Though the full driving launch for journalists won't take place until October this year, CJ Hubbard from CarMagazine managed to get into the front passenger seat of the new Mercedes-Benz X-Class for a quick spin.
At an international reveal event that took place in South Africa, the premium light commercial vehicle ferried various journalists over an official test route that contained both paved and off-road sections. Hauling the X250d demo vehicle though the course was a 187bhp, 332 lb-ft four-cylinder twin-turbo diesel engine. Mercedes will also be offering a less powerful 61bhp/297lb ft single-turbo four model featuring a X220d badge. If that's not enough for your towing needs, a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine X350d model delivering 254bhp and 406 lb-ft of torque will be available in 2018.
On track, the X-Class felt surprising planted with more grip and composure than expected from a pickup. It easily handled high-speed curves that would have destabilized other trucks. Of course it's going to have more body roll than the average car, but not too much compared to a SUV.
Off-road, the ride is understandably bumpy due to the pickup's firmer coil-sprung, multi-link rear suspension. But the strong structure hardly trembled over rough terrain and there's even an optional off-road suspension package for the more adventurous driver.
Of course, all this won't come cheap though official UK pricing has not been announced yet, but we can expect it to cost a few thousand more than its Navara equivalent.