Mercedes has just created a new niche, the luxury pickup truck, and after recently spending time behind the wheel of one, I now really, really want one.
The Mercedes X-Class features an attractive exterior, premium interior, and all the practicality of a pickup truck. The brand expects architects, posh farmers, and rednecks who have won the lottery (okay, maybe we made up the last bit) to buy one.
Basically, this vehicle will appeal to outdoorsy types (like us), who want a luxury work vehicle during the week, but which can also fit the entire family, dog, and mountain bikes in at the weekend.
It's the ultimate lifestyle vehicle, and with prices starting at £27,310 (ex VAT), it's not overly expensive, either.
Here are 8 reasons we think you'll definitely want one (and 2 reasons you won't).
1. It's the most stylish pickup truck around
Just look at it. This is easily the most stylish pickup available, with very distinct Mercedes design elements.
There's a wide range of paint options and wheels to choose from, so you can make the X-Class your own.
The styling components have been designed to enhance the form of the X-Class, but that doesn’t mean function is forgotten. Each element has been developed to do its job as effectively as possible, while delivering quality that’s built to last, from the durable paint finish to the easily maintainable material of the seat coverings.
2. It's got the most luxurious interior of any pickup truck
The inside of the Mercedes X-Class is really nice place to be as well. Gone are the cheap plastics of regular pickup trucks – they've been replaced by a wood veneer or brushed aluminium dash.
You've got the choice of brown leather, black leather, or Atrico man-made leather, again, all a step above what you'd expect in a pickup.
It's not quite as luxurious as a Mercedes road car, but it strikes a great balance between premium, and practical and hard wearing.
We think Merc has done an amazing job.
There's plenty of hidden storage, and long distance drives are a pleasure thanks to electrically adjustable front seats with lumbar support (which can also be heated), and plenty of room for three people in the rear.
3. It's quiet
Mercedes has worked on the acoustic packaging to isolate any engine noise from the occupants’ ears, and they've done a great job.
Wind and tyre noise at 70mph is impressive for a commercial vehicle, too.
Overall, we were pleasantly surprised how quiet and refined the X-Class was.
4. It drives surprisingly well
The 2.2-litre twin-turbo diesel produces 190 bhp and 450 Nm torque. Mated with the 7-speed automatic gearbox it accelerates from 0-62 in 11.8 seconds, and will go onto a top speed of 109 mph.
Performance is acceptable, but over taking will need some planning.
It'll return 35.8 mpg, and emit 207g/km CO2.
We were also surprised at how well the Mercedes handled, it's better than any truck that's come before it. Although, don't start expecting roadcar levels of agility because there's only so much you can do with a ladder frame and and all that weight.
Now, this engine is taken from the Nissan Navara (on which this vehicle is based), but in the middle of 2018 it'll be joined by a 255bhp X350d Mercedes 3.0-litre V6.
The V6 will make the X-Class an even more compelling package.
5. You can claim back VAT
If you're using the X-Class primarily as a work vehicle, you'll be able to claim back VAT. That brings down the starting price to an impressive £27,310.
Our review car was priced at £34,100 (ex VAT), so a retail customer will pay more like £41,000.
6. It's packed with technology
Let's start with the safety tech - the X-Class features Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Traffic Sign Assist, and Hill Start Assist. That's all great (although, we would have liked to see Active Cruise Control in the mix as well).
Inside you've got a reversing camera and 360-degree sensors to make parking the large truck easier.
Infotainment is handled on a large 8.4-inch screen, rotary controller and touchpad. The system features Bluetooth, DAB, and Garmin 3D Maps.
The multi-media system 'COMAND Online', is identical to the one found in Mercedes other cars. As well as the basics, it also includes an internet browser, Mercedes-Benz apps, and an integrated 80 GB hard disk.
This can be paired with 'Me Connect', which allows you to locate your parked X-Class, check your vehicle status, and track your car with GPS, all on your smartphone.
7. It can go off-road
Obviously it's not quite as capable as an SUV, but the X-Class can also handle itself off-road.
With 4x4 drive high and low options, as well as a locking rear axle, the Mercedes will be able to traverse muddy fields and steep slopes with ease.
The X-Class also features Hill Descent Assist, which will keep the vehicle at a steady pace while travelling down slopes.
8. It's practical
Look at all that space in the back!
It's capable of carrying a 1092 kg payload (so qualifies as a light commercial vehicle) with enough space for mountain bikes, bales of hay, chainsaws, pretty much anything, basically.
It can be covered in several different ways, including a hard cover, roll cover, or hard top.
And here are two reasons you might not want one:
1. There's no place for your phone
Nit-picking here, but there's no space in the cabin to just dump your phone or wallet - you'll have to either open the armrest and put it in there, or down in the door pockets. Neither are ideal.
2. The steering wheel isn't reach ajustable
Again, we're nit-picking, but in a vehicle that cost this much, we'd expect the steering wheel to be reach adjustable, just to make driving that little bit more comfortable.
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