Mercedes-Benz has unveiled their new X-Class pickups in concept form, taking their first step into the mid-size pickup truck realm globally.
A model line developed with and to be manufactured by partner Nissan, the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class the company says is the first mid-size pickup truck ever to be offered by a premium brand. The X-Class is the latest of the ever widening collaboration with the Renault-Nissan Alliance.
To be offered in a number of trim levels, the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class will come exclusively as a four-door cab seating up to 5 passengers. Though it shares some design elements with the Nissan NP300 Navara, Mercedes-Benz has given it their full styling treatment inside and out.
The front takes on the same styling DNA familiar to Mercedes-Benz SUVs. The three-pointed start sits proud in a large grille opening below a power dome hood. Headlights spread outward like wings into flared fenders for an aggressive stance.
The wheel arches are large, able to accept up to 22-inch wheels or 35-inch tires as shown in the two concepts. The flared proportions can be joined by integrated running boards depending on either the urban or off-road design.
The rear gate features a continuous LED light strip embedded into its shape along with generous amounts of chrome or blacked out trims.
Though styled upscale, make no mistake about the X-Class truck cred. It features a full ladder frame and all-wheel-drive. Rear suspension is of a five link design with coil springs for its solid axle, a layout allowing a better ride than leaf springs yet a robust towing capacity.
An available permanent all-wheel-drive system features both a high and low range transfer case and differential locks. Under extreme off-road conditions, both can be locked manually, or an automatic drive mode can make all the choices for you.
Power choices will likely feature Nissan sourced four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines for entry level models. The top-of-the-line trims will get a Mercedes-Benz V6 diesel and the aforementioned 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive
The interiors will be unique to the Mercedes-Benz X-Class with a familiar and welcome style to Mercedes-Benz owners. The dash features round air vents and a free-standing infotainment display and central controller found in the brand’s current crop of cars.
Higher quality materials and trims such as leather and woods will be a staple of the X-Class experience just as one would expect in the brand’s luxury cars. Technologies for both entertainment and driver assistance aids will encompass all Mercedes-Benz has to offer.
When the Mercedes-Benz X-Class launches late in 2017 it will first be available in Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. It will be built in Spain for European, Australian and South American customers and in later Argentina for the Latin American market.
Will it come to the United States? Not yet. Mercedes-Benz has been slow to spread their brand equity in the U.S. into trucks and commercial vehicles. Secondly, imported trucks are a tough case when it comes to customs unless they are manufactured in a NAFTA zone – which the X-Class is not.
There’s always a chance however that if U.S. customers demand a premium mid-size truck and are willing to pay the cost for the transport and tariffs it would bring then anything is possible.