The X-Class pickup slips farther away…

Mercedes-Benz had been on the fence about bringing the X-Class mid-size pickup to the U.S. ever since the project got started. Conflicting reports from the automaker danced the fine line of “we’re researching the American market” to “we’re not offering the X-Class in North America.” Sadly, the latter statement eventually won out. However, a slight tinge that not all hope was lost still lingers. Unfortunately again, sad news reigns. Mercedes has given up selling diesels in the U.S.

What does that mean for the X-Class? Well, it removes all but the base X200 model and its underpowered, naturally aspirated, 2.0-liter, four-cylinder as the only engine currently in the X-Class that could be sold on U.S. shores.

Keep reading for the back story.

Continue reading for more information.

Mercedes Fights the EPA

If Mercedes Drops Diesel in the U.S., the new X-Class Becomes Under-powered and Obsolete Exterior High Resolution
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Mercedes will completely remove itself from the U.S. diesel scene except for one model – the Sprinter van.

Remember Dieselgate? Of course, you do. Volkswagen’s diesel debacle has convinced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that all diesel-powered engines are planet-hating monsters that eat small children and club baby seals. As such, the EPA has been extremely critical of diesel by intensifying its certification testing and verification for clean emissions. This has made obtaining EPA approval for selling a diesel engine very difficult for all automakers.

Well, Mercedes did not receive a certification on its 2016 and 2017 model-year diesels. Despite Mercedes best efforts, the EPA still hasn’t granted certification to the German automaker. Not surprisingly, Mercedes stopped trying. In fact, Mercedes’ own head of R&D, Ola Källenius, told reporters at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show that Mercedes will completely remove itself from the U.S. diesel scene except for one model – the Sprinter van.

What This Means For The X-Class

If Mercedes Drops Diesel in the U.S., the new X-Class Becomes Under-powered and Obsolete Exterior High Resolution
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With Mercedes pulling all but one of its diesel engines from the U.S., the chances for the X-Class ever arriving here grow ever slimmer

With Mercedes pulling all but one of its diesel engines from the U.S., the chances for the X-Class ever arriving here grow ever slimmer. See, the X-Class has four engine options and three of them are diesel. The only gasoline engine is that ho-hum 2.0-liter mentioned above. It only makes 165 horsepower and 176 pound-feet of torque – in a mid-size pickup that competes with the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, and the new Ford Ranger. The engine would put Mercedes at the bottom of power-hungry truck buyers’ lists.

Of course, not all hope is lost. Mercedes does have other options. Mercedes has its 3.5-liter V-6 found in the GLE 350 that would make a perfectly competitive engine. It makes 302 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. There is also the GLS 450’s 3.0-liter biturbo V-6 with 362 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque. Both options would be fantastic in the X-Class.

And in a surprising twist, Mercedes could even borrow the Sprinter’s turbodiesel. Yep, the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 used in the Sprinter is EPA-certified, so it’s theoretically possible the X-Class could use that engine. In the Sprinter, it makes 188 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. That puts it rather close to General Motors’ 2.8-liter Duramax found in the Colorado and Canyon. It makes 181 horses and 369 pound-feet of torque.

Final Thoughts

If Mercedes Drops Diesel in the U.S., the new X-Class Becomes Under-powered and Obsolete Exterior High Resolution
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Still, the X-Class has the potential to define and rule the luxury mid-size pickup niche segment

In all honesty, it’s best Americans give up hope Mercedes will ever bring the X-Class to our shores. It would involve too much work on Mercedes’ part. It would also (hopefully) force Mercedes to get rid of the carry-over Nissan parts within the interior. We’ve ranted on Mercedes’ choice to keep the Nissan Navara’s cheap gearshifter, 4WD controls, and the obviously Nissan-designed HVAC switches. Mercedes knows it is viewed as a luxury brand by Americans, so any chink in that armor wouldn’t sit well with Mercedes’ marketing types.

Still, the X-Class has the potential to define and rule the luxury mid-size pickup niche segment. The GMC Canyon Denali “invented” the segment. Toyota, Ford, and Chevy could very easily develop high-end trims in their trucks, too. Heck, even the upcoming Jeep Wrangler pickup will have a swanky Sahara trim. Mercedes has the advantage, but not for long. It’s harder to steal market share from the competition than to create it, after all.

References

Mercedes X-Class

If Mercedes Drops Diesel in the U.S., the new X-Class Becomes Under-powered and Obsolete Exterior High Resolution
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz X-Class.

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