X-Class new contender in market
With a long history in commercial vehicles the biggest surprise with the MercedesBenz X-Class is how long it’s taken the three-pointed star to rise in the ute market.
Benz is big in trucks, vans and specialist commercials like the G-Class. Bringing a contender to the booming ute sector — now larger than the non-SUV portion of New Zealand’s passenger vehicle market — has significant growth potential for the marque.
The new X-Class is a joint venture with Nissan. It puts a wider and longer body on to the Navara chassis, retains the multi-link coil spring rear suspension which had been unique in this segment on the Nissan and adds a rear disc brake set-up which is a first for the ute segment.
The handsome front-end styling of the X-Class forges a clear connection to Mercedes-Benz SUV models and the X-Class conveys imposing size at 85mm longer and 70mm wider than the Navara.
The X 250d four-cylinder diesel models initially launched in New Zealand have the Nissan YS diesel engine while the X 350d versions have a 3.0-litre Mercedes-Benz V6 diesel.
Powering the X 250d 4x4 models is the 2298cc YS23DTT twin turbocharged diesel engine developing 140kW output at 3750rpm and peak torque of 450Nm at 1500rpm with a choice of six-speed manual or sevenspeed automatic transmissions.
The diesel meets modern noise and refinement standards and the close ratio gearing allows 1700rpm cruising at 100km/h in seventh gear with downshifts to 2000rpm in sixth and 2400rpm in fifth gear to provide some urge for highway overtaking. And the muscle for the 3500kg braked towing capacity.
Mercedes-Benz claims combined cycle fuel consumption of 7.9L/100km for the 4x4 Double Cab with the seven-speed automatic transmission (manual: 7.7L/100km) and my road test was close to the mark with an