Driven: 2020 Mercedes-Benz X250d 4Matic (2024)

One does not usually associate the Three Pointed Star with pickup trucks, but the fact that you can now buy a Mercedes-Benz with an open bed in the back is certainly intriguing. The fact that it isn’t actually built by Mercedes does detract a bit from the anticipation of driving it, but it doesn’t eliminate it completely.

The Mercedes-Benz X-Class is essentially a Nissan Navara in a fancy frock (which, for the record, is not a bad combination in my book, because I quite liked the Nissan when I drove it a while back). The X is built in the same factory in Spain, alongside the Navara, and you don’t have to go out of your way to find a lot of Nissan DNA in it. Even if it’s not apparent at first glance, Nissan energy is present all throughout the car, even though the X-Class does differ from the Navara once you start moving.

My tester was a very well-equipped X250d 4Matic, with most of the bells and whistles available on the X-Class, including surround-view cameras, front crash mitigation tech, part-suede, part-leather electrically-adjustable and heated seats, as well as a low-range gearbox with a locking rear differential.

Photo: Andrei Nedelea

But let’s get into the powertrain first. The X250d that I drove had the exact same 2.3-liter turbo four-cylinder diesel that powers its Navara brethren, with 190 horsepower and 450 Nm (331 pound-feet). It also came with the same seven-speed automatic gearbox and the combination provides smooth, unhurried progress.

The X250d is not really fast, with a naught to 100 km/h (62 mph) time of 11.8 seconds and because of the extras that Mercedes put on it, it’s a few hundred kilos heavier than the Navara (which completes the sprint exactly one second quicker). However, most of that extra weight definitely went into sound deadening, because the X-Class is far-far smoother and quieter than the Navara (which was fairly quiet and smooth to begin with, for a pickup, that is).

Its suspension tuning also feels different to the Navara’s. It doesn’t feel softer, but the suspension certainly does its thing more quietly than in the Nissan. However, even though it has coil springs on all four corners, it can’t escape the typical pickup pattern - that’s when repetitive road imperfections make the car skip along the road.

Show it a corner and it proves stable and it navigates curves with surprisingly low body lean. The steering is also pleasantly positive for a vehicle in this class and it certainly feels a bit tighter and more precise than what you’d experience in the Navara.

Photo: Andrei Nedelea

But while it’s actually surprisingly good on the road, it’s when you abandon smooth tarmac that the X-Class really starts to make sense. The surprising ease with which it overlands is an unquestionable quality - nothing seems to phase it and when the going gets really tough, you can put it in low range, lock the rear diff and it will claw its way out in quite a remarkable fashion.

Off-road is where you understand why it has such high ground clearance and why you’d want to equip it with some suitable tires. It’s hugely impressive over ditches, rocks (where you feel its extensive wheel articulation) and even through rivers (although I didn’t actually test its maximum wading depth of 60 centimeters).

Driven: 2020 Mercedes-Benz X250d 4Matic (3)

Life aboard the X-Class is pleasant, and it’s a surprisingly competent long-distance driving companion. I was especially impressed by how quiet it is at high speeds even approaching its top speed of 176 kph (109 mph), especially since my tester was riding on Pirelli Scorpion AllTerrain Plus tires which I was expecting to be very noisy.

The X-Class has a great interior by pickup standards, certainly better than that of the related Navara. However, the entire top of the dashboard is made from very cheap-feeling hard plastic, as are many other bits of interior trim. This is by no means what you’d expect from a Mercedes, but at least the seats and the steering wheel do feel like they belong in a Merc. I also didn’t like the cheap selector lever for the automatic transmission.

Photo: Andrei Nedelea

Looking at the car’s exterior design, I think it’s actually quite good. I was disappointed when I saw that Mercedes changed the front end it showed on the X-Class concept, with the higher-set headlight clusters (which I think looked better), but even this version isn’t bad.

It’s certainly quite a distinctive-looking pickup, even if the shape of its cab is exactly the same as that of the Navara. Mercedes designers have done enough to differentiate it and it certainly looks like a more premium and more expensive vehicle than the Nissan. My tester may have also been helped in this respect by the optional 19-inch rims, the LED headlights and the rather striking Granite Green paint finish.

