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Mercedes-Benz X-Class Power X250d ute 2018 review

The X-Class Power is the flagship of the range and comes jam-packed with plenty of Mercedes-Benz goodies.
Dan Pugh
Marketing manager

31 Aug 2018 • 6 min read

The humble ute really has come a long way, hasn't it? What was once an equipment-hauling workhorse has now evolved so much that they are often used as luxury chariots for city dwellers.

And I do mean luxury, what with Mercedes-Benz now dipping a wing-tipped toe into the swirling waters of Australia's dual-cab ute market for the first time.

So for my weekend test, I'm jumping on the premium-ute bandwagon by climbing into Merc's new X-Class Power 2018 to see what all the fuss is about.

Priced at $64,500, the X-Class Power is the flagship of the range and comes jam-packed with plenty of Mercedes-Benz goodies, including an 'Artico' (fake leather) instrument panel with contrast stitching, Artico and 'Dinamica' (microsuede) seat fabrics, an 8.4-inch 'Command Online' multimedia system and power front seats with lumbar support.

Our test car also included the fancy 'Style Package' ($2490) that adds 19-inch alloy wheels, power rear windows, tinted back glass, side steps and roof rails.

So, how will this luxury ute handle city and urban duties? My kids and I had the weekend to find out.

Saturday

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.

  • At first glance, the X-Class looks a little out of character for a Mercedes. 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. From the front, with its LED headlights and chrome exterior, it has the unmistakable look of a Mercedes SUV.
  • 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. 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.
  • The tray size increases to a generous 1581mm long and 1560mm wide. The tray size increases to a generous 1581mm long and 1560mm wide.
  • Our test car included the fancy 'Style Package' ($2490) that adds 19-inch alloy wheels. Our test car included the fancy 'Style Package' ($2490) that adds 19-inch alloy wheels.

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.

Sunday

Our schedule today involved a trip to the city followed by a late picnic lunch in the park.

Sitting behind the three-point star on the grille sits a twin-turbo 2.3-litre diesel engine that produces 140kW and 450Nm, and is matched with a seven-speed automatic transmission driving power to all four wheels. Benz claims a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes for a braked trailer.

Around the city, the steering was reasonably responsive, making the X-Class easy to manoeuvre through the narrow lanes and streets. At low speeds the gear changes were smooth and intuitive, and there was ample urgency from a standing start. Parallel parking in the X-Class was straight-forward, aided by a 360-degree camera system and front and rear parking sensors.

After spending some more time in the X-Class,though, some things began to annoy me. Like the dash design , for example, with it's haphazard layout and hard plastics which detracted from the initial premium feel. Closer inspection revealed a patchwork quilt of Navara and Mercedes Benz fittings and finishes.

  • Around the city, the steering was reasonably responsive. Around the city, the steering was reasonably responsive.
  • Storage is on the light side, with only two small cup holders up front and bottle holders in the doors. Storage is on the light side, with only two small cup holders up front and bottle holders in the doors.
  • The cabin also comes with (fake) leather and microfibre seat trim. The cabin also comes with (fake) leather and microfibre seat trim.
  • The rear seats sit noticeably higher than the front, which allows a great view out the windows for the kids. The rear seats sit noticeably higher than the front, which allows a great view out the windows for the kids.

Storage is on the light side, with only two small cup holders up front and bottle holders in the doors. The lack of loose item storage meant my smartphone and car keys were shoved in the driver's side door pocket. There's not much in the way of creature comforts in the back, with just air vents and a 12-volt outlet to keep passengers company.

Tested in 2017, the X-Class scored the maximum five-star safety rating and comes with a decent list of safety kit, starting with its seven airbags - dual front, driver's knee, front side and full-length curtain airbags. Next is AEB, which comes standard (a feature no other ute can claim), lane-keeping assist, and trailer stability assist.

Over the course of the weekend our X-Class covered around 300km of city and urban driving, with the trip computer displaying fuel consumption of 8.7 litres/100km. Although slightly higher than Mercedes-Benz's claimed 7.9 litres/ 100km (combined) it's a figure I can live with.


The Wrap

Is this luxury ute worthy of being considered a family hauler? Its SUV-like performance, ride and comfort, along with it's levels of safety, were impressive, but it fell short on practicality with its lack of useful storage in the cabin.

Although having a tray provides plenty of options for carrying bikes and other gear, you might want to consider investing in a tray cover (optional extra).

If you're looking for something a little different from the usual SUV, it's worth a look.

Do you think a luxury ute is the ultimate family car? Let us know in the comments below.

Likes

SUV-like ride
Safety equipment
Exterior styling

Dislikes

Lack of storage
Haphazard dashboard design
Bit tight in the back for adults

Scores

Dan:

3.7

The Kids:

$50,990 - $81,999

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