Not if you live in the good ole’ red, white and blue, that is. Mercedes-Benz’ new X-Class pickup truck is a strange introduction for the performance sedan and coupe car brand. We think this unique take on 4×4 fun is the German company’s way of bridging a very big gap. We’re talking about that gap between Mercedes’ tame crossovers and their over-the-top, Miami-sunglasses, G-Class SUV.
If the new X-Class truck that will (unfortunately) grace non-American roads looks familiar, that’s because it is: You’ve probably heard the rumors that Nissan and Renault work closely with the Germans, and you’re right – Merc even provides plenty of motors to Nissan. The X-Class is a product of that quiet partnership; it steals some exterior bits from the Japanese’s popular Titans and Frontiers.
Merc’s First Pickup
Merc has a long history of producing rugged and offroad-capable machines (again, looking at you, G-Wagon), but the 4×4 unveiled in Cape Town, South Africa a few months ago is the company’s first true pickup truck. Release dates are slated for 2018, and the truck is expected to be heavily marketed in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Why not the USA, the most profitable and largest truck market on Earth by billions? Mercedes is tight-lipped and they’ve given no answer. Shame, too, because this truck is pretty cool.
While it’s no F-250 or RAM 2500, the X-Class is quite capable of edging out the Rangers, Tacomas, and other small pickups on the road. The X-class will sport a respectable 4-banger or diesel V6, pushing out between 160 and 190 horses. The former will be graced with a single turbo, and the latter will receive a bi-turbo design, so buyers can expect plenty of torque and a wide powerband with the available seven-speed automatic.
Toyota’s Got Stiff Competition
The X-class ditches archaic leaf springs and blocks in favor of modern coil springs. The truck is governed by Mercedes’ 4MATIC all-wheel drive system, which provides dynamic power and brake management over uneven terrain. A double wishbone front axle and multi-link rear are muscular for the size of this compact truck. Maximum tow capacity for a truck of this size and displacement is mind-boggling: 7,716 pounds, with a 2,230-pound payload capacity. That’s a lot of bratwurst. Surely, Mercedes is looking to de-throne Toyota, the dominator of European, African, and South American truck markets.
The First Luxury Compact 4×4
But really, why make this thing? Beyond bridging their own product gaps, Mercedes would have little incentive to try to steal a slice of this over-saturated pie – except they aren’t, really. No other compact truck – a vehicle class considered purely utilitarian and economic – provides “passenger car-like” performance and luxury, without foregoing some of those muscly, muddy features. The X-Class seems to balance the formula.
This truck comes with lane-keep assist, a fancy LCD pop-up screen, some suede, double-stitched seats, supercar-like air vents and carbon dash, that spaceship dial thing we all know and love in our Euro imports, and the typical, postmodern Mercedes sedan front end to ice the cake. If that all cool stuff you can’t have doesn’t sting enough, here’s the price: $43,106 (hypothetical) American dollars. A very similarly-equipped Tacoma TRD Pro fetches around $42,000. The X-Class is shaping to be a helluva compact luxury truck with value. Time will tell if the Germans decide to make peace and offer it up in the states.