The X-Class from Mercedes-Benz has finally been launched in South Africa.
Touted by Mercedes as being the first of its kind, the premium bakkie enters the large – and increasingly competitive – 100 000 unit a year segment, having been launched to world markets (including Australia, where bakkies are commonly known as ‘Utes’ and North America, where they are called pickup trucks) back in July 2017.
With prices of upwards of R640 000, one would expect a lot.
The good news is that the double-cab only X-Class range delivers on several fronts, by combining off-road capability and ruggedness, with premium brand comfort, styling and refinement. And don’t forget the added panache with which that three-pointed Star has become synonymous.
While the X-Class is a bakkie in every sense, it is also a family vehicle that has the safety (seven airbags) and ride quality of price-comparable SUV’s – but with the added benefit of having a 1.1-tonne payload too boot.
Quite what owners fill the load bay with is anyone’s guess, but those are the concerns of the well-moneyed adventurer. We doubt that we’ll see many owners using this bakkie to cart bricks and rubble or garden refuse to dumpsites. They are perhaps, more likely to hitch a yacht or other fanciful leisure activity enabler of up to 3.5-tonnes to the tow bar.
Yet for all its style; the X-Class is as tough and capable as it gets in this market. It has the engine, driveline, rear-locking diff, ride height (210mm) and suspension articulation capabilities to match any 1-tonne bakkie rival – and then some.
And it also has some very nifty electronic gadgetry, like 360° cameras that really help when the going gets tough, as well as a range of accessories to satiate just about any further desire.
The question, if affordability is not an issue, is whether or not the woman in your life will let you splurge R640 000+ on a bakkie instead of a deluxe SUV. Your chauvinist mates, on the other hand, are likely to be resolute in their approval of the attractive looking Merc – and to that we raise a macho glass.