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

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