Mercedes-Benz's forthcoming X-Class ute will benefit from improved packaging over its Nissan Navara donor vehicle, according to the brand.
An extra 70mm of body width has been added over the Navara, which Mercedes says will translate into a more attractive ownership proposition for the buyer, as well as justifying the price premium it is sure to command.
Mercedes-Benz director of design brands and operation Kai Sieber said that while Nissan's ladder-frame chassis placed restrictions on what changes could be achieved, the wider body aided extra interior space, as well as better ergonomics and refinement.
The extra space was also used to improve noise, vibration and harshness levels.
"We were able to change the proportions over the Navara," he said. "I wanted to have more width ... and that has translated in a number of improvements for occupants ... as well as benefiting the design.
"The inner cabin is 50mm wider than in the Navara, and on top of that we are 70mm wider in the track to enable the shoulder to be wider and that you can feel that in the interior. We took it as wide as we wanted and we needed it to be... but of course, from a designer's point of view, no vehicle can ever be wide enough."
No body panels bar the door handles and some glass parts are shared with the Navara despite their similar exterior appearance, with Mercedes increasing headroom for rear occupants by a few millimetres, a difference it believes will make an impact.
"You can see it in section how there is a small step a few millimetres in to help with interior space," he explained. "So, there is now a bit more room for head clearance."
One benefit of a raised roof height is Mercedes is now able to fit a better-padded and raised rear-seat cushion, to help alleviate the cramped seating position found in the rear seats of many four-door pick-ups.
The extra space was also used to improve noise, vibration and harshness levels, with extra sound-deadening material fitted to the transmission tunnel.
Mercedes has also had to work around the Navara's dash and centre console layout.
"This leads to less fatigue for occupants", Mr Sieber said.
Mercedes has also had to work around the Navara's dash and centre console layout, particularly of the air-conditioning and audio systems, when fitting its own more compact components.
This allowed for the fitment of features seen as quintessential to the brand, such as the touchpad controller used for multimedia navigation.
"We had to work within the hardpoints of the Nissan like the climate control sitting down low, so we had to build up our own packaging components from our own car lines from the C-Class and V-Class," Mr Sieber said.
"We had to package all of our elements from our side, and that was really tough to package that all together and get all the functions we need in the centre console."
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