It was an overwhelming few days for Trucks & Trailers Vijay Chhagn, who recently took out a top Mercedes-Benz Van salesman prize that landed him in Austria at the Mercedes-Benz X-Class Global Training Experience Centre. Here Vijay spent five days getting close and personal with the first of a new kind of Ute, due to hit the New Zealand market in early 2018. He is one of the first in the world to see and test drive the X-Class and it’s fair to say he’s now more excited than ever about its arrival. I sat down with Vijay to hear what he has to say about it.
“My first impression of the X-Class when I saw it was wow, it looks even better in the flesh” says Vijay. “Yes, it’s a ute but it is different to anything else on the market at the moment”. The lines of the X-Class are classy, rounded, and seamless. The colour range, including red, black, dark blue, dark grey, silver, brown, and white is stylish, especially the metallic colour range. The paint finish is glossy and flawless. “The standard variants make it a stand out on it’s own, but the accessories individualise it and give it a different personality while not in any way jeopardising the overall look”, says Vijay. “It looks great with various alloy wheel options in 17-inch silver, 18-inch grey, or 19-inch black, as well as roof rails, style bars, tow bar, a wide range of cover options, bed liners, dividers, storage boxes, steps, the list goes on”.
“Open the door and it just gets better! It’s everything you expect and more from a Mercedes-Benz”, says Vijay. The dashboard in matt black, aluminum, and wood grain finishes are all incredibly stylish. “I couldn’t pick a favorite,” he says. All are five-seat configuration, two front and three back. Multifunction steering wheel with 12 control buttons, cruise control with variable speed limiter, air-conditioning, 4 x 12V sockets, armrests, bottle holders in each door, comfort overhead control panel with eyewear compartment, locking glove compartment, entry and assist grips front and rear, power windows, and central locking with remote. To top it off an audio sound system with touchpad, innovative controller and large TFT central media display with a screen diagonal of 17.8 cm. The unit connects to Media with two USB ports and SD slot, and of course Bluetooth connectivity, supporting wma, aac, mp3 and wav audio formats, and has a picture viewer to allow image files to be viewed.
“I couldn’t wait to drive it!” says Vijay. “But first of all we took a spin in the competitor Utes on an off-road course before we were given the keys to the X-Class. This is where the magic really happened. The steering, handling, and precision off-road is in a league of its own,” he says. “The power is effortless as it glides over the terrain and undulations, the steering and movement around corners is so controlled. It feels so safe!” This aided by double-wishbone front suspension, multi-link coil rear suspension, front and rear stabilizer bars, and the rear differential lock in the 4x4 variant. “Off-road is effortless!” he says.
On-roads turn, and “there wasn’t any surprises as we glided through the tight twists and turns of Austria’s cobbled roads,” says Vijay. “On to the freeway and on with cruise control was more like a first class flight experience than a driving one.” The three models: Pure, Power, and Progressive were all the same technically, more or less, 2,298cc 4 cylinder 140kW, 450 Nm direct injection, twin turbocharged, 6 speed manual or 7 speed automatic with selectable 4WD. Each model steps up in terms of additional key features. “I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of power and grunt in the 4-cylinder,” he says. “The safety features are endless, hill start assist, Active Brake Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, on-board diagnostics, reversing camera with three view modes, automatic headlight assist, adaptive electronic stability programme, anti-lock breaking system, acceleration skid control, and seven airbags.”
“Overall the X-Class is a beautiful machine, stereotypical of Mercedes-Benz European design and engineering. I have no doubt when we get customers in the seat it’s going to be hard to compare it to anything else currently on the market. And with the base price starting from $53,300* including GST for the Pure model, it is very competitive!” Vijay says. “It was a wonderful trip! Bring on 2018, I can’t wait to get my hands on the Mercedes-Benz X-Class.”
You can reserve one of the first Mercedes-Benz X-Class Utes with Trucks & Trailers now at www.trucksandtrailers.co.nz/x-class or if you have any questions please contact a Trucks & Trailers Mercedes-Benz Van & Ute Specialist on 0800 327 777.