Mercedes-Benz X350d Review
There are some well-equipped pick-ups on the market but the X-Class from Mercedes-Benz is the first to carry to a premium badge. It is as refined as many large SUVs and very well equipped, making it a true luxury, recreational vehicle.
The X-Class shares its platform with the Nissan Navara. Of all the pick-ups to choose, Mercedes-Benz picked well: the latest Navara is one of the more refined - for reasons we’ll come to.
Mercedes has developed the model considerably to stamp its own identity on it. Up front, the brand face is distinctive; we are familiar with the chunkier badging found on Mercedes’ vans and this works well with the bold look of the pick-up. The rear end is a little generic and without the three-pointed star, would be hard to identify. Wing and wheel arch shapes are all unique to Mercedes too, with subtler forms.
Inside, the X-Class feels pure Mercedes-Benz. Brushed aluminum, familiar dials and displays plus good fit and finish bring this pick-up to the front of the pack when it comes to an up-market cabin. Our only real niggle is the positioning of the window buttons on the door panels, which were often pressed in error when climbing aboard.
It could be argued that the place of a pick-up is as a work tool; why would customers need a smart interior? The answer is the X-Class has stepped bravely into the lifestyle arena and while still delivering on all the capability aspects, it proves there’s no need to slum it.
All about the engine
Relatively recent to the range is the X350d and the four-cylinder X220d and 250d have been dropped. This is a shame as the 190hp X250d is a good all-rounder for the pick-up. The good news is that the silky V6 diesel in the X350 is smooth, efficient and has that lovely charismatic six-pot sound. It’s a lazy engine too, never needing to be worked hard to deliver suitable get-up-and-go. Branded 4MATIC it has switchable two or four wheel drive and comes with a transfer ‘box for low range. (A rear differential lock is an optional extra.)
Driving on and off-road
Having tested the X-Class off road across some of the more challenging terrain in North Wales at the model’s UK launch, I can vouch for its off-road abilities. While many pickups may never explore anything more extreme than wet grass, the X-Class is respectably capable. Switching to 4WD gave the traction to pull out of muddy ruts and hill descent control was welcome on some of the hairier snowy descents (5mph in high range; 3mph in low range).
On the road, the X-Class really is refined. Using the Navara’s underpinnings with its coil-sprung rear (rather than the more commonly-fitted and cruder leaf springs) the X-Class is given excellent composure. It delivers more of a large SUV-type ride and only on the worst of road surfaces is there a little of the familiar body-on-separate-chassis shimmy
As the miles racked up, the appeal of the X-Class grew. It is extremely easy to pilot and well suited to covering great distances in a civilised manner. As a pure work tool list price is expensive but if it is a refined drive with the capabilities of a pick-up you are after, the X-Class firmly ticks both boxes.
About the Author
Andrew is a freelance motoring journalist with a background in IT and the vehicle leasing industry. With a lifetime’s passion for all things automotive, he can be found behind the wheel of everything from vans to supercars. In addition to reviewing the latest vehicles and technology, Andrew also runs a couple of classic British motors. He lives at the edge of the Peak District with his son and cat.
Andrew Wright @theMotorWriter