X-Class new con­tender in mar­ket

Bay of Plenty Times - - FRONT PAGE - Road Test: Colin Smith Pic­tures: Ge­orge No­vak

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

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