Mercedes X-class

New Zealand Company Vehicle - - NEWS -

Daim­ler’s con­fi­dent first step into the crowded dou­ble cab diesel ute seg­ment with the X-class landed in New Zealand in May. There are high hopes for the lux­ury car maker’s first foray into the ute mar­ket. The new X Class boasts no less than 13 dif­fer­ent spec­i­fi­ca­tions across a three­model range at launch and of­fers buy­ers what may be the long­est list of ac­ces­sories (in­clud­ing branded lug­gage) of any such ve­hi­cle. Ar­riv­ing with four cylin­der en­gines and mainly with au­to­matic trans­mis­sions, the X-class is bristling with tech­nol­ogy and has a re­fine­ment that be­lies the worka­day as­pi­ra­tions of this ve­hi­cle class. It’s likely to walk a line part-way be­tween Amer­i­can, Ja­panese and Korean ri­vals and the top end tar­get, VW’S Amarok. A quick drive at the April cus­tomer event re­vealed al­most car-like NVH, a sup­ple rear sus­pen­sion de­sign that departs rad­i­cally from ri­val de­signs to de­liver a smooth and un­com­plain­ing ride even when un­laden, and civilised 2.3-litre diesel power with sin­gle or biturbo boost. The rear sus­pen­sion war­rants men­tion – it re­tains a live axle, which helps main­tain a 3500 kg (braked) tow­ing ca­pac­ity, but coil springs and long trail­ing arms in a multi-link axle lo­ca­tion setup help smooth out fore-aft pitch and give the X-class its silky ride. The rear well­side is the long­est avail­able in the class and wide enough to fit a stan­dard pal­let be­tween the wheel arches (un­less a tray pro­tec­tor is fit­ted). Cou­ple that with sharp pric­ing across a three-model range that of­fers a star ter ‘tradies’ spec in the early $50k and goes up to full bling at $75k and X-class is a com­pet­i­tive propo­si­tion. Among the crowd at the cus­tomer launch event we at­tended, were some very new cus­tomer prospects for the brand. Imag­ine this: you’re the owner of a fleet of four or six big Mercedes trans­porters do­ing long line-haul or lo­cal gravel or freight work. Up to now you’ve chased the fleet in some­thing from an­other brand. Now, sud­denly, you have a tough, re­fined, prac­ti­cal diesel dou­ble cab wear­ing the three-pointed star. When your fleet is worth mil­lions, drop­ping $70k on an X-class hardly fig­ures, does it?

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