Now that they’re in the pickup market Mercedes is hitting the ground running, revealing concepts this month with German camper manufacturers Tischer and VanEssa Mobilcamping. Tischer makes slide-in pickup campers and VanEssa is an accessory company that makes storage, electric, culinary, and other practical aftermarket systems for campervans. Last year Mercedes began sales of their X-Class pickup in Europe and revealed future plans to bring it to Latin America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand in 2018. Their first-ever pickup is priced in the European market at around 37,294 euros (or $43,104), including a 19 percent value-added tax. Soon Benz will introduce a high-torque V-6 diesel engine with all-wheel drive standard for the X-Class line, making a perfect base truck for a compact slide-in camper.
The demountable Tischer pickup camper features a 4.9-foot-wide sleeping alcove and over 6 feet of standing headroom; that’s pretty good for a compact camper. Tischer also added a kitchen with a 3-burner gas stove and three additional seats that can be converted quickly into a second bed. For a bathroom the camper has a fold-away wash basin and swivelling toilet unit, and they claim the bathroom is large enough to shower in.
VanEssa Mobilcamping built a heavy-duty pull-out module for their X-Class concept. Weighing around 550 pounds it features a fully equipped kitchen—including a cooler, cooking and washing facilities, and space for cookware and supplies. A second pull-out module comes in handy for additional storage. The module features a cover made out of yacht-deck-look teak wood, a water-resistant material known for its strength and durability. Special pneumatic struts allow the cover to be propped up at an angle of 45 degrees. For trips over several days, VanEssa advises the fitting of a roof tent with rear-facing entrance.
While the U.S. leads the pack when it comes to recreational vehicles, Europeans have been catching RV fever lately. According to the German Caravanning Industry Association (Caravaning Industrie Verband), in 2017 nearly 5,000 more campers were registered across all classes. In response Mercedes, already a staple of European campers with their Marco Polo line of factory outfitted camper vans, is lining their new pickup up with their adventure travel vans to see how it stacks up. Their aim is to provide an off-road–capable yet roadworthy and versatile vehicle for comfortably camping off the beaten path.
The trucks feature rear-wheel drive or Mercedes’ top-of-the-line engageable 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system, and all-wheel-drive models feature low-range gearing and an optional locking rear differential for added traction. This pickup is plenty capable for mild to serious off-road camping; the added bonus of pickup-style campers is the ability to remove the camper portion from the vehicle allowing for regular daily use. Plus, this truck is still a Benz, so it still has all of the individualized options, technology, safety features, and luxurious design elements you’d expect from Germany's stately automaker.
Benz is currently displaying their full line of Marco Polo campervans and both X-Class concepts at the 2018 Caravan, Motor, Touristik (CMT) show in Stuttgart, Germany, from Jan. 3-21. "It is important to us that our vehicles appeal to camper van bodybuilders as well, of course, to end customers. The X-Class fits seamlessly into our established product range. We are proud to introduce first campervan solution approaches together with Tischer and VanEssa at the CMT, just two months after the vehicle's launch", says Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. We won’t see the X-Class in the states anytime soon, but it sure is cool to see Mercedes commit to the adventurous off-road lifestyle so soon after debuting their first-ever truck. We’re excited to see what they might do next with the X-Class—stay tuned.