Mercedes-Benz X-Class (2018–)

Last updated 3 August 2018

Like its Nissan counterpart, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class is powered by a Renault-sourced Euro6 2.3-litre turbodiesel. Available in two outputs - 163PS or 190PS - both will tow a braked trailer weighing up to 3.5 tonnes and shift payloads up to one-tonne. A Mercedes-Benz-built V6 will be added to the range in mid-2018 and feature 258PS, which should lay the groundwork for a performance-focused AMG model in 2019.

For everyday driving, the 2.3-litre diesel is more than sufficient; the entry-level 163PS version develops 403Nm of torque from 1500rpm, which provides plenty of low-down pull across the six-speed manual gearbox. Capable of covering 0-62mph in roughly 12 seconds, the 163PS engine is fine for motorway driving and light off-roading, but can feel a little lethargic when tackling steep inclines or carrying heavy loads.

In comparison, the 190PS engine - which reaches 62mph from a standstill in 11 seconds - is much better for maximising the X-Class’ gargantuan towing ability, as well as thundering up hills, with 450Nm of torque and a smooth seven-speed automatic transmission fitted as standard.

Mercedes-Benz claims to have spent considerable time improving refinement and handling. And the hard work has clearly paid off because the X-Class feels like an upmarket and comfortable family SUV on the road. Indeed, the light and responsive steering makes it surprisingly easy to guide the vehicle's 2.2 tonnes through a series of twisty bends. The suspension doesn’t crash or pitch sideways on rough roads either, even when the vehicle is unladen.

Both the throttle and brake pedals are light and require a deft touch to operate. This means a light foot motion is all that’s required to increase momentum for overtaking or cutting speed for cornering. The smooth steering also makes parking painless, with most models getting front and rear parking sensors as standard. In our opinion, the X-Class is one of the best pick-ups for everyday comfort and refinement.

Like the Navara, the X-Class uses a selectable four-wheel drive system; this means it runs in rear-wheel drive until you turn the rotary dial above the gearstick to active all-wheel drive. High and low ratios are also activated by the big dial and there is a switch that allows the vehicle to automatically control its speed down a steep incline. A lockable differential for the rear axle is available as a payable option.

The only area where the Mercedes-Benz falls a little flat is on fuel economy. The 163PS engine, for example, will return an official 37.1mpg. Advertised economy for the more-powerful 190PS drops to 35.7mpg, which is a long way short of the 44.8mph that Nissan advertises for the four-wheel drive Navara. 

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