Why we ran it: To find out why UK drivers are turning to pick-ups in increasing numbers, and to determine whether the X-Class is as refined to live with as Merc’s cars
Month 1 - Month 2 - Month 3 - Prices & Specs
Life with a Mercedes-Benz X-Class: Month 3
Three months and 9000 miles later, we now know if a big, plush pick-up can slot in as an everyday work and family tool - 5th September 2018
The mileage tells the story. No self-examination is necessary to decide whether running a Mercedes-Benz X250d pick-up as my private car for the past three months has been a success. You only have to see how the odometer reading has climbed from 884 to 9850 in just three months.
I’m as surprised as anyone to discover that, while living in an environment where other cars are always available, I’ve used the Big X for most of my summer motoring.
Why this should be the case is a matter for deeper thought. There was always a risk that after its novelty value faded, the Merc pick-up might become a bit of a monument, left in a corner in favour of sportier and more convenient machinery. After all, our main plan was to investigate the phenomenon of UK drivers using low-tax one-tonners as family cars: what if I’d found the pick-up’s limitations too great for someone not actually benefiting from tax savings?
However, this has not been the case. In fact, I’d say two of the X-Class’s most important points of attraction have been convenience and driving appeal.
Convenience? First, the X has a big, spacious driving position, elevated for decent all-round visibility and populated with robust and well-designed controls. Most of them were created with typical competence by Nissan for the X’s closely related loadcarrier, the Navara, but are uniquely trimmed for a kind of durable luxury (brushed ally on the dashboard and Alcantara for the seat inserts) that says ‘top-end A-Class’ more than ‘Nissan’. Our Power model, the most expensive of three on offer, had Merc’s Comand infotainment system, still unusual in that once you put a day or so into learning its ways, it feels logical and quick.
Nit-pickers love spotting the X-Class’s obvious similarities to the Nissan, with which the X-Class shares plenty above and beneath the skin, but most people never actually spot the relationship, diverted by the white pearlescent paint, the diamond-cut 19in alloy wheels, the gleaming chrome rollover bar behind the cabin and the massive two-bar grille featuring a Merc ‘gunsight’ as big as a dinner plate. Far more usual during our tenure have been the genial thumbs-ups signs we’ve had from passing bikers and the envious glances from tradesmen you meet in the traffic.