As with the Navara, rear-wheel drive is the default, with four-wheel drive manually selectable. The upper body is all new, drawing on Mercedes’ SUV design language. It’s 50mm wider than that of the Navara, with which it shares only the radio antenna and door handles. The track is 70mm wider and X-Class customers can opt for a 20mm lower ride height. The Power model rides on 18in alloy wheels, while the lower ones get 17in wheels.
There’s a choice of 161bhp X220d and 187bhp X250d four-cylinder Nissan diesels at launch, and these will be joined by the 255bhp X350d Mercedes 3.0-litre V6 in the middle of 2018. The performance of the four-pot X250d is acceptable, although overtakes need some planning.
Gearboxes are a six-speed manual or, with the more powerful of the two diesels, the option of the seven-speed automatic tested here. The forthcoming V6 will get Mercedes' full-time four-wheel drive and nine-speed automatic transmission.
The X-Class gets a suite of driver assistance and safety features as standard, including autonomous emergency braking and traffic sign recognition. Thus equipped, the X-Class gets five stars from Euro NCAP.
Interior quality is a big step up from the Navara, with more comfortable seats and Mercedes' usual high-quality surface materials and detailing. Only the lower instrument panel is finished in hard plastic, and although this isn't pretty, it provides a tough, practical surface capable of withstanding scuffs and kicks. Stowage space for small items in the cab is scarce, though, with nowhere to casually toss small items like a mobile phone except the door bins.
Mercedes has successfully worked on the acoustic packaging to isolate any engine combustion noise from the occupants’ ears, so it’s quiet and refined. Wind and tyre noise at 70mph is impressive for a commercial vehicle, too. However, although the X-Class has car-like qualities, first-time time pick-up drivers will find its handling and steering err towards the truck-like, with some understeer, a hefty feel and a firm ride.