Look what’s testing in the wilds of Scandinavia: it’s the new 2018 Mercedes-Benz X-class pick-up truck, undergoing cold-weather endurance trials to make sure it’ll start first time when the temperatures plummets.
Our spies caught the new X near the industry’s icy test centre in Arjeplog, northern Sweden – and it’s clear to see the disuise is slowly peeling away.
Note the distinctive, Merc-style DRL front-light graphic, now visible, and it’s obvious the family face will be used to distinguish the X-class from its Nissan Navara parentage.
Wait! Haven’t we already seen the Mercedes X-class pick-up?
Well remembered. Merc’s commercial vehicles wing showed off the X-class concept cars in autumn 2016 – with a brace of overstyled lifestyle utes, one family-friendly road warrior and a tougher, gruntier heavy-duty scrambler (below).
Now it’s busy turning them into production reality, hence the concerted winter-testing efforts in Sweden.
We expect to see the finished items in the third quarter of 2017, before UK sales kick off in 2018.
What can we expect of the new Merc X-class?
It’s based on the tough underpinnings of the Navara from Daimler’s partner Nissan, although it will be paired with more familiar Merc engines.
Interestingly, CAR magazine’s latest spy photos reveal fuel filler caps on both sides, potentially pointing to an autogas derivative running on LPG or CNG. Or it could point to a plug-in hybrid version with a charging point and fuel tank.
Expect most Mercedes X-class trucks to be powered by familiar four-cylinder engines, or Daimler’s 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel, likely to produce around 260bhp and 460lb ft of torque.
The aspiration is to turn the X-class into a more premium kind of pick-up, as the world switches on to space and practicality. Think along the lines of how Volkswagen has positioned the Amarok, but with extra smartness (and figures on the price tag).