Luxury meets mud: revisiting the Mercedes-Benz X-Class
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Much more than a tradie in a Hugo Boss suit, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class offers the ultimate in a luxury utility.
One in every five vehicles sold in New Zealand is a ute, and with its transformation into a family vehicle as much as a work truck, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class has set the luxury standard for performance, ride and comfort.
Launched in 2018 with a choice of four-cylinder diesel engines including a 140kW/450Nm 2.3-litre twin-turbo, the X-Class is based on the Navara, the world’s third best-selling ute. The X-Class is different and improved: chassis strengthening and revised suspension offers a remarkably smooth and compliant ride — without sacrificing its abilities as a hard worker, with a 3.5 tonne tow rating on 4x4 models.
Of course, the option of the 190kW/550Nm x350d 3.0-litre V6 also ups the abilities for performance and towing — and, though offering the same 3.5 tonne rating, manages to tow with less stress on the driver or fuel bills.
It’s inside that the X-Class excels. The smell, feel and look of Nappa leather on the steering wheel and gearknob combine with leather/Alcantara seats and a range of dash finish accents such as brushed metal; twisting, soft-touch “X” air vents are a nice touch. It’s quiet inside and softer, able to soak up bumps without the harsh jarring often associated with a ute.
A 7in touchscreen, rear A/C vents, bed lamp, four 12V sockets and factory trailer wiring combine function and form, plus there’s the safety of emergency braking and lane-keep assist, not found in many utes.
Options include heated seats, park assist and a 360-degree camera.
Clean dials and the COMAND multimedia touchpad that conveniently falls to (the left) hand, and controls all the functions of the big touchscreen, complete the transformation into what is the most luxurious ute cab on the market.
At a price that’s comparable to the most popular utes in NZ, starting a little over $53k for the x250d four-cylinder up to $88k for the top x350d V6, in a ute market that’s spoilt for choice, none spoils the driver like the X-Class, combining luxury, comfort and performance ... and of course, a practical tray.
Engine: 2.3-litre four/3.0-litre V6
Pros: Class, ride, comfort, and a bed
Cons: The perceived fear of big tradie invoices