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“It’s just a Navara mate.”
There’s going to be a lot of that over the next few months, and while the 2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class does share a platform with the 2018 Nissan Navara, there’s more than a few changes under the skin.
Let’s take a look at them.
Wider track: The X-Class has a 50mm wider body than Navara, but crucially a 70mm wider track. In theory, a wider track should deliver a more solid, planted feel on-road. And following our launch drive, the way in which the X-Class handles both at speed and on twisty roads delivers the planted feel you’d expect. The rear isn’t perfect over repeated corrugations, but it’s not easily unsettled either.
Suspension and chassis: Initially, Mercedes-Benz needed to ensure the chassis was beefy enough to support the 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine coming in the range-topper, but the decision was made to employ the tougher chassis across the range. It’s got reinforced cross members, thicker coil springs and new dampers. The only downside here, is less ground clearance off-road compared to the Navara.
Sheetmetal: The exterior sheetmetal is also different. According to Mercedes-Benz engineers, the only body parts the two vehicles share are the door handles. That’s where the 50mm wider body comes into play too. The front and rear LED lights are different, as are the wheel designs. Mercedes-Benz calls it a ‘unique body on a shared frame’.
Engine: While the four-cylinder – that is on sale now – is the same engine as the Navara, the V6 when it arrives will be a completely different story. For now, X-Class buyers get the 2.3-litre, twin turbo oiler common to Navara with 140kW and 450Nm and part time 4WD. When the 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel arrives, X-Class will deliver 190kW, 550Nm, full time 4WD and low range – the only dual cab to offer that combination. The V6 engine and gearbox are proprietary Mercedes-Benz units.
Cabin: There’s no doubt this isn’t a Nissan inside, even if there is some trim that isn’t quite as premium as we’d like. The 8.4-inch infotainment screen is the main focal point, but the steering wheel, switchgear and dash design is very Mercedes-Benz. The steering wheel is only adjustable for height not reach though, which will annoy some buyers. NVH and general insulation inside the cabin is claimed to be class-leading and it’s hard to argue against that following our launch drive.
Safety: Mercedes-Benz wouldn’t be Mercedes-Benz if this wasn’t catered for. The X-Class features ventilated rear disc brakes, AEB and lane-keep assist across the range and a full suite of active and passive safety systems that installs it as the segment leader. A rear-view camera is standard across the range and a 360-degree camera is standard on the range-topping Power grade. Seven airbags are also standard and as such, the X-Class is a five-star rated vehicle by ANCAP.
Price: As you’d expect, all the changes listed above come at a price, and as such the X-Class will be more expensive than the Navara on which it is based. The top spec X250d Power variant will cost $64,500 before on-road costs with an automatic, which is a fair whack more expensive than the range-topping Navara.
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