Hello and welcome to DRIVE ZAMBIA (AKA Drive_Z) –– the automotive arm of the lifestyle and travel blog 10TenOne Lifestyle. I look forward to bringing you the best of the automotive world; from news on various car releases, car reviews, the car market in Zambia and around the world, road trips and anything about cars in general. I’m absolutely passionate about cars so I sincerely hope you enjoy this segment!
When the Mercedes-Benz X-Class was announced I was excited for a number of reasons. As a Mercedes-Benz car owner myself, I couldn’t think of anything better than a 4×4 that had the desirable three-pointed star, a luxurious interior and an attractive exterior but could also be up to the task off-road.
We’ve all probably heard the old adage “seeing is believing,” a proverb that commonly manifests itself in negative circumstances, and one that we usually take pride in using — especially when our uncertainty is justified!
Moreover, I was excited to see a 4×4 that would compete directly with the heavyweights in the sector: the virtually indestructible Toyota Hilux; the versatile Ford Ranger; the workhorse Nissan Navara; and the incredibly refined VW Amarok. The Hilux and Navara have been ubiquitous on Zambian roads for time immemorial, as far as I’m concerned, but in recent years the Ford Ranger has been the car to beat as it offers a stylish exterior and a tech-filled interior that has attracted a much younger customer to make it the highest selling 4×4 in the region.
The Amarok, on the other hand has struggled to cement itself as a real contender for “Zambia’s Best 4×4.” However, my excitement was stifled when I learnt that the X-Class would share its platform with the Nissan Navara. I scoffed at the notion. But it made me ask myself a very relevant question, one that many customers will be asking themselves before making the decision to buy the new X-Class –– where exactly does the X-Class stand?
My skepticism grew when I delved into the rabbit hole of online car reviews and YouTube videos and found, to my dismay, that the Nissan Navara not only provides the chassis for the X-Class, but also the 2.3-litre diesel engine (developed by Renault) that powers the X220d (163bhp/120kW) and the X250d (190bhp/140kW) in both the six-speed manual and seven-speed automatic variants. I was disappointed even further when I learnt that Mercedes did not even bother giving the new X-Class their trademark Mercedes-Benz key fob that we all know and love.
The exterior of the X-Class bears the hallmarks of any modern premium Mercedes. The front bumper and grille are tall and rugged but undoubtedly share the same DNA as some of the SUV’s in the Mercedes-Benz lineup. This is highlighted by the shape of the front headlights, which look very similar to the ones found on the GLC and GLE-Class models. Its off-road capabilities are evident from the additional ride height, which is adequately mitigated by the optional side-step. So far, it appears that Mercedes have done a good job at hiding the X-Class’s shared genes with the Navara and have come up with what is definitely the most stylish 4×4 currently on the market.
In Zambia we will have the choice of only two trim levels for the X-Class: Progressive and Power. The Progressive trim includes painted front and rear bumpers, matte black trim pieces on the dashboard and 17-inch light-alloy wheels. You also get a choice of either fabric or man-made leather. The Progressive trim is the safe bet for the customer who will most likely put the X-Class through its paces, both on and off-road.
The Power trim is the premium choice between the two, and is aimed at customers who are looking to get an SUV experience out of their 4×4. As such, the Power trim comes standard with 18-inch 6-twin-spoke allow wheels, KEYLESS-GO, LED headlights, electrically adjustable ATRICO/DINAMICA seats, rain sensors, etc. Some of its optional extras include lovely leather seats that are available in either black or brown, aluminum trim or brown woodgrain trim, a 360-degree reversing camera and Mercedes’ COMMAND Online infotainment package, amongst many others. In short, the Power trim is aimed at customers seeking an SUV experience in a 4×4, albeit at an extra cost.
The back of the X-Class is a relatively comfortable place to be in as it features stadium style seating, allowing the rear passengers get a decent view of the road ahead. ISOFIX child-seat adapters come as standard, which makes transporting your little ones a lot safer and more practical. The rear bed is massive, and there are options for VPC bed-liners, canopies , aluminum or black roll-covers. There is also an X350d V6 engine available with 258bhp/190kW, but that model deserves an entire article for itself.
Now, I have to admit that in reality, I doubt that many people know or care about the fact that it has Navara underpinnings. Some might even consider that a good thing. Despite the X-Class being Mercedes’ first time around the rodeo, it is a précis for how 4×4’s should be made, and the fact that it wears the famous three-pointed star with pride should be reason enough to convince most buyers to choose it over its rivals. It sure was enough to turn me from a Doubting Thomas into a believer!
The X-Class Concept Was Announced Back in 2016
The X-Class Shares A Chassis, Engine, Key-Fob and Gearbox with the Nissan Navara
Trademark Mercedes-Benz Headlights
The Optional Side-Step
The Optional Reversing Camera is Conveniently Placed Near the Rear Handle
Keyless-Go, 360 Degree Camera And Lane-Assist Are A Few Of The Optional Extras Available
The Rear Seats Are Comfortable and isofix Child-Seat Adapters Come As Standard
The X-Class Exterior is Both Premium and Rugged
The X-Class is a Versatile and Stylish 4×4
Brown Leather and Brown Woodgrain are Both Optional Trim Extras
Disclaimer: I do not own the rights for any of the pictures above