For all of Mercedes’ efforts to pitch the X-Class as a high-end pick-up, its Nissan-built engine is arguably the primary giveaway of its more agrarian, workhorse roots.

It’s a gruff-sounding motor – not noticeably more so than other pickups’ four-cylinder diesels – but an Amarok with its 3.0-litre V6 oil-burner is considerably more refined. It’s a good thing, then, that Mercedes is set to launch its own V6 diesel variant this year.

As befits its brief as a dependable, go-anywhere vehicle, the X-Class gets a full-sized spare tyre that’s mounted to the undercarriage

With a kerb weight of 2159kg to shift (we weighed it at 2320kg with a full tank of fuel), the X-Class’s four-cylinder engine has to work hard to make any reasonable progress too. The sprint from standstill to 60mph was dispatched in a fairly tardy 11.2sec, and the dash from 30mph to 70mph took 11.6sec.

The five-cylinder Ranger Wildtrak we tested in 2012, meanwhile, hit 60mph from rest in 10.8sec and recorded a 30-70mph time of 10.6sec.

A persistent roar from the X-Class’s engine accompanied its leisurely rate of acceleration as well. At maximum revs in third gear, we measured cabin noise at 67dB.

Still, with a lot of weight to shift and only modest power reserves to call upon to do so, the X-Class didn’t suffer any issues with traction off the line. Its slug of low-down torque – 332lb ft available between 1500rpm and 2500rpm – provides plenty of pulling power right from the get-go, although multiple testers commented on a slight hesitation from the seven-speed transmission at times. But although it’s not the quickest gearbox in the world, it’s not slovenly, either, and it swaps cogs smoothly as you pick up the pace.

As for stopping power, the X-Class managed to come to a halt from 60mph in 3.17sec, doing so in a largely controlled and stable fashion. Sure, there was a considerable amount of pitch as the Mercedes’ weight shifted forward under braking, but no more than you’d expect from what is essentially a very tall, heavy vehicle. By way of comparison, the Ranger took 3.19sec to slow from 60mph to a standstill.

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