Tested: The $100,000 ute
September 2, 2019
1. This is more of a Merc
The Mercedes-Benz X-Class is built on the same platform as Nissan’s Navara ute, a fact frequently cited in pub criticism of the three-pointed star’s first crack at the dual-cab class. Its four-cylinder X250d examples build on that base with Nissan-built engines and transmissions — the newer X350d brings Benz V6 turbo diesel power and more gear. That said, any journey with the X-Class still starts behind a steering wheel without reach adjustment and a Nissan-style key fob reminding you this Mercedes isn’t cut from the same cloth as an S-Class.
2. There’s plenty of go
Prod the awkwardly placed starter button tucked to the right of the steering wheel and the V6 wakes with refinement rarely found in this segment. Smoother than four and five-cylinder engines favoured by Holden, Ford and Toyota, the Benz V6 also packs plenty of punch. Peak outputs of 190kW/550Nm translate to effortless shove on the road, helping the machine reach 100km/h in an impressive 7.9 seconds. Better still, the Mercedes seven-speed automatic is paired with full-time all-wheel drive as opposed to the predominantly rear-drive layouts of most rivals (save for the VW Amarok). As with most rivals (except the VW), the X-Class brings low-range and a rear diff lock for when the going gets tough. Mercedes claims 222mm of ground clearance, 600mm maximum wading depth and 30/25 degree approach/departure angles which make it one of the category’s more capable options.
3. It’s refined on the road.
We didn’t venture off-road in our time with the Mercedes, instead taking part in the commuter rat race, weekend sports run and errand-fetching duties. Quieter than its rivals, the X-Class benefits from a Benz infotainment set-up, road-biased rubber and tastier cabin materials than competitors. Rolling on coil-sprung rear suspension as opposed to more rugged leaf springs, the X-Class brings an impressively polished ride for something capable of carrying more than a tonne in the tray.
4. You get a lot of gear …
Often overlooked in commercial vehicles, safety is a key feature of the X-Class. Promising to make prangs less likely, our range-topping Power grade had autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assistance and a 360-degree camera. Among other features, there are LED headlights, self-parking, satnav, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and luxury touches such as aluminium trim, black roof liner and 19-inch wheels with road-biased tyres.
5. It doesn’t come cheap
Priced from $79,415 plus on-road costs, the X-Class is one of the more expensive utes you can buy. That’s before you factor in optional extras — our test example brought gear such as leather seats ($1750), sports bar ($6227) and tow pack ($2063), pushing its price to an eye-watering $94,731 plus on-roads, or more than $100,000 in the traffic. Factor in a comparatively short three-year, 200,000km warranty and servicing that can set you back twice as much as Thai-built rivals ($2555 for three years) and the X-Class quickly becomes a premium proposition.
Mercedes-Benz X350d Power vitals
Price: From $79,415 plus on-road costs
Safety: 7 airbags, AEB, LKA, 360 degree camera
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel, kW/Nm
Spare: Full-size spare