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Will the X-Class be a Tradie Favourite?

Mercedes Benz X-Class Ute

I love utes – always have – and that’s why I’ve owned my current Navara for nearly six years.  It’s not brand spanking new but let’s just say it’s been a workhorse in the garden and beyond, and it has been really well looked after.  Longevity is what this Nissan Navara D21 is all about; it just keeps going without anything major needing to be done.  Could longevity and practicality be the key highly sort after characteristics of what a great ute should be?  If you happen to be a Tradie, then these features have to be playing on your mind when you buy a new ute for work.

Toyota Hilux, Ford Falcon, Holden Rodeo and Nissan Navara are big names wheeled about amongst Tradies who have worked the hard yards with typically these utes being commonly their favoured working companions.  These are the guys that know which utes last the distance, so when a new ute like the Mercedes Benz X-Class is about to make a glamourous entrance on the big stage, will it fly high or sink?  The coming years will reveal whether the new X-Class will still be made mention of around smoko tables on builder’s sites, landscaper’s gardens and farmer’s markets.

No doubt, Mercedes-Benz will have done their homework.  Their current new vehicles are known for being classy luxury sedans, wagons, coupes, and in more recent years, SUVs.  So with the addition of the new X-Class Ute, we should be seeing plenty of luxury – particularly in the X-Class interior.  Mercedes Benz V-Class vans have been around for some time now, too, and they have been pretty solid workhorses.

The new X-Class range of vehicles are expected to arrive in Australia from 2018, with the exact launch dates, specifications and pricing to be announced closer to the time.  Having shown off the concept at various motor shows, the X-Class lines look sleeker than most utes I’ve seen – except for the likes of the Falcon and Commodore utes.  The new X-Class ute isn’t really in the Falcon and Commodore ute class, however, and with its fulltime AWD and serious off-road capabilities the X-Class can be taken into serious off-road terrain.  Sleek but aggressive and intimidating are words that come to my mind to describe the solid and bold X-Class looks.

Interestingly, the new X-Class for Australasia will be built at a Nissan plant in Barcelona, Spain in a marriage with Renault and Nissan.  The X-Class will be built using the new Navara platform; however the engines, all-wheel drive systems and interiors will all come from other Mercedes-Benz sources like the C-Class and V-Class range.  The top X-Class model will be powered by a very powerful V6 diesel engine which will be mated to a Mercedes-Benz’ 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive system.  The AWD system will combine an electronic traction system, a transfer case with reduction gear, and two differential locks for the serious off-road expedition.  This powerful drive system in combination with a tough ladder-frame chassis will result in the X-Class achieving payloads of more than 1.1 tonnes, and a towing capacity of up to 3.5 tonnes.

Mercedes-Benz Concept X-Class Interior

Volker Mornhinweg, the head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, says “Our future X-Class will be a pickup that knows no compromise.  Ladder-type frame, high-torque six cylinder engine, and permanent all-wheel drive are compulsory for us.  As an added value, we will bring safety, comfort, agility and expressive design – in other words, everything that distinguishes vehicles bearing the Mercedes star.”

Did you know that in Australia, Argentina and New Zealand more than 14 per cent of new vehicle registrations are for a one-tonne ute!  No wonder we’re seeing the likes of Mercedes and VW getting stuck into a slice of the pie, too.