Mercedes’ versatile X-Class pickup truck will hit the market in 2018 … but not in the U.S.

Mercedes-Benz GLT-Class sketch
Mercedes-Benz is understandably going to great lengths to keep details surrounding its upcoming premium pickup truck under wraps. However, the Stuttgart-based car maker recently held a secret design forum in Australia to get feedback from would-be buyers, and someone who attended the event has spilled the beans.

The attendee reports that the mid-size truck will be dubbed either X-Class or Z-Class, not GLT-Class as previously reported. Mercedes is co-developing it with industrial partner Nissan. The frames, the axles, and the body structure will all be borrowed from Nissan’s Navara, but the sheet metal and every part of the cabin will be specific to the Mercedes version.

The X-Class will only be offered as a crew cab with four doors. The lineup will include a base model aimed primarily at business users who need a rugged work truck they can drive into the ground, a mid-range, do-it-all model, and a top-spec trim designed for well-heeled families who require a versatile truck to suit their active lifestyles. Base models will be spartan at best, but top-spec versions will come with all of the bells and whistles buyers expect to find in a Mercedes, including a high-resolution color screen for the infotainment system and wall-to-wall leather upholstery.

Surprisingly, base versions will be powered by a 2.3-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine sourced from the Nissan parts bin and tweaked by Mercedes engineers. It will develop 188 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque, enough to tow a little over 6,600 pounds. Better equipped models will be capable of pulling 7,700 pounds thanks to a six-cylinder turbodiesel mill rated at 255 horsepower and 406 lb-ft. of torque. A gasoline-burning engine will not be offered, and Australian website CarAdvice reports Mercedes has already ruled out an AMG-tuned version of the truck.

Mercedes’ next pickup will go on sale in an array of markets including Europe, Australia, and Latin America in early 2018, and it will carry a base price of approximately $30,000. However, the X-Class will be kept out of the United States by the 53-year-old Chicken Tax, which slaps a 25% tariff on all imported light trucks.

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