Mercedes X350d 4Matic
Many things are simply accepted of pickup trucks when comparing to an SUV, they don’t have to be as agile, quick, or luxurious. Mercedes appear to not be content with such compromises, anything with a three-pointed star must be a cut above the rest. Sadly, they may have performed a fine swing of the bat, but they missed the ball.
I didn’t expect much of a ladder chassis, however, after driving a Dodge Ram and an F150 earlier in the year, I expected more than this.
The power builds with a wide hit of torque, something similar to a violinist pulling a chord, starting the bow at one edge, and screeching it across until the noise is so loud you pause for breath. Picking up speed it can do, albeit without the lungs of an athlete, but it’s not so great at wiping it off. If the bed was fully loaded I’d have some serious questions for the engineers that decided these discs and calipers were up to the job. Owners should expect to be refreshing the pads at a regular interval.
Corners are where the truck really falls down, fortunately, it didn’t fall over. I didn’t have high hopes and that’s OK, anyone buying one of these expecting BMW X5 drivability wouldn’t be thinking straight anyway. The lunging is pretty poor though, worst of all I feel that the all-wheel-drive system is called upon to hustle me around a corner constantly, the whole thing feels stressed. It makes it every time, but I immediately question the longevity of such stress on the differentials. Most of these will never leave the road, but they may well be expected to last a decade or so without any major bills, and I just can’t see it.
I hope I’m wrong, but it feels like the gubbins below me are made for something two thirds the size. Similar to a middleweight boxer ending up against several weight classes above his weigh-in. It can handle a beating today, but tomorrow?
It would be fine for a mid £30k Nissan, but not at this price point.
The selling point of this truck is power and a premium feel, it delivers on both but offers little else, and the comfort levels are compromised by the agriculture architecture, an S-class, it really isn’t. Those hoping for a GLC with a truck bed with be sorely disappointed.
Overall the truck is pretty wide of the mark, especially for the money. A reasonably optioned model is tickling sixty grand, there’s a lot of premium SUV’s out there for that. Admittedly they will attract more tax if this is a company purchase. It's that market that the big Merc feels it is chasing. Head of projects, the foreman, and the big boss will all be attracted to the Merc's premium cabin and somewhat rugged look. It would be fine for a mid £30k Nissan, but not at this price point. If the big boss wants to save a little cash he could shove the two below him in Nissan Navara's and take the pick of premium SUVs hovering around the £60k mark, the money saved on the Nevara's will easily make up the tax bill.
If it has to be a truck you have two options. Ring the Toyota dealer, they'll have what you need, or the Volkswagen Amarok is better than the X350d, whilst giving more cabin space than the Japanese counterpart, and it feels plenty premium enough inside.
A wild card suggestion, Dodge Rams can be purchased in the UK with Right Hand Drive conversions from specialists for a little bit more than a high spec X350d, and you can even have a diesel, if you must.