The X-Class first appeared on UK roads a few months ago, but the model range will only become fully fleshed out later this year when the range-topping V6 X350d, complete with permanent rather than part-time four-wheel drive, hits British roads.

The car’s global roll-out, meanwhile, will introduce it in South Africa and Australia this year, and South American markets in 2019.

Richard Lane

Road tester
An uncommonly polished pick-up this may be but, in its press material, Mercedes gently reminds us that the payload is enough to carry 17 full 50-litre beer barrels. Don’t say the brand doesn’t know its market.

Mercedes claims that the X-Class’s frontal styling features – its twin-louvred radiator grille, sculpted bonnet, and headlights that extend laterally into the front wings – make it “seamlessly fit into the Mercedes-Benz model portfolio”.

They’re certainly features that are recognisable on a Mercedes, but it’s a tenuous claim to suggest that they make a car that is fundamentally different from most other Mercedes fit into the firm’s product brochure “seamlessly”.

Then again, people attracted to a pick-up probably won’t want or expect it to look like an S-Class. But whether the X-Class has genuine and distinctive upmarket design appeal, aside from in a few superficial places, is questionable.

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It’s certainly trying to look desirable, as you can see from the kink in the beltline, the sculpting of the bonnet and the flared arches. Trouble is, the new and related Navara has some of those styling features too – and when you know about the relationship between the vehicles, you can’t help but spot the similarities.

The X-Class is available in the UK, for the moment, with a choice of two diesel engines, the entry-level X220d providing 161bhp and 297lb ft of torque and the mid-range X250d getting 187bhp and 332lb ft. Both use a Nissan 2.3-litre four-cylinder engine, though, and only the X250d is available with switchable four-wheel drive (the model tested here).

If you want a Daimler engine and full-time four-wheel drive in your X-Class, only the forthcoming 255bhp 3.0-litre V6 X350d will provide both.

The car is available in four-door double-cab form only, so it doesn’t offer the modularity of layout of some rivals. At 5340mm in overall length and with 3150mm between the axles, it is an almost carbon copy of a like-for-like Navara in both respects (surprise, surprise) but sits between equivalent versions of the Amarok (smaller) and Ford Ranger (larger).

So although no modern pick-up makes life easy when it comes to finding a parking space large enough to accommodate it, the X-Class isn’t the worst offender you could buy.

The car’s chassis mechanicals strike a compromise intended to serve on- and off-road requirements equally well. It has a ladder frame and a solid rear axle mounted by multiple links – but also independent front suspension, and both coil springs and ventilated disc brakes at all four corners.

If you’re interested in the heavy-duty side of the car’s character, you get low-range gearing as standard and a locking rear differential as an option; the flatbed measures more than a metre and a half both longways and sideways (big by class standards) and it can carry up to 1.1 tonnes; all three engine variants are rated to tow up to 3500kg; and ground clearance is up to 221mm, with 600mm maximum wading depth.

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