- What sets the X-Class apart from the Nissan Navara
- Mercedes wants to enter the pick-up market
- Sometimes the Navara lifts its leg
- How the X-Class differs from the Nissan
- Ford Ranger is now more popular than the VW Amarok
- These pick-ups are available on the German market
- Modern SUVs don’t perform as well
- At five meters in length, too small for the USA
What sets the X-Class apart from the Nissan Navara
Power pack with a star: The Mercedes X-Class is based on the Nissan Navarra, but should offer more comfort
More than two million medium-sized pick-up trucks are sold annually. Ascending trend. Mercedes does not want to miss out on the deal any longer and brings the X-Class onto the market.
S.and crawls into the last crack, lies down on the dashboard, wets the windows. All four tires dig through the fine Sahara sand. The Nissan pick-up truck feels at home here, in Morocco on the border with Algeria. A workhorse for whom even the steepest dune does not seem high enough, that can get through anything. Robust, indestructible, with all-wheel drive, reduction gear and a platform for tools or sports equipment.
But in city traffic in Hamburg, Munich or Berlin, flatbed vehicles seem to be as out of place as a Tuareg warrior in the pedestrian zone. They are niche cars for craftsmen and individualists. But also vehicles with which you can differentiate yourself from the SUV uniformity.
Around two million medium-sized pick-up trucks are sold worldwide each year; experts say there will be around 2.8 million in 2025. Most of these vehicles drive in Australia, South America and Southeast Asia. So where the roads are bad and cars are used as workhorses.
In Argentina every eighth vehicle is already a pick-up, and in Australia every seventh. This means that the medium-sized pick-up segment has great volume potential. But interest is also growing in Europe on these robust vehicles.
Mercedes wants to enter the pick-up market
It’s a trend that Mercedes doesn’t want to miss either. "We are assuming that this segment will grow by almost 40 percent over the next ten years," says Christian Pohl, who heads product management for a vehicle with which Mercedes intends to enter the pick-up market.
The Swabians will be launching their first lifestyle truck next year: the X-Class. Since the number of units is small compared to a car, it is not worth developing in-house. But through the cooperation with the Renault-Nissan alliance stands with the Nissan Navara a full vehicle shelf is available.
Sometimes the Navara lifts its leg
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Raise your feet: the Nissan Navara has an on-board environment monitoring system for easier maneuvering in confusing terrain up to a speed of ten. One of the core competencies is …
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… the loading. However, the length of the bed depends on the cabin choice. There are the …
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… Versions King-Cab (two + two-seater, in the picture) and a Double-Cab (five-seater). In both cases the cabin offers …
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… plenty of space for passengers and car-like equipment. This includes …
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… for example cameras for easier maneuvering. Overall, the manufacturer would like the pick-up to be understood as a car that …
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… also drives well on the asphalt and offers a certain amount of everyday use.
Technically, the two vehicles are largely identical, but they differ significantly in detail. "The requirements for pick-ups are changing, customers want more car features and comfort features," says Christian Pohl. "We will serve this trend with the X-Class and continue to shape it."
But can the cooperation go well? After the debacle about the unsuccessful Citan, which is identical to the Renault Kangoo, the Swabians are now starting the next attempt. And want to do everything better.
How the X-Class differs from the Nissan
Strong V6 engines and permanent all-wheel drive should make the difference in the Mercedes. In addition, there is its own chassis with a wide track, a five-link rear axle with coil springs and a precisely coordinated spring-damper setup.
The two cars are also visually different: on the outside and inside. Where it says Mercedes, the customer should at least think that Mercedes is also inside.
Strong V6 engines and permanent all-wheel drive should make the difference in the Mercedes
The cockpit of the two studies that the carmaker recently presented in Stockholm is similar to that of the SUVs, vans and sedans from Stuttgart, as well as the networking and assistance systems. Wood, leather, aluminum and Alcantara should also pamper guests in the forest.
The free-floating monitor comes from the C- and V-Class, the steering wheel from the A-Class and the instruments from the C-Class. Only the automatic selector lever, ashtray and cup holder in the center console are reminiscent of the robust Nissan.
Ford Ranger is now more popular than the VW Amarok
Other brands have long since discovered the trend and are already offering their customers the practical packhorse. These include Ford Ranger, Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200, Fiat Fullback and VW Amarok.
The Ford Ranger (single cabin from 27,846 euros) replaced the VW Amarok in terms of customer popularity this year. It has sold brilliantly so far: around half a million vehicles within seven years; in 2015 alone there were 76,500 vehicles, around 4,700 of them in Germany. VW has recently started offering the car exclusively with powerful V6 engines from 40,995 euros – this is too expensive for tradespeople.
These pick-ups are available on the German market
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Medium-sized pick-ups are the model of the hour. After the European manufacturers long neglected the segment of all-wheel-drive flatbed trucks, they now want the …storm traditional bastion of Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara and Ford Ranger. For the revised Amarok, VW has apparently put the car buyer at the top of the list of target customers.
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The drive combinations that are far too noble for a commercial vehicle alone make the Amarok something special. If a four-cylinder diesel was still installed in the previous model, e…s now exclusively a V6 TDI, as used in a similar form in the Porsche Cayenne. It delivers either 163 hp, 204 hp or 224 hp. Base price: 30,606 euros.
