EVERY PRICE of a three-pointed star comes with honour- yes that badge.
Recently we had a pleasure to fiddle back and forth in the four-cylinder Mercedes X Class bakkie, whose price tag is a bone of contention, especially amongst Amarok and baby sister Nissan Navara, enthusiasts.
For the uninitiated Navara provided a based platform for the X-trail which allowed it to enter the bakkie fray quickly and cost-effectively.
Packed with a genuine Benz engine it has outputs of 190kW and 550Nm, respectively.
As for safety and knowing Benz with their brands, they do not comprise in that department.
The X350d Power we road tested is decent if not over-endowed, and features top Benz assortments from electrically-adjustable front seats, LED headlights, and seven airbags and extra items such as navigation, a 360 degree parking camera, and a lane-keeping assist that vibrates the steering wheel when you cross lines without indicating.
This happened en-route to some village in Polokwane, for a relative funeral, were unfortunately it turned out to be distraction to the mourners (my humble apologies to diphiri- graver-diggers) who at times gave that uncomfortable but daring look at this monster,
To compound matters the Speaker of Polokwane Legislature (name withheld) told anyone who cared to listen “this is life maan, see how young boys roll in.” And yes, I’m still alive (no day-lightning –tladi– took place).
A ‘slay Queen‘ of a bakkie, some uttered cheekily in unison.
Apart from its physique some of its interior speaks volume such as cabin ergonomics that are good, physical buttons to quick-access the main media and climate control features and infotainment is controlled by a knob and a touchpad between the front seats. Interestingly, the age of touchscreens hasn’t yet come to the Benz bakkie. Why Nadine, Sbu and your team at Vans?
As in all the test drives we conduct, X350d V6 lacks space and limited leg room at the back of seat passengers and rear backrest angle is also quite upright.
The stitched soft-touch material covering the top of the dashboad and upper parts of the doors, coupled by its black leather interior, makes is it to forget about its shortcomings.
Fuel (Diesel) consumption averaged 11.l l per 100km which is acceptable but not great for Benz standards. But it adds 550Nm of torque enough to allow a 0-100km/h sprint under 8 sec and 205km/p top speed.
The 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine is paired with a 7G-Tronic seven-speed automatic gearbox and the X350d gets permanent four-wheel-drive. The off road ability (as it happened when we passed some farms) is enhanced by a selectable low range reduction gear and a rear diff lock.
There’s a lot of kit from the Benz parts bin- ranging from the air vents and the screen-based infotainment system, complete with center console controller to the multifunctional steering wheel and instrumentation.
The transmission has an Offroad setting – along with Eco, Comfort, Sport and Manual modes – which change the gearshift strategy to best suit the conditions.
One would expect it to be the ‘Porsche of Bakkies’ from the power point but that did not materialize on the N2, ‘cos it was not quick enough to fend off oppositions we were getting from its competitors. It must be noted every corner, route and area we passed by, every Dick, Tom and any Amarok wanted a show-off, bloody agents!
But with solid-axle rear suspension paired with coils instead of the traditional leaf springs, this is one of the selling points of the V6.
The beauty of this workhorse is, it can be used as family or fun bakkie, as this luxury double cab pays its dues with a useful one-ton payload and 3.2 ton towing capacity.
It is a pain to park given its 5.34m long, 1.92m wide and 1.82 tall, as happened in the parking yard because of its laborious 13.4m turning circle.
V6 is a powerful and very capable bakkie, but competitors are not resting on their laurels. Competition is abound…
The Mercedes-Benz- X350d Power derivative comes with a five-year/100,000km maintenance plan.
The price tag stands at R904,188 for the entry-level X350d Progressive and R973,188 for the more extensively-equipped X350d Power derivative.
Performance 1-10 (8)
Diesel 1-10 (6)
Image SLM (‘Slay Queen’ of a bakkie, that’s the latest Mercedes-Benz- X350d V6 is to you).