The all-new 2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class ute will arrive in Australia from early 2018, and CarAdvice is in position to tell you what you can expect to see when it finally arrives Down Under.
We know there will be three drivetrains offered, and that there will be three model grades. We don’t know what it will cost just yet, but Mercedes-Benz announced that the X-Class will start in Europe from around 37,000 euros, which equates to approximately $53,800.
That seems expensive for what will essentially be a workhorse-spec with a single-turbo diesel engine. And it is. Most dual-cab derivatives are priced from the high-$30k mark upwards.
In fact, if that were to be the costing we see in Australia for a starting point, it would be pitting the four-cylinder rear-drive manual 4×2 base model against a Toyota HiLux SR5 4×4 with an automatic gearbox. Yikes.
But as the team from Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia was eager to point out, it isn’t as simple as converting the price for a vehicle in Europe to Aussie dollars, because there are differences between the markets, the applicable taxes, standard equipment lists, and so on.
Diane Tarr, managing director for Mercedes-Benz Vans Australia-Pacific told media at the unveiling of the X-Class that the company must offer pricing that positions the new model both as competitive and desirable.
“We know we’ve got a lot of cashed-up tradies, and I think that would position them more into opportunities like the Progressive and Power models,” Tarr said.
“I’m using an Aussie term, here!,” she exclaimed at the reaction to using the colloquial term for successful blue-collar workers. “Our [German] colleagues, that’s a term they also picked up on – ‘what’s a cashed-up tradie?’ – but we have to be attractively priced, naturally, to be able to step into this segment.
“I can’t comment on what goes into their price position,” Tarr said of the German start price. “At the same time, we are a premium brand, and we’re mindful of that position. But it is a competitive segment.”
We’ve seen Mercedes-Benz Vans be particularly aggressive in the commercial vehicle segment in Australia, and the X-Class will likely follow suit. Expect competitive, but not cheap, pricing, essentially.
As for range complexity, ute buyers clearly need millions of options to choose from – and Mercedes-Benz will offer multiple tiers to its 18-variant X-Class line-up in Australia, which will be only available as a dual-cab, but will include the choice of pick-up or cab-chassis body-styles.
So far, we know the new model will come with three distinct versions, and each will have a choice of two engines.
Here’s how we expect the company will offer the X-Class range when it arrives locally in the first half of 2018:
Cab-chassis (see our speculative rendering) or pick-up available.
The entry-level model. Still a dual-cab, but riding on 17-inch steel wheels with a grained plastic front bumper and painted black rear bumper. Notice that it also has a glass-protecting barrier in the tray, as well as four load-securing rings on the sides of the load bed, but still gets colour-coded mirrors with integrated indicators and colour-coded door handles.
There’ll be the choice of two Renault-Nissan 2.3-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engines.
The first is a single-turbo unit with 120kW of power and 403Nm of torque, sold as a six-speed manual only, but with the choice of rear-drive or selectable four-wheel drive.
The second is a twin-turbo unit with 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque, which will have the choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic, and the option of rear-drive or selectable four-wheel drive.
Inside is a plastic floor cover, cloth seat trim and a plastic steering wheel, but with a 7.0-inch tablet-style media screen with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and USB connectivity, four speakers and a central control dial controller between the seats. The seats are manually adjustable and it has a single-zone air-conditioning system.
The Pure will have a standard rear-view camera system, and front and rear sensors will be optional. All X-Class models will have lane keeping assist, forward collision warning with low-speed auto-braking, and seven airbags (dual front, front side, full-length curtain and driver’s knee).
Cab-chassis or pick-up available.
The Progressive variant is differentiated from the outside with 17-inch alloy wheels and colour-coded bumpers, albeit with large black plastic innards. It has heated exterior mirrors, and load-securing rails on the sides of the tub.
The cabin gets a heat-insulating windscreen and Dilour hardwearing carpet. The doorsill panels are aluminium-covered and the front foot-wells are illuminated. There’s a compass display in the rear-view mirror, but it isn’t auto-dimming.
Inside, the Progressive model has a different black fabric trim to the Pure model, or the option of Artico man-made leather with Dinamica microfibre, as seen in the Benz passenger car range. There’s a leather-trimmed steering wheel, gear-knob and handbrake, silver vent surrounds, an eight-speaker stereo and the same media unit, and rain-sensing wipers.
There will be two drivetrains on offer here, too.
The entry version has the twin-turbo unit with 140kW of power and 450Nm of torque, which will have the choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic, and the option of rear-drive or selectable four-wheel drive.
But buyers will have the choice of the 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel with 190kW of power and 550Nm of torque, mated exclusively to a seven-speed automatic and with permanent four-wheel-drive exclusively.
Options that are expected to be offered on the the Progressive model include: Comfort Package with electric front seats with lumbar support, climate control, Artico man-made leather with Dinamic micro-fibre, and a stowage net in the front passenger footwell; and the Style Package, with LED headlamps and part-LED tail lamps, an electrically opening rear window, tinted rear windows, side running boards, roof rails and 18-inch wheels.
This is the show-pony of the three models, with 18-inch alloys and chrome exterior highlights. This version sees the adoption of LED headlights and part-LED tail-lights, where halogen lamps are standard on the lower variants. The side mirrors are electronically folding,
The flagship model in the range sees a few more options for buyers to choose from when it comes to interior trims.
There’s black Artico/Dinamica with contrasting stitching as standard, but buyers can option black (real) leather with grey stitching or nut brown leather with black stitching. The front seats are electrically-adjustable and have lumbar adjustment, plus there is dual-zone climate control and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
There’s even fake leather on the dash top and doors in the top model, and – for the first time in the ute segment – buyers can choose between macchiato beige fabric or black fabric head-lining. There are other utes with different head-liners available – the Ford Ranger, for one – but not as an option. The vent surrounds are finished in a shadow silver trim.
It has the same basic media system as the entry-level models, albeit with Garmin sat-nav mapping fitted (optional on the lower versions), and you’ll have to option the Comand media system with its touch-pad and voice control system – but there is keyless entry and push-button start, and a small storage net in the front passenger foot-well.
The Power version will receive the brand’s 360-degree camera system as standard, as well as front and rear parking sensors. That camera/sensor pack will be optional on the Progressive.
This version copies the same drivetrain options as the Progressive – so a choice of the 2.3 twin-turbo diesel four-cylinder with manual/auto and 2WD/4WD options, or the range-topping 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel with auto and permanent 4WD.
The company is expected to offer a Style Package for the Power model, comprising a sliding rear window, tinted rear windows, side-steps, roof rails and 19-inch wheels.