High cost of go­ing off-road

ROAD TEST/ Does the Mercedes-Benz X-Class have what it takes to be con­sid­ered a pre­mium bakkie of­fer­ing? asks Ler­ato Matebese

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

It felt like a long time com­ing, but we have fi­nally got our hands on the Mercedes-Benz X-Class to see what it brings to the hotly con­tested bakkie seg­ment and whether it has the clout to show a clean pair of heels.

There has been much ban­ter sur­round­ing the ve­hi­cle and this spi­ralled even deeper into the bow­els of de­bate dur­ing our test ten­ure with the ve­hi­cle. To say that the model elic­its a great deal of in­ter­est would be a gross un­der­state­ment on my part as there seems to be huge grav­i­tas when some­thing dons a three- pointed badge on its snout and rump, let alone one in the mould of a bakkie.

The model looks the part with its prom­i­nent Merc badge up front float­ing on satin sil­ver hor­i­zon­tal slats, while the sides re­main clean with no creases, ditto the rear load box door flanked by the slimmest of ver­ti­cal light clus­ters and only the brand badge and model nomen­cla­ture — X250d in this in­stance — be­ing the only or­nate items.

Hop into the cabin, though, and the lay­out and over­all ar­chi­tec­ture will be sim­i­lar for most mod­ern Merc own­ers, par­tic­u­larly the float­ing in­fo­tain­ment screen, crosshair air­vents, in­stru­ment clus­ter and mul­ti­func­tion steer­ing wheel.

Un­der the bon­net of this ver­sion nes­tles a 2.3l twin-turbo en­gine from the Nis­san Navara, re­plete in this in­stance with a seven-speed au­to­matic gear­box. It pushes out 140kW and 450Nm. Of course, the en­gine is not the only thing that the model has bor­rowed from the Navara,

The X-Class might have a Mercedes badge but it is much more Nis­san than it should be. Right: The rear is sim­ple and un­clut­tered with an over­all clean look.

The in­te­rior has a Mercedes look com­bined with Nis­san equip­ment.

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