Luxury Meets Utility – Mercedes Benz X-Class
No, ProNovate isn’t once again reviewing a swanky sports car, in the hopes that we can borrow one for a weekend or two – one day it will happen! This Mercedes Benz… is a ute.
It’s not the brand that springs to mind, when you think of a utility vehicle – the tradie workhorse. Yet, it’s a big market, particularly in Australia, and Mercedes Benz is chasing some of that sweet sweet money.
So let’s jump right into price, yep, no beating around the bush, no waffling on, no useless pontification… ok, ok – it’s $45,450. That’s a pretty sweet price for a dual-cab ute with a brand name, it’s a price that does not scream Mercedes Benz.
That price is of course for the entry level model of the range – the Pure. It’s appearance doesn’t quit scream Mercedes Benz either, but as you roll up into the Power variant it starts to get a little sexy. Well, sexy for a ute. That’s when the price rolls up as well, at $64,500 the Power variants start to feel a lot more Mercedes Benz.
Does it look a little familiar? It has some Nissan Navara in it, in the ladder-frame. The Navara was really Mercedes Benz’s first ute, just without the brand. It was created in collaboration with Renault – Nissan. There is still a fair bit of Nissan in the X-Class, but the body has been widened around the frame, giving this ute a more substantial presence than most utes in the segment.
Let’s jump onto the interior, it’s not all about external looks, this is where you are going to be spending most of your time with your vehicle. The widened body does translate to more room across the rear passenger seats, but it’s no Amarok in terms of size and space. The back may be a little small for anyone over 6ft, but it’s still roomy enough that their knees aren’t going to be crushed into the seats in front of them.
The Pure entry level model, does have a cheap feeling interior, the Power variant on the other hand has a noticeable increase in interior quality, which comes with the significantly higher price tag. Again this is a ute, it’s not a luxury vehicle, but the interior can be a bit of a let down. It would have been nice to have gotten a little bit more of that Mercedes Benz luxury on the interior, as it can look a little too sparse and rough for a ute with a brand name.
Let’s get under that hood. We see some more Nissan Navara simularities. Like the Navara, the X-Class comes with a pair of engines, starting with a 2.3 litre four-cylinder diesel engine, stepping up in performance with each model in the range.
The entry- level X220d, offered in the Pure variant only, has a single turbo-charger, the model boasts 120kW of power, 403Nm of torque and 0-100km/h at 12.9 seconds. Jump up to the X250d and we are now looking at a twin-turbo version of the 2.3 litre engine, hitting 140kW/450Nm and 0-100 in 11.8 seconds. Not enough power, not enough grunt? A 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel version, the X350d, is expected to land in Australia late 2018 hitting 190kW/550Nm.
What does that mean in regards to the driving experience? It’s good but not amazing, the steering is a little slow, it can feel a little sluggish, but overall it’s a quality drive. A con of the widened body is that it’s translated to a wider turning circle, a HUGE turning circle – of course it does when you widen the tracks! With a turning circle of 13.4m it would be a bit of a nightmare to park on inner city streets, or a shopping centre parking lot, more so than the average ute.
One thing to note with a ute, depending on your usage, it can be far more expensive to run than an SUV equivalent.
When it comes to taxes, a ute isn’t seen as a car, it’s a utility vehicle, and is claimed differently. To put it simply, a car has two ways it can be claimed as a tax deduction, by the cars value or by percentage of business use. A ute, can only be claimed as a tax deduction by the percentage of business use, if the ute isn’t used for business use and the regular commute, the business use is 0%. You can read more about this in our previous article here.
Now for the important part… the verdict. It’s time for the dramatic drumroll… and then an underwhelming verdict. It’s good.
That’s really it. It’s a good offering. Good looking ute. Good price point. It’s a good purchase. It’s not amazing, it’s not a game changer, it’s not an industry leader, it’s not really anything new when it comes the offerings already available in the market, but it’s a good offering to add to the mix. It’s a good first step for Mercedes Benz.
That’s all we can say, if someone asked for a recommendation of a good ute, this vehicle would be on the shortlist, but it wouldn’t be at the top.