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Nissan’s Navara Pick-Up Engineers Must Be Flattered Right Now

Because a premium car maker is using Nissan's Navara platform.

Mercedes-Benz has released to the world the new X-Class, and it will cater to Europe’s increased appetite for compact pick-up trucks. Mercedes-Benz is no stranger to commercial vehicles, as they make trucks, buses, and utility vans for as long as their history dictates, but rather than developing a completely all-new pick-up from the ground up, they partnered with Nissan to use the Navara as a base car for the Mercedes-Benz X-Class.

A posh luxury brand using the pick-up truck from a mainstream brand as a basis for their new model? Damn! Nissan must feel pretty good right now, as the Navara was never designed to be a premium vehicle offering in the first place. Nissan’s Navara, among all the competition, has the least truck-like driving experience and features, the main reason of which is Navara’s multi-link rear suspension instead of the leaf spring used in basically every other truck the Navara competes with. Having that multi-link rear suspension has enabled the Nissan Navara engineers to get rid of the harsh, bouncy ride that trucks are notorious for, though utilizing a multi-link rear suspension may have affected its load carrying slightly (though a 1.1 tonne payload isn’t exactly what you call poor). These days, it’s rare to see a pick-up truck used for hauling a tonne of payload, especially if people buy the highest variants with all the nice painwork, large alloy wheels, and luxurious leather interiors, which is why this Mercedes-Benz X-Class does make a case for itself. Aside from that rear suspension, it also utilizes a 7-speed automatic transmission from the Nissan 370Z sportscar, which makes the Navara’s gear changes smooth and quick, while posting decent fuel economy thanks to that extra 7th gear keeping revs low when cruising.

We think these are most of the reasons why Mercedes-Benz would pick the Navara as a basis for their luxury pick-up truck. From the looks of it, interior, exterior, and technical-wise, it looks like a great effort from Mercedes-Benz. A partnership between the two brands isn’t farfetched, actually. Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury brand, uses the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class as a basis for the Infinity QX30 entry-level luxury crossover. Would the Mercedes-Benz X-Class be sold in the Philippines, and would you buy one, knowing it’s a heavily re-engineered Nissan Navara? For us, that depends on how much better it is over the Navara which it is based.

The X-Class is offered in three trim levels catered to different uses and demands, each available with a variety of petrol and diesel engines. The X220d uses a 2.3 liter 4-cylinder diesel, producing 163 hp, while the X250d uses the same 2.3 liter 4-cylinder diesel engine, but it has twin turbochargers, bumping power to 190 hp. An X200 with a turbocharged 4-cylinder petrol engine producing 165 hp, and X350d with a V6 3.0 liter diesel engine producing 258 hp and 550 Nm of torque will be coming as well. A 6-speed manual is standard, while a 7G-Tronic 7-speed automatic is optional. Rear wheel drive is standard, while four wheel drive is an option.

X-Class Pure

Pure is basically the model you’re going to buy if you’re going to use the X-Class for commercial use, or if you can’t afford the two higher variants and just want to fit-in the “sosyal” crowd. It has grained, unpainted plastic front bumpers, steel wheels, plastic floor covering, and basically all the other features a typical modern car has.

X-Class Progressive

The Progressive offers more than the Pure in the form of alloy wheels, more paint choices, and equipment levels matching those of its more mainstream competitors. This is the sweet spot, not too bare that you’d either look like a construction site manager or a social climber, or too posh that you’d be bothered to bring it to the farm or the construction site.

X-Class Power

The Power variant is obviously the poshest, most luxurious pick-up to date, not considering the Cadillac Escalade released before, which is actually a sport utility truck (SUT) and not a full-fledged pick-up truck. It’s got most of the niceties that you expect in a Mercedes-Benz, such as leather, premium inlays, power adjustable everything, an automatic everything. This is where you might feel bad taking your X-Class Power to any place resembling a nuclear war zone. Mercedes-Benz says it is catered to people with “Independent and Individualistic lifestyles”, whatever that means.

It isn’t just Mercedes-Benz that utilizes the Navara as a base car for their pick-up offering, however. Renault does this too, with their Renault Alaskan pick-up truck. It seems Europe loves the Nissan Navara, and it’s giving the all-German Volkswagen Amarok a run for its money.

The Renault Alaskan does look great, though. Renault and Nissan’s partnership isn’t also a surprising one, too, as Nissan and Renault have partnered in developing cars and technologies for each other.

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