Developing a car involves striking a balance between a car's intended purpose and how the market will approach it. When it comes to trucks, do you appeal to the raw, truck-stuff buyer, or go for more of a market-friendly lifestyle approach? Mercedes-Benz just did both.
The Concept X-Class is not one, but two different midsize truck concepts. Powerful Adventurer appeals to the tough, rugged truck buyers, whereas Stylish Explorer is meant more for the person that wants to look like a truck buyer without getting their white party pants dirty.
Both concepts are unmistakably Mercedes-Benz, with headlights and a pair of grilles that look plucked from any number of current M-B vehicles. The rear end is a bit more intense, with a single, wraparound LED design on the Stylish Explorer and a more rugged, two-light setup on the Powerful Adventurer. The fancy truck's tailgate barely looks like it opens, which is a pretty good metaphor for people who buy trucks as a lifestyle enhancer.
Inside, you're once again met by a complement of current Mercedes-Benz design, from the gauges to the air vents to the general dashboard shape. Unlike other Mercedes models, though, the Concept X-Class uses a proper stick-style gearshift, instead of that funky column shifter. The Powerful Adventurer variant packs a fire extinguisher on the dashboard, because truck stuff.
The Mercedes-Benz Concept X-Class is a two-pronged approach to trucksSee all photos
In terms of powertrain, Mercedes isn't saying much. The top-tier X-Class will come with a diesel V6 and all-wheel drive, which includes a transfer case and two differential locks. The automaker claims a payload rating of 2,425 pounds (1.1 metric tons) and a towing capacity of 7,716 pounds (3.5 metric tons). That's 716 pounds more than the gas V6 Chevrolet Colorado can tow, and about on par with its diesel variant.
While this is very clearly a Mercedes-Benz, it's not entirely German. The truck will be manufactured in a joint operation with the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The X-Class is based on the Navara chassis, a truck that's not currently sold in the US. The previous-generation Navara, however, does exist in the US -- you and I know it as the current Nissan Frontier.
The X-Class will exist as part of the Mercedes-Benz Vans lineup, and the company says it should make its way to the market in late 2017. There's no word yet on whether or not it will be sold in the US. Right now, the company's key markets include Europe, Latin America, South Africa and Australia.
Update, 7:42 p.m. ET: Corrected an error in the Chevrolet Colorado's tow rating.