Is it true that even the most unlikely among us is a little bit country?
Last week luxury automaker Mercedes Benz unveiled its first pickup truck model, but instead of an afterthought meant to capitalize on the growing preference for larger vehicles, the Mercedes Benz X Class is actually being referred to as “groundbreaking” by U.S. News and World Report, bringing to the table “something we didn't even know was missing” from the truck category.
That’s a lot. Could this be a bit of an exaggeration? Ugh. The media. Anything to sell a magazine.
Here’s what all the fuss is about: You see, the current market for pickups is pretty much devoid of any traditionally “luxury” brands like BMW, Audi, Lexus and Benz – automakers who have maxed out at the SUV level.
Mercedes hopes to up-end this and change the segment by offering a true off-road compact truck, so it's outfitting the model with two on-demand differential locks (which help direct power to the tires with the most grip). The X-Class also comes with a V6 diesel and Mercedes' 4Matic permanent all-wheel drive system. Its 2,200-plus payload capacity gives it better heavy-lifting abilities than the Toyota Tacoma, the Chevrolet Colorado, and the Honda Ridgeline.
But now for the luxury part. The X-Class Model “Stylish Explorer” features nubuck leather seats, a nappa leather dash, and trimmings in polished aluminum and open-pore smoked oak. A floating infotainment screen, uncluttered layout, and a mouse-like controller with a touch pad on top complete the stylish interior.
Interestingly, Mercedes-Benz does not actually plan to offer the X-Class for sale in the US when it enters production late next year, according to Business Insider, as the US pickup market is so well represented by Michigan’s Big 3.
So, will Detroit respond in kind, in an effort to keep the X Class safely across the pond? Well, they sort of already have. Earlier this year, Forbes reported that the top selling luxury vehicles in the U.S. were actually pickup trucks. In fact, of the top 10 selling vehicles in the U.S. having out-the-door transaction prices greater than $50,000, five are full-size trucks.
I’m Anna Wells, and this is IEN Now.