven airbags and a rearview camera on pick-up variants – but also keeping a lid on cosmetic items and creature comforts.

Pure has 17-inch steel wheels, black-painted bumpers, plastic floor coverings, Tunja fabric upholstery, manual seat adjustment, halogen headlights, air-conditioning, no heating function on the electric exterior mirrors and basic infotainment system with CD slot, 7.0-inch TFT screen and touchpad.

Adjustable load-securing rails in the bed and Mercedes’ Parktronic parking assistance system are combined as a $1300 option for Pure pick-up variants (not cab-chassis).

Mid-series Progressive adds body-coloured bumpers, floor carpet, alloy wheels (still at 17”), heated wing mirrors, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, satellite navigation, a grained texture to the instrument panel, silver paint for the vent surrounds, higher-grade fabric seat trim, leather-clad steering wheel/handbrake/shift lever, front footwell lighting, aluminium door sill panels, digital audio system with eight speakers, auto-dipping rearview mirror (with compass) and, on pick-up models, adjustable load-securing rails on the side of the load bed.

Parktronic, with the addition of a 360-degree camera, is a $1750 option on the Progressive pick-ups, while a separate $3750 ‘Style’ pack with an emphasis on exterior items is also available on this grade, adding LED headlights/tail-lights, electric rear window, tinted rear windows, side steps, roof rails and 18-inch alloys.

A further $2490 outlay will secure higher-level comfort features in a pack containing nicer seat upholstery (man-made leather/microfibre combo), electric front seat adjustment (including lumbar), climate control and a storage net in the front passenger footwell.

Add these interior features, the 18-inch wheels, LED lights, Parktronic (with advanced camera) and you basically arrive at the top-spec Power grade, which also has chrome elements at the front and rear bumpers, folding mirrors, ‘silver shadow’ cabin highlights and, not least of all, the Comand Online multimedia system.

Leftovers from the ‘Style’ package are also available on Power for $2490, namely the electric rear windows, tinting, side boards and roof rails, with 19-inch alloys thrown in as well.

Notable accessories developed for the X-Class include towbars, sports bars, side steps, underbody protection, canopies, soft and hard tonneau covers and various other back-end additions such as bed liners, storage boxes, load bed dividers, tailgate damper, floor-mounted cargo rails and sliding floor.

All three variants have a further $590 ‘Winter’ option as well, with front seat heating and heated washer nozzles, while metallic paint is a $950 hit across the range.

As per the Nissan Navara, the X-Class has a ladder-frame chassis with independent double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link solid axle at the rear – coil springs are used at both ends – along with ventilated disc brakes at the front and, in a departure from its donor, vented discs at the rear, too, where the Navara uses drums.

It rests on a 3150mm wheelbase and measures 5340mm long, 1920mm wide and 1819mm high, while front/rear track width is 1632/1625mm. Mercedes also says that the 1215mm width between the wheelarches in the load bed allows the stacking of an Australian-size pallet.

Kerb weight is listed at 2133kg on X220d 4x2 manual (4x4 adds 80kg) and 2234kg for X250d 4x4 auto. Payload is 1067kg on 220d 4x2 manual, drops slightly to 1037kg on the 4Matic version and down to 1016kg on 250d 4x4 auto.

Maximum braked towing capacity is 3200kg on the 4x2 variants and 3500kg on the 4x4s.

Performance-wise, the X220d 4x2 manual can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 12.5 seconds on its way to a 172km/h top speed – the heavier 4x4 takes 12.9s (top speed: 170km/h) – while the X250d 4x4 automatic gets the job done in a slightly better 11.8s as its heads towards a 175km/h maximum velocity.

Official combined-cycle fuel economy and CO2 emissions come in at 7.4 litres per 100km and 195 grams per kilometre respectively for the entry lower-output model, pushing up to 7.6L/100km and 200g/km for the 4x4, while the extra power and equipment and the automatic gearbox on the X250d are a factor with its 7.9L/100km mileage and 207g/km emissions output.

Mercedes is offering the X-Class with fixed-price servicing for the first three call-ins to the dealer, which with 20,000km intervals sees a maximum $2350 in total over that period – a figure the company says proves its point that an X-Class should not cost any more to own and operate than its major rivals.

There is a $500 discount for those customers who pay for the all three services up front.

The X-Class is also covered by roadside assistance over the three-year/200,000km warranty.

As previously reported, X-Class qualifies for a maximum five-star ANCAP rating and has won high praise from the independent crash-test authority for its fitment of AEB across the range.

2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class pricing*
X220d Pure Cab Chassis RWD$45,450
X220d Pure Pick-up RWD$46,400
X220d Pure Pick-up 4Matic$50,400
X250d Pure Cab Chassis 4Matic$51,450
X250d Pure Cab Chassis 4Matic (a)$54,350
X250d Pure Pick-up 4Matic$52,400
X250d Pure Pick-up 4Matic (a)$55,300
X250d Progressive Cab Chassis 4Matic$53,950
X250d Progressive Cab Chassis 4Matic (a)$56,850
X250d Progressive Pick-up 4Matic$54,900
X250d Progressive Pick-up 4Matic (a)$57,800
X250d Power Pick-up 4Matic$61,600
X250d Power Pick-up 4Matic (a)$64,500
*Excludes on-road costs

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