There has been a lot of hype about the Mercedes Benz X-Class dual-cab ute, and people seem to have very mixed opinions about the idea of a luxury ute! So I am really excited to drive one and see how good it is as a family car and give it the BabyDrive testing!!
First impressions of the Benz X-Class is very branded, with the logo etched into the bars on the tray and protruding out of the tray walls too!
The interior is a little bit more luxurious than standard utes but apart from that, I can't really tell the difference! There are the same problems with legroom inside the cabin, the top tethers aren't easy to use and the cruise control isn't great either!
The clarity of the 360-degree camera is so good it almost looks computer generated! This is really useful when parking and maneuvering as visibility is difficult, especially out of the back. There are front and rear parking sensors too which is great as most utes don't tend to have them.
The tray of the X-Class would hold 30 shopping bags! That's the same amount as the Holden Colorado, one more than the Mazda BT-50 and Toyota Hilux, two more than the Mitsubishi Triton and six more than the Nissan Navara and Isuzu D-Max.
I could reach about a metre into the tray when standing at the back and I am 164cm, which meant it was only the first two rows of bags I could access easily. I could fit the Mountain Buggy Duet twin stroller easily into that space with three shopping bags beside it, which would be enough space in reality to carry the stroller and shopping bags. I could reach over the sides of the tray too. All other smaller strollers fitted in the reachable area too.
Storage inside the cabin is a little disappointing, there is only one cup holder in the whole car!? It's in the central console. There is no tray for your phone or cordless charging, your phone has to go in the central console storage box, which is also small and the glove box is small as well! There is a glasses case in the ceiling and the door bins in the front and back will hold a large refillable water bottle and in the back, there are two small map pockets and little wells in the rear door handles.
The front seats are nice and comfy, with electric adjustment and heating controls down the right side of the seat base. In the back, the seats are comfy too but you seem to sit much higher in the back and headroom is really limited. There was only about 4cm above my head and I'm only 164cm!
There is ISOFix in the two outer seats, all within plastic guides and nice and easy to connect to. There are top tether anchor loops on all three second-row seats, between the headrest prongs. They are woven loops rather than metal bars, just like in the Nissan Navara. I found these EXTREMELY difficult to connect to as you have to post the top tether strap through the loop on the chair you are putting the child seat in and then across to the loop on the seat to the left or right of it and attach the clip on there. It was difficult not only to get the straps through the loops but then to attach them and to tighten the top tether strap to the required amount in such a small space, especially once more than one child seat is installed! These woven loops are a bit of a grey area and it is uncertain if they are tested to hold three child seats.
The rear seat is nice and flat and wide and there was room for three child seats across the back row. I installed the Britax Platinum and Kid Guard Pro forward facing using seat belts and the Britax Graphene rear facing, using the ISOFix. Again, it is worth bearing in mind the top tether woven loops are a bit of a grey area and it is uncertain if they are tested to hold three child seats. When I tested the Nissan Navara that has an almost identical top tether setup, it was almost impossible to get a straight answer from them about whether it was OK to install three seats or not.
The media screen system is very crisp and clear and especially the 360-degree camera has amazing image quality!
The media screen is controlled with a rotary controller situated in the central console and I find it really difficult to use, especially with my left hand because I am right handed! I found the media system quite difficult to navigate because of this. For someone already used to this Mercedes system, it would be fine but it is not straightforward for someone who isn't, and it would take some time to learn it. The system has inbuilt sat-nav but no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The X-Class was a noisy vehicle to drive! The engine was extremely loud and tractor like, it felt like it was using as much effort when driving down a suburban street as it would climbing a mountain!
A lot of people have utes as family cars as they can double as a work vehicle after the school drop off! As a family car and a BabyDrive, the X-Class does fit three big child seats in the back but installing them is a real fight with the woven top tether loops. There are some interior aesthetic luxuries for the front passengers but on the whole, the legroom is very minimal even without child seats installed and the cab feels cramped, especially with the lack of headroom in the back. The lack of cup holders is a worry and the interior storage is small for a vehicle of this size. The clarity of the 360-degree camera helps tremendously with visibility but cruise control accuracy is appalling for a car of this price.
The Mercedes-Benz X-Class got a 5-star ANCAP safety rating in February 2018 and comes with seven airbags as standard.