X-Class gets thumbs up in Chile

SIBONELO MYENI dis­cov­ers Chileans like their dou­ble cabs as much as we do in Mzansi

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

THE Mercedes X-Class dou­ble cab is one of the most hotly an­tic­i­pated cars not only in the bakkie seg­ment but also in­ter­est­ingly, the SUV seg­ment.

The lo­cal launch of the X220d and X250d is now con­firmed af­ter June next year, with the X350d com­ing later in the year.

We, mean­while, went to San­ti­ago, Chile to find out if it’s worth the hype.

South Amer­i­can coun­tries are as mad for their bakkies as we are in Mzansi.

In the city of San­ti­ago ev­ery sec­ond car you see is a dou­ble cab, just like Dur­ban.

Wher­ever we stopped, the X-Class caused a stir with on­look­ers who asked many ques­tions in rapid-fire Span­ish (“Englisho speak” was gen­er­ally our re­sponse). But their lit­eral thumbs up sug­gests the X-Class will cre­ate much fan­fare in Mzansi.

LED day­time lights, twin-lou­vre ra­di­a­tor grille with the prom­i­nent three-pointed star dom­i­nate the front. 17-inch to 18-inch wheel op­tions are of­fered with the 18s the one to go for.

Me­tal­lic colour op­tions and three lev­els of cladding are of­fered, start­ing off with the en­try level Pure, mid-range Pro­gres­sive top­ping with the lux­ury Power.

Cus­tomers can add a styling bar, canopy, var­i­ous cov­ers as well as nu­mer­ous cargo and of­froad so­lu­tions — all de­vel­oped and de­signed by Mercedes.

Of these two I’d take the rock­slider-looka­like side steps, to add to that off-road look, and mud flaps. For to me the rear of the X-Class looks un­fin­ished with­out large mud­flaps.

The five-seat in­te­rior main­tains the cur­rent de­sign theme in Mercedes-Benz pas­sen­ger cars, with the dash mounted cen­tral Com­mand in­fo­tain­ment screen and re­ally com­fort­able seats.

The rear seats are po­si­tioned higher than the front, aid­ing all round vis­i­bil­ity. Fit and fin­ish is gen­er­ally good but there are some sus­pect items that are not Merc level in terms of qual­ity.

There are three in­te­rior trim op­tions, six seat cov­ers in­clud­ing two leather vari­ants and two colour roof lin­ings to help buy­ers cus­tomise their in­te­ri­ors.

As usual with Merc, buy­ers will have an ex­ten­sive list of in­te­rior op­tions to choose from, which can quickly add half the ve­hi­cle’s value.

Like all Mercedes-Benz ve­hi­cles, the X-Class fea­tures pas­sive and ac­tive safety equip­ment in­clud­ing Ac­tive Brake As­sist, Lane Keep­ing As­sist and Traf­fic Sign As­sist, among oth­ers. Con­nec­tiv­ity is also of­fered with the Mercedes ME app.

Three diesel en­gines are of­fered, with two avail­able at launch. The 2.3-litre Turbo diesel X220d has 120kW while the 2.3-litre Bi-Turbo diesel X250d has 140kW.

Both these mod­els come with ei­ther rear-wheel drive only, or shift-on-the-fly all-wheel drive that has a low range. Un­for­tu­nately, the rear-wheel drive mod­els don’t come with a rear dif­flock, even as an op­tion, a de­mand that Merc should rec­tify as this is a big de­mand for Mzansi and Euro­pean driv­ers.

A six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion comes stan­dard with a seven-speed au­to­matic avail­able as an op­tion.

At launch we drove the X250d all-wheel drive and it felt re­fined es­pe­cially from inside the cabin.

Power de­liv­ery was no­tice­ably bet­ter than its Navara cousin. Low-down torque de­liv­ery aids off road driv­abil­ity as well.

On gravel and in off-road driv­ing, the all-wheel drive X250d of­fers un­heard of lev­els of re­fine­ment, noise in­su­la­tion and vi­bra­tion man­age­ment for the dou­ble cab seg­ment and will def­i­nitely poach SUV buy­ers.

We also got pas­sen­ger rides in the X350d, the model set for launch in 2018. This model gets a 190kW/550Nm 3-litre V6 Turbo diesel linked to a 7G Tronic Plus Auto trans­mis­sion driv­ing through a per­ma­nent 4Matic all-wheel drive sys­tem.

The Dy­namic Se­lect is avail­able in ad­di­tion. This model will def­i­nitely be the sports model for X-Class buy­ers.

The unique sus­pen­sion set-up al­lows for rugged roads as well as on-road re­fine­ment, of­fer­ing SUV lev­els of com­fort, al­beit with that oc­ca­sional “bakkie” feel over the bumps.

The stiff sus­pen­sion liked be­ing pushed on the twisty bits of our test route, where the X-Class felt sure-footed with min­i­mal un­der­steer and roll. Rear pas­sen­ger com­fort was also the best of any dou­ble cab I have ever sat in, in­clud­ing the KBs our KZN farm­ers like so much.

• Full dis­clo­sure: Mercedes-Benz SA spon­sored the trip to South Amer­ica. • Catch Sibonelo Myeni live on Ukhozi FM, each Thurs­day from 7.45 am to 8 am.

PHOTOS: SUP­PLIED

The X-Class was in­tro­duced to Chile’s bakkie-lov­ing driv­ers this week and our cor­re­spon­dent Sibonelo Myeni was there.

All the rear needs to fin­ish the bakkie look are mud guards.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.