Mercedes – Benz’s first venture into the bakkie category is a quite a difficult one.
I have to admit that I’ve questioned the bakkie’s huge price tag in the past, especially the new X350d that sports the potent V6 engine which will set you back almost a million rand.
And I’m also very much aware that the bakkie shares an assembly line in Spain with the Nissan Navara and the two are much the same despite sporting different badges.
And the sceptical approach of “rather save R170k and buy a Navara”. But after spending some time in the x250d trim’s top model, the 4Matic Power, which underwent a slight spec upgrade from it’s original incarnation and now features the Command Online multimedia system, I came to the realisation that this is in fact a very nice vehicle.
That is if you can look past the price tag.
On the outside the LED high performance headlamps and high bonnet rounds off the triangular Merc badge with some serious attitude, while the interior is comfortable and has a definite premium feel to it with a one-stop-entertainment-shop at your disposal.
And the parking package with 360° camera takes the strain out of manoeuvering the monstrosity into tight parking spaces.
While you’ll be advised not to take on more sportier double cabs at the traffic lights, the four-cylinder 2.3-litre common rail diesel engine does produce a healthy 140kW and 450Nm perfectly paired with a very smooth seven-speed automatic gearbox. And as far as fuel consumption go, we averaged 10.2-litres/100km over almost 400km, which isn’t shabby at all.
And don’t let the shiny finishing which sets the Power model aside from the entry-level Progressive option fool you, this baby just loves getting her feet dirty.
During our test, the bakkie performed with aplomb on some seriously wet gravel and dirt roads without missing a beat.
In fact even probably even better than the V6 version we took on some serious technical trails in the Boland during it’s launch last year, because it’s carries less weight.
A switch on the centre console allows you to change electronically from rear-wheel drive to 4MATIC all-wheel drive and activate “low” all-wheel-drive mode, the low-range ratio and the optional differential lock on the rear axle.
And in true Merc style, the bakkie comes standard with PremiumDrive, one of the leading full maintenance plans in South Africa.
It ensures superior cover for 100 000 km or six years, whichever occurs first.
All in all, the x250d 4Matic Power is a premium offering albeit very expensive at R818 431.
But on second thought, since when has a Mercedes ever been cheap?
Next week Road Test Editor Mark Jones will bring you the low-down on where the X350d rate among the hottest double cabs in the land.
- Premium feel.
- Very solid and comfortable off road.
- Steering wheel lacks telescopic setting.
- If you are brand-concious and can afford it, you can’t make a mistake owning one.