Mercedes-Benz has launched its first pick-up, the X-Class, in a move that will attempt to push the sector upmarket.
Heavily based on the Nissan Navara and the incoming Renault Alaskan pick-up – the result of Mercedes sharing parts with the two manufacturers - the X-Class was revealed last night in Cape Town, South Africa. Due to go on sale at the end of the year, the X-Class is expected to start at around £28,000 plus VAT.
While the X-Class is based on similar pick-ups, Mercedes is wanting to distance itself from other pick-ups by adding a premium flair to the market, and is hoping buyers are willing to pay extra for a more upmarket product in this traditionally rugged market.
The rear of the X-Class is noticeably similar to the Navara, but Mercedes has ensured the new pick-up still features the brand's trademark grille.
Three trim levels will be available – Pure, Progressive and Power in ascending order. Four- and six-cylinder engines are available from launch, with a six-speed manual available as standard and a seven-speed automatic offered as an option on the higher-powered engine.
Every UK X-Class will be capable of towing 3.5 tonnes, the same as the Navara.
Head of Mercedes-Benz vans Volker Mornhinweg told Auto Express magazine: "The X-Class will redefine the pick-up into a true premium vehicle.
"Look back in time and compare what has happened to SUVs. They were rough and tough vehicles and now they're family cars. The same could happen with the pick-up."
Mercedes has apparently already taken several hundred reservations for the pick-up, despite no official confirmation on pricing. First British deliveries are expected to begin at the very start of 2018.
By Ted Welford