Published 22/04/2020

Published 22/04/2020

The Mercedes-Benz X-Class - To pickup or not to pickup?

The X-Class shares its platform with the popular Nissan Navara, but has one thing that the Navara does not… the infamous 3-pointed star adorned to the bonnet.

The X-Class was Mercedes-Benz’ first venture into the pick-up market, and combines rugged good looks with the large load capacity and off-roading capabilities needed to compete in a hugely competitive sector.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class side profile

What did we drive?

Colour: Kabara Black Metallic 
Interior: Black Fabric Upholstery 
Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
Wheels: 18 inch Six-Twin Spoke Alloys 
Engine: 2.3 litre (2298cc ) Diesel 
0-62: 12.9 Seconds
BHP: 163
Price: OTR from £29,265 exc VAT

Find out more about the Mercedes-Benz X-Class

Mercedes-Benz X-Class wheel close up


We drove the entry level X 220d, which is a 6-speed manual. You can also get yourself an X 250d 4MATIC manual that gives you 190 bhp. But in all honesty you’re going to want to go for one of the automatic engines. It’s what Mercedes-Benz is known for, and it’ll be a much smoother ride. There’s two autos available, a 7-Speed 250d 4MATIC, again with 190bhp, and a beasty 3.0 litre, six-cylinder X 350d V6 4MATIC which will give you 258bhp and also the even smoother 7G TRONIC automatic gearbox. The engines in the 220d and the 250d are produced by Nissan, whilst the V6 in the 350d is the only truck in the lineup to get a Mercedes engine.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class rear side profile


As you might know, the X-Class shares its platform (and many other features) with the Nissan Navara. And whilst the similarities are arguably there, Mercedes have succeeded in designing a very imposing, good looking pick-up, which probably trumps the Navara on style. It’s also got the 3 pointed star across the front, which is always going to help.  

Our X-Class was a PROGRESSIVE, which as standard gets you painted bumpers with the matt black under guard. Higher spec models get the chrome front, which looks arguably more ‘Mercedes’. Our car had two optional extras – a black hard cover for the truck bed, and a style package which includes LED headlights and LED daytime running lights, brake lights, privacy glass, running boards, anodised roof rails and 18” alloys.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class rear view

The Experience

Having only ever driven a pick-up on a handful of occasions and certainly not anything this new, I was keen to see how it faired against the Mitsubishi L200 I had driven. First things first, the X-Class is certainly big. The Mercedes is marginally longer than both the Navara and the Toyota Hilux, and shorter only to the likes of the gargantuan Ford Ranger. The main competition to the 350d would be the VW Amarok, which is wider still.

It’s a firmer ride than you’d get in a comparable Mercedes SUV. But where a GLE is the epitome of luxury and comfort, the X-Class is in theory a work horse - so couldn't just be a GLE with a load bed. It looks, and feels like you're driving a truck. As you can imagine, as the 220d only pushes out 163bhp, it doesn’t feel massively punchy, so realistically the 250d or the 350d would be the engines you'd want to go for - both for power and for the automatic gearbox. It’s all-wheel-drive, obviously, and engagable with low range, but the comfort suspension means that it does go along well on standard roads at speed. Official figures on the Mercedes website state that fuel consumption in mpg – combined is 37.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class interior screen

Towing and driving off-road

Unsurprisingly, the suspension is optimised to carry heavier loads. So it’s independent in the front, and multilink in the rear. In terms of loads, the truck bed can carry up to 1000kg. If we’re talking towing capacity the 220d can pull a maximum of 3500kg. Load bed is 1.5m in each direction, and there's a decent gap between the space taken up by the wheel arches, so you can lay palettes etc. flat without having to tilt. 

Take a look in the back and what you do get is an LED lit load area, and 4 tie-down loops. You’ll also get all your electrical components for the trailer socket – that includes trailer stabilisation. If you are going off-road, ground clearance is slightly less than if you were to compare it to the Navara. There is however the option for increased ground clearance (approx. £200) should you want it. This one also had an optional hardcover, which whilst looking great, also means you can transport smaller goods and keep them protected from weather and theft. Although perhaps not one to go for if you're planning to transport bigger loads. 

The bed is a bit of a nuissance to open, and I won't lie, after stumping not one, not two, but three of us, we had to get a very helpful (and probably exasperated) technician to come out and show us that brute force and a bit of a knack was all it took. Hint: the latch is triggered to the right of the handle.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class interior front

Technology and Connectivity

In this one there’s a 7-inch high definition screen, with DAB radio and Mercedes me Connect. There's also Garmin Nav with live traffic updates. You get a lot of the systems you’d expect in any new Mercedes, like Lane Keeping Assist, Cruise Control and Active Brake Assist. 

All models get a reversing camera, which is a godsend when you’re new to a vehicle of this size. You also get Keyless Go, semi-automatic air conditioning and hill start assist. If you want to spec up you can get electric front seats, automatic air con and the range of dynamic driving modes. Useful or a nice novelty, all models get an automatic dimming interior mirror with integrated compass function.

Throwback... there was also a CD player! Tom Odell was on in the truck when we picked it up, unfortunately I don't think that comes as standard. And anyway, it would have needed to be Lionel Richie to get any bonus points from me.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class interior rear


There was plenty of room for me up front, but people with really long legs might find they bump a bit, and the steering wheel only adjusts height wise - not to and away from you. In terms of the finish, you get a bit of a Mercedes/Nissan hybrid- although this does change the higher up the spec line you go. The entry level trim will get you mostly plastic finishes, not as flashy as some might want, but what you do have is a durable, easy to clean surface that’s fit for purpose. 

Although this only has the basic cloth seats, they are durable and work well to keep you warm in winter and cool in summer. POWER models get the classic Mercedes-Benz ARTICO leather with DINAMICA microfiber, which whilst not as practical, certainly looks the part.

Mercedes-Benz X-Class test drive

All X-Classes are only available as a doublecab pickup design, so it markets itself as truck suitable for work life and family life. For those with younger families, you'll be pleased to know this one has an i-Size and ISOFIX with Top Tether child restraint system for the outer rear seats. It's also got electric rear windows and an electric back window to look out on... or check to see if your load is still there!

Watch our test drive of the Mercedes-Benz X-Class