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Henny Takes A First Look: 2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class

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Mercedes pickup confirms the new trend

By Henny Hemmes
Juror, World Car Awards
National representative FIA Women in Motorsport
Senior European Editor
The Auto Channel

THE HAGUE, November 20, 2017. When Mercedes-Benz announced to premiere its X-Class pickup truck at the  International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, last September, I was a bit surprised. Sales of the X-Class would start in Europe, followed next year by South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Later The X will be available in Argentina and Brazil, but Mercedes does not include the US.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Who would need such large vehicles in Europe….? It is an exception when you see a Ford Ranger or a Toyota Hilux. With just over 80,000 units sold in the first half of this year, the European market is very small compared to the US. where in the same time nearly 217 thousand mid-size and 1.1 million full-size pickups were sold.

But Mercedes makes its point by recognizing a small market’s possibilities and “the changing requirements of the international pickup markets”. The demand for mid-size pickups with typical passenger car characteristics and comfort features has been steadily on the rise for years, while the popularity of pickups for private use is increasing as they are no longer viewed purely as ‘workhorses’. For people who need serious pulling power, an SUV is not capable enough.

Andy Barratt, managing director of Ford in the UK said to Automotive News Europe: “That growth is partly a function of the new model surge, where there is more competition coming in, it grows the market as well. There’s still more growth to come.” During the first six months of 2017, sales rose by 19 per cent and are expected to exceed 200,000.

The publication recognizes a trend with other manufacturers, such as VW (Amarok), Renault, Fiat and next year PSA, stepping into the segment.

Back to Mercedes-Benz that is the first premium manufacturer to take these changes  into account. The X-Class is aimed at different customer groups: land-owners and farmers in Argentina, business owners such as building contractors in Australia, families with an affinity for premium products in Brazil, trend-conscious individuals in South Africa or Great Britain, as well as sporty adventurers in New Zealand. The pickup will be offered in three variants to meet the requirements of those potential customers.

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Interior finish is what you may expect of a premium model. Mercedes says that comfort and quality feel are elevated to a new level in the mid-size pickup segment. It speaks for itself that the X gets systems which we know from the Mercedes passenger cars. They include theTouchpad in the center console, the integrated Comand system, Linguatronic voice controla and a 360-degree camera.

In conjunction with Command Online, the centre display has an 8.4 screen with a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels and high-contrast IPS technology (In-Plane Switching). It is the largest display in the segment.

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Mercedes offers two 4-cylinder engines and two variants of its 2.3-liter diesel:. the 163 hp strong X 220d and the X 250d with 190 hp. The X 350d 4Matic 84with a 258 hp/550 Nm strong V6 will be available from mid-2018.

The new Benz model is 5340 mm/210 inches long, 1920 mm/75.6 in. wide and 1819 mm/ 71.6 in. high., its wheelbase is 3150 mm/124 in. The sizes of the load bed are l/w/h 1587/1560/474 mm or 62.4/61.5/!8.7 inches. The maximum payload is 1024 kg/2297 pound and braked towing capacity is 1651-3500 kg / 3638-7716 pound.