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The Ranger is something like the secret bestseller in the Ford family, confidently leads the sales hit parade of its species in Germany – and is still hardly b…known. The up to 5.35 meter long pick-up costs at least 27,850 euros, but is then only equipped with rear-wheel drive. Under the massive hood, the design of which is now reminiscent of the US icon F150, works a five-cylinder diesel with 200 hp.
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The Mitsubishi L200 has established itself in the pick-up business for many years. It is offered with either a single or a double cabin. For the variant with a single cabin, 2.4-Lite…r-Diesel with 154 hp, all-wheel drive and six-speed gearbox you have to spend at least 22,290 euros.
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The Toyota Hilux remains an extremely robust vehicle in the current generation. The pick-up veteran continues to rely on robust technology with a ladder frame and leaf spring steel…arrachse, but also allows modernity to move into the cockpit. The price starts at 24,590 euros for the variant with rear-wheel drive, the all-wheel model costs 28,020 euros.
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Among all the soft-washed SUVs, pick-ups are often the last real adventure vehicles. The Nissan Navara combines off-road spirit with decent tarmac skills. the… The customer can choose between a model with a double cabin and …
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… the entry-level model called King Cab. The loading area of the King Cab is 21 centimeters longer than that of the Double Cab and comes to 1.79 meters. A 2,3-Lite provides the drive…r-Diesel with 160 hp, which transfers its power to the rear axle. The King Cab 4×2 costs 25,095 euros, 5,000 euros less than the all-wheel-drive Double Cab variant.
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Fiat has entered the pick-up business with the fullback. The technology comes from the Mitsubishi L200. The fullback is available as a double cab (five-seater), extended cab (2 + 2-seater) and…d chassis offered. You can choose between rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. As a double cab, it costs at least 32,725 euros in conjunction with the 181 hp 2.4-liter unit and the well-equipped launch package.
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Renault will soon follow suit with a robust pick-up model. The Alaskan is based on the Nissan Navara and is due to hit the market in 2017.
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Soon there will also be a pick-up with a star. Daimler has intensified its cooperation with Renault-Nissan; the result will be a pick-up, which in part also has the A…architecture of the Nissan Navara should take over. However, the car is to be constructed and designed by the Stuttgart-based company.
A total of around 75,000 pick-up vehicles are on the road in this country – with a total of 45.1 million cars, that doesn’t make a big difference. According to Stefan Bratzel, the vehicles offer more than just a multifunctional use of the large loading area for tools and sports equipment.
The director of the Center of Automotive Management at the Fachhochschule Wirtschaft (FHDW) in Bergisch Gladbach sees the cars as an expression of a special attitude towards life. “Beyond the commercial possibilities, the cars are seen as practical and cool, and drive like normal cars,” says the professor.
Modern SUVs don’t perform as well
Nissan, for example, sells around 3,000 Navara vehicles a year in Germany, around two thirds of them to traders. These include gardeners, craftsmen and construction companies. The other third goes to private customers who primarily need a powerful towing vehicle.
The flatbeds are still real SUVs with reduction gears and differential locks – and not made-up SUVs that slip in the first mud. What the classic off-road vehicle could do today, only the pick-up can do: They pull trailers up to 3.5 tons, offer a payload of around one ton. Ideal as a towing vehicle for horse or sports trailers.
Because of their more economical engines with Euro 6 classification, modern SUVs create not that anymore. Pick-ups, on the other hand, are classified as light commercial vehicles and are allowed to emit more CO2.
The cockpit resembles that of the SUVs, vans and sedans from Mercedes
Despite the ladder frame and the rear rigid axle, modern pick-ups no longer have to hide when it comes to driving comfort. With a double cab, the cars offer sufficient space and comfortable seating in both rows.
Electric windows, air conditioning, leather seats and a modern navigation and entertainment system are now standard, as are assistance and safety systems. This means that the five-meter-long vans still won’t turn into city runabouts, but reversing cameras will at least help with parking.
At five meters in length, too small for the USA
Following the SUV trend a few years ago, manufacturers are now trying to use pick-up models. "By differentiating between different segments and sub-segments, manufacturers can reach new customers and create additional sales opportunities," says Stefan Bratzel. "I see it as a test balloon that doesn’t cost Mercedes a lot."
Because instead of developing their own vehicle, the Stuttgart-based company is relying on an existing Nissan platform, which saves development and production costs. Experts still speak of investments in the three-digit million range, but in the opinion of Mercedes the money is well invested.
Many do not need a pick-up, but they enjoy it when the design and equipment look stylish
As with SUVs, many owners do not actually need pick-ups, "but the vehicles can be fun, especially when the design and equipment are stylish," says Bratzel. He does not see the same high potential as with the SUV. "But even if the trend is one or two sizes smaller, it will be very interesting for the manufacturers." The manufacturers’ attempt is definitely open-ended.
While the Nissan Navarra is already digging through the sand, the Mercedes X-Class still has to go on a test drive. The Stuttgart-based company has not yet shown a finished production model. The two studies were more in the direction of bling-bling. Mercedes did not name prices either, the Navara starts at 28,170 euros.
The X-Class is coming to Europe at the end of 2017, followed by Australia, South Africa and South America. For the pick-up market par excellence, the USA, this is not the case. With a length of five meters, the vehicle is simply too small.
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