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How does the Mercedes X-Class price compare to other SA bakkies?

2018-03-16 14:42

Lance Branquinho

"How does Mercedes-Benz’s double-cab pricing compare to its bakkie rivals in SA? We do the maths," writes Lance Branquinho.

Johannesburg - By now you will most certainly be aware that Mercedes-Benz has released pricing for its most keenly anticipated vehicle in years: The X-Class double-cab bakkie. 

Billed as the most sophisticated bakkie, also the first from a premium brand (though VW will dispute that with Amarok), X-Class is set to revolutionise the local double-cab market, combining a C-Class cabin and cruising comfort with Geländewagen ladder-frame chassis off-road heritage. 

The X-Class is packed with an incredible amount of tech and borrows many great elements from its passenger car and SUV siblings, such as its luxury interior and centre-console design.

But how does it compare to established rivals in the most competitive Mzansi market segment? 

With an initial price spread of R640 000 to more than R810 000 for a blend of 4x2 and 4x4 derivatives all powered by 2.3-litre turbodiesel engines, X-Class is notably more expensive than Nissan's Navara, with which it shares both a platform and drivetrain. 

With the X250d 4x4 auto in Power trim retailing at R811 224, the X350d due later this year could become South Africa’s most expensive bakkie by quite some margin, positioning way past the R900 000 price ceiling.

The pricing comparisons we've investigated below do carry a caveat.

Mercedes-Benz’s X-Class prices have already calculated the new burden of government's 1% VAT tax increase.

In addition to this, as we are nearing the end of Q1 2018, there could be price increases looming for all the rival bakkies below, although the rand has been credibly stable since the promotion of Cyril Ramaphosa to the presidency, which could cool any inflationary pressure driving possible increases. 

There many options to inflate X-Class pricing but Mercedes has also structured packages, which mean you can do a lot better value by going with a specific one of those than individually ticking the options boxes. 

Another factor in the X-Class' favour is its standard maintenance plan (for all models) of 100 000km or six years compared to a standard service plan.

Ford Ranger 

Image: Newspress

Ford’s rival to the entry-level X220d Progressive 4x2 manual is Ranger XLT 2.2, at R484 900, which is R157 000 cheaper than the Mercedes.

Ranger's lead offering is its 3.2 Wildtrak 6-speed auto 4x4, which has 7kW more power and 20Nm more torque than Mercedes-Benz’s apex derivative, the X250d in Power trim. 

It’s also R186 324 cheaper. An underestimated feature of Ford's double-cab bakkies are their excellent Sync infotainment systems, perhaps the best of any such functionality on a double-cab cab currently available in the local market. 

Nissan Navara

                                                          Image: Newspress

The Navara is the most comparable rival to X-Class because they share a common platform, although Mercedes has invested handsomely to improve sound insulation and reduce vibration, while also strengthening the chassis, enabling it to cradle the heavier V6 engine due later this year in X-Class - an option Navara does not offer.

The Navara pricing is well shy of the X-Class, with Nissan's entry-level 4x2 double-cab at R457 900, while the X220d retails for R642 103. Despite this, that is quite a utilitarian specification with 16" wheels but it does have a reversing camera.

Top-of-the-range Navara 4x4s, in LE specification, want for very little regarding kit and the 7-speed automatic Navara is R216 324 less than its Mercedes rival.

Toyota Hilux

                                                          Image: Newspress

The Hilux was the most dominant fixture in South Africa's bakkie market for decades. The Hilux is the best-selling vehicle locally and commands immense residuals, making it a safer place to spend your money than just about anything else with four-wheels and an engine.

It lacks the accomplished styling of X-Class and some of its active safety features, not to mention that passenger car cabin architecture, but the price differential is massive.

Toyota's most comprehensively equipped Hilux 2.8 GD-6 Raider 4x4 auto is R595 700. The comparable X250d might have 10kW and 30Nm greater engine outputs but it also costs R222 524 more. 

VW Amarok

Image: Newspress

The Amarok was the first German double-cab and one which exposed local buyers to new standards of cabin comfort and high-speed handling precision in a double-cab bakkie. The X-Class promises to evolve those attributes of a German bakkie to an even higher standard. 

An Amarok Highline Plus, which is its most complete specification grade, retails for R620 100 in 4x2 while the 4x4 balloons pricing to R673 800, both bakkies powered by the 132kW 2-litre diesel.

If you go all in with the 3-litre V6, that will be R750 700. Those prices are the closest in comparison to X-Class, with the 4x4 Amarok R137 424 less and corresponding V6 derivative R60 524 less than an X250 4x4 Power auto. The point to note is that Progressive is not the top-spec offering in X-Class, while Highline Plus is for Amarok.

If you factor in the Amarok Extreme trim, with its elaborate styling kit and 20" wheels, the margins between VW's double-cab and the X250d Power 4x4 are R105 524 compared to a 2-litre Amarok and R26 824 compared to the V6.

Then again, you are comparing a 3-litre V6 Amarok to a 2.3-litre four-cylinder X-Class.

The challenging confrontation for Mercedes is going to be Amarok’s Highline Plus V6 4x4, which is nearly R60 000 cheaper than X250d 4x4 in Power trim and has 25kW more power, supported by 100Nm more torque.

The X-Class is perhaps superior in challenging off-road recovery scenarios over the Amarok, due to its low-range gearing, which has been sacrificed in the VW bakkie to save mass and reduce complexity. 





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