Mer­cedes-Benz X-Class 250d 4x4 test drive

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO MOTORING - Val van der Walt

The X-Class is in Zu­l­u­land, fi­nally! It’s def­i­nitely the most im­por­tant new ve­hi­cle of 2018 and for sure the most an­tic­i­pated.

Proof of this is the fact that some­one fol­lowed me from Meerensee to Em­pan­geni to look at the X-Class, and also the guy who recorded a video on his phone whilst driving be­hind me.

I’ve tested many ‘first ar­rivals’ over the years, but have never seen this level of in­ter­est in a new ve­hi­cle.

The two main fac­tors at play here are, num­ber one - it’s a bakkie, and num­ber two - it’s a Mer­cedes-Benz.

Is it a true Benz?

It’s com­mon knowl­edge that the X-Class shares its un­der­pin­nings – en­gine, trans­mis­sion and sus­pen­sion – with the Navara, which is a feather in the cap of Nis­san, surely, but more on that sub­ject later.

What was most im­por­tant to me, be­cause of Mer­cedes-Benz’ pre­mium pedi­gree, is that when I get into the X-Class, even though it’s a bakkie, I want to feel like I’m sit­ting in a Benz.

And the X-Class’s maker didn’t dis­ap­point.

The cabin, from foot well to roof lin­ing, is as pre­mium as ev­ery­thing else out of Stuttgart.

In­side, the X-Class’s in­te­rior ba­si­cally mir­rors that of the brand’s midrange sedans in dash de­sign, and fit and fin­ish.

The demo McCarthy Inyanga Mo­tors pro­vided was the range top­ping (for now) X250d 4x4 Power model.

It has the same top-mounted in­fo­tain­ment screen as the C-Class as well as a dial with touch pad in the cen­tre con­sole to con­trol the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem.

The rear slid­ing win­dow is also elec­tric and the bakkie boasts key­less en­try and a stop/start but­ton.

Per­for­mance

There were no big sur­prises driving the 250d X-Class be­cause I’m fa­mil­iar with the 2.3-litre bi-turbo diesel’s per­for­mance lev­els and be­hav­iour cou­pled to that spe­cific seven-speed auto box.

How­ever, Mer­cedes-Benz did fine tune the com­bi­na­tion some­what and that is most ev­i­dent in the seam­less shift­ing and smooth power de­liv­ery.

The Ger­man en­gi­neers also made their own ad­just­ments to the sus­pen­sion be­cause, where the Navara has a pay­load of 1061kg, the X-Class can carry 1100kg and tow 3500kg (braked).

In the dash sits a dial marked 2WD, H4 and L4, ac­com­pa­nied by a diff-lick but­ton.

The brand’s 4Matic sys­tem, do­ing duty in the X-Class, adds a cen­tre diff-lock to the mix and trac­tion over de­mand­ing ter­rain is ex­cel­lent.

Des­cents, es­pe­cially, are a breeze with the added help of a clever ‘Down Hill As­sist’ func­tion.

And if you need more help to take the X-Class safely through the rough, there’s the op­tional 360-de­gree cam­era which will give you an all-round view of the ter­rain.

The bakkie also boasts a host of stan­dard safety tech like au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing and lane-keep as­sist for on the tar.

Ver­dict

The X-Class is def­i­nitely a pre­mium bakkie.

On the out­side it looks damn good and on the in­side all Mer­cedes-Benz with a luxury feel right through.

The driv­e­train, while sourced from Nis­san, per­forms bet­ter than in the Navara and sets the bench­mark in its class as far as per­for­mance and ride qual­ity go.

The X-Class is also the qui­etest bakkie I’ve ever come across, even by up­mar­ket sedan stan­dards.

My only gripes with the ve­hi­cle is the in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, which is some­what com­pli­cated to ne­go­ti­ate, and the re­cesses be­hind the door han­dles that are too small for the average male hand to get a good grip.

The belt line an­gle, from head­light to tail­gate top, could also have been slightly steeper to­wards the rear to have cre­ated an im­pres­sion of a higher tail-end.

And with all that said, I would like to con­grat­u­late Mer­cedes-Benz on their very first bakkie; the over­all ex­e­cu­tion is spo­ton and one re­ally feels that this ve­hi­cle, pre­mium badge or not, can do what any other bakkie can, if not bet­ter.

Range pric­ing

• X220d 4x2 Pro­gres­sive – R642 103

• X250d 4x2 Pro­gres­sive AT – R694 025

• X250d 4x4 Pro­gres­sive – R696 785

• X250d 4x4 Power – R791 315 Mer­cedes-Benz sells its new X-Class with a Premi­umDrive plan which is a sixyear/100 000km main­te­nance plan.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.