CommercialFleet

Mercedes-Benz X-Class may be pricey but is a credible working vehicle for fleets, first drive reveals

"Fleets that need to uphold a certain image should find the three-pointed-star a big draw"

Mercedes-Benz X-Class

Review

The Mercedes-Benz X-Class pick-up should be a significant fleet consideration but do the badge and dealer support justify the price tag? 

There are two ways fleet operators can look at Mercedes-Benz’s first pick-up truck. On the one hand, it’s brash and overpriced. But on the other, it’s a credible working vehicle with the backing of the world’s largest automotive powerhouse.

The X-Class is intended to appeal primarily to the lifestyle market, something that is quickly gaining traction in the UK. But, as a product of Mercedes-Benz Vans, it comes with an iron-clad aftersales package.

It’s the most expensive pick-up one can buy, with prices for the top-spec X 250d Power starting at £34,000. An even more expensive V6 version is expected later this year.

Running costs are similarly high at 53.69p per mile. A top-spec Volkswagen Amarok will cost fleets 47.5p while the Nissan Navara is even cheaper at 44.6p.

Fleets that need to uphold a certain image should find the three-pointed-star a big draw, especially those already running Mercedes-Benz Vans.

For a small business or sole trader, the X-Class presents itself as an attractive tax write-off as it a practical, well equipped, SUV with the benefits of being classed as a commercial vehicle.

Equally, it’s a capable and durable vehicle. Under the skin, the advanced underpinnings of the Navara have been tweaked to ensure the X-Class offers a best-in-class driving experience, but this hasn’t dampened its ability as a work vehicle.

The Nissan-derived 2.3-litre engine feels a little lacklustre, especially when compared to the V6 in the Amarok.

Fuel economy of 36mpg is on par with rivals, although during our testing we found 28-30mpg more realistic.

The load bed size is competitive, but not class-leading, and the X-Class offers identical interior space to the Navara – which is no bad thing.

The five-seat cabin has been enhanced by Mercedes-Benz with better quality materials and a new infotainment system. There are a few carry over parts from the Nissan, and these are relatively obvious at first glance.

A 1,066kg payload gives the X-Class the all-important one-tonne capacity, plus it can tow a 3.5-tonne trailer – a bonus over the Volkswagen Amarok which can only tow 3.1 tonnes.

On the motorway, the X-Class is quiet and refined. Wind noise is minimal and should be an advantage to those who cover higher mileages and are concerned about driver fatigue.

A big advantage of the X-Class for lifestyle buyers is its improved handling. Stiffer suspension means the 2.3-tonne truck exhibits minimal roll and excellent grip.

The stiffer springs do mean the ride is less cosseting on rougher roads or speedbumps, however.

With no payload, the X-Class is fairly bouncy, a trait almost all pick-ups suffer.

It has also, annoyingly, inherited the Navara’s non-reach-adjustable steering column which affects the driver’s ability to get truly comfortable.

There is no denying the X-Class is one of the very best pick-ups on sale. It not only has kerb appeal, in the same way as a premium car, but functions as an adept workhorse at the same time.

Fleets should give the model significant consideration, it will certainly appeal to drivers, but ultimately – in a market saturated with more affordable alternatives – operators will need to decide if the badge and dealer support is enough to justify the additional expense.

Model tested: X 250d Power Auto

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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