Some who have driven the X-Class say it’s not worthy of the Mercedes badge, they say it’s too derivative and that it’s really more Nissan than it is Mercedes. And I will partly agree with that point of view, yet at the same time the driving and ownership experiences are certainly not the same.

Mercedes has managed to inject some extra class into the pickup segment, at least in Europe where the notion of luxury trucks isn’t really that popular. In fact, the decision not to sell it in America from launch is not necessarily understandable, given the fact that luxury trucks are already a thing.

Photo: Andrei Nedelea

The X-Class adds a layer of luxury over what the Navara already offers. And what the latest incarnation of the Navara offers is by no means devoid of luxury. It is at least as capable as the Nissan off-road, it’s better and more refined on-road and the star that adorns its nose certainly earns it extra parking lot kudos.

I'm an automotive enthusiast with a deep understanding of various car models and their features. I've extensively studied and experienced a wide range of vehicles, analyzing their performance, design, and overall driving experience. My passion for automobiles goes beyond surface-level knowledge, allowing me to provide detailed insights into specific models and their nuances.

Now, let's delve into the concepts mentioned in the article about the Mercedes-Benz X-Class:

  1. Mercedes-Benz X-Class as a Pickup Truck:

    • The article discusses the unexpected combination of the Three Pointed Star (Mercedes-Benz emblem) with a pickup truck, challenging traditional associations.
  2. X-Class Built on Nissan Navara Platform:

    • The Mercedes-Benz X-Class is revealed to be essentially a Nissan Navara underneath, sharing the same factory in Spain for production.
  3. Powertrain and Performance:

    • The X250d model is equipped with a 2.3-liter turbo four-cylinder diesel engine generating 190 horsepower and 450 Nm (331 pound-feet) of torque.
    • The seven-speed automatic gearbox provides smooth and unhurried progress.
    • The article notes the X250d's performance metrics, including a 0-100 km/h (62 mph) time of 11.8 seconds.
  4. Driving Dynamics:

    • The X-Class is described as not particularly fast but offers a smoother and quieter experience compared to the Nissan Navara, attributed to added sound deadening.
    • Suspension tuning is mentioned, providing stability and surprisingly low body lean in curves.
    • The steering is praised for its positive feel in this vehicle class.
  5. Off-Road Capability:

    • The X-Class is highlighted for its impressive off-road capabilities, including high ground clearance, low-range gearbox, and a locking rear differential for challenging terrains.
  6. Interior Features and Comfort:

    • The X250d 4Matic model is equipped with advanced features like surround-view cameras, front crash mitigation tech, part-suede, part-leather electrically-adjustable, and heated seats.
    • The interior is described as pleasant, with a focus on being a competent long-distance driving companion.
  7. Exterior Design:

    • The article praises the X-Class's exterior design, noting distinctive elements and differentiation from the Nissan Navara.
    • Changes to the front end from the X-Class concept are mentioned, with optional features like 19-inch rims, LED headlights, and a striking paint finish enhancing its premium look.
  8. Criticism and Differentiation from Nissan:

    • Some opinions suggest that the X-Class is not entirely worthy of the Mercedes badge, being more derivative and Nissan-like. However, the article points out that the driving and ownership experiences set it apart.
  9. Luxury Segment and Market Decisions:

    • The article highlights Mercedes-Benz's decision not to initially launch the X-Class in the American market, discussing the concept of luxury trucks and the addition of luxury over the Nissan Navara's offerings.

In summary, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class is presented as a unique proposition in the pickup truck segment, combining luxury and performance while acknowledging its shared platform with the Nissan Navara.

Driven: 2020 Mercedes-Benz X250d 4Matic (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Domingo Moore

Last Updated:

Views: 5825

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Domingo Moore

Birthday: 1997-05-20

Address: 6485 Kohler Route, Antonioton, VT 77375-0299

Phone: +3213869077934

Job: Sales Analyst

Hobby: Kayaking, Roller skating, Cabaret, Rugby, Homebrewing, Creative writing, amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Domingo Moore, I am a attractive, gorgeous, funny, jolly, spotless, nice, fantastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.