At first glance, the X-Class looks a little out of character for a Mercedes. From the front, with its LED headlights and chrome exterior, it has the unmistakable look of a Mercedes SUV, but a rear end featuring a well-proportioned tray decorated by slim tail lights is not what we've come to expect from the German brand. As utes go, though, it's a pretty good looking unit.
It may be a Nissan Navara ute underneath the skin, but there's far more to the X-Class than just the huge three-point star on the front, with Mercedes Benz giving its version a hefty design and engineering overhaul.
The key dimensions of the vehicle have been changed, the track and body have been widened, and it sits slightly lower than the Navara, too. The tray size increases to a generous 1581mm long (longest in the class), 1560mm wide (with a 1215mm gap between the wheel arches - wide enough for an Australian pallet or a couple of kid's bikes) and a depth of 475mm. Additionally, the body panels are Mercedes' own, along with the wheels, lights and bumpers.
Our X-Class was on light duties today, with only a soccer match in the morning and shopping in the afternoon.
Despite the its size and payload rating of 1016kg, my kids refused to put any of our overnight bags and assorted gear in the tray at any time over the weekend for fear it would bounce out. As a result, it was a cosy weekend in the dual cab for much of the weekend, with their things either piled on the middle rear seat or in the foot wells.
The rear seats sit noticeably higher than the front, which allows a great view out the windows for the kids (and limited head room for adults over six foot). Legroom is ok, with two fingers of space between my knees and driver's seat when set to my position (I'm 180cm tall). You'd have no trouble fitting three kids back there in comfort, and my three were able to get in and out of the high riding X-Class without too much hassle thanks to the side steps.
Creature comforts in the cabin include a leather-lined steering wheel and gear selector and carpet on the floors, in addition to (fake) leather and microfibre seat trim. The large 8.4-inch tablet screen looks premium and is easy to navigate.
On suburban streets, the X-Class displayed better road manners than expected, thanks largely to its double-wishbone front suspension and five-link coil spring rear suspension setup. The ride comfort resembled something closer to an SUV than a ute.