★★★★★ | Mercedes X-Class,  The last vehicle you’ll ever need

It had been 3 months since Z day and at least a month since we last heard gunfire.

Peeking through the boarded up windows, the first signs of sunlight were showing through the black skies.

Our supplies were almost gone, it was time we hit the road and began our fight for survival.

I kicked open the door to the house and we emerged into what used to be the lush, green garden of the house we had been hiding in while the chaos absorbed everyone outside.

The garden was lifeless and black, dead like everything else.

There was a garage at the rear of the house. If we were lucky there would be a vehicle inside that we could use to get the hell out of here. We forced the door open and through the darkness, saw a Mercedes badge.

“A Mercedes is nice but not much good to us now. Look at the state of the roads”, said Troy. He was right. Abandoned cars littered the roads, tarmac scared with debris from the fighting and shelling.

As we opened the door further, we saw it was a pickup.

“But Mercedes don’t make a pickup” exclaimed Sarah.

“They do now thank god,” said Dutch as he threw his bag in the back of the X-Class, opened the rear door and slid into the sumptuous leather upholstered cabin.

“Damn this is nice” i said, adjusting the electric drivers seat. I selected ‘D’ on the automatic gearbox and we slowly pulled out of the garage, down the driveway and out into the street. The huge load bed was packed with our remaining supplies. Lucky for us the X-Class can haul a huge payload of up to 1.1 tonnes. That is enough to transport 17 full 50-litre barrels of clean water in the cargo area. It’s able to tow up to 3.5 tonnes, it can pull a trailer containing three horses or easily pull an abandoned truck out of the way.

The roads were littered with debris from the battle. Burnt out cars, makeshift barricades, ruined buildings. We couldn’t have hoped for a better vehicle than the Mercedes X-Class. It was the X250 Power D 4MATIC AUTO with a powerful and torquey 2.3L biturbo 190hp diesel engine. The permanent 4MATIC all-wheel drive and the seven-speed automatic transmission got us out of trouble more than a few times. When the road ahead was blocked, i’d select 4WD low and head off road. The X-Class has serious off road ability so didn’t struggle. Our Mercedes X-Class apocalypse escape vehicle had great road manners and serious off road ability, but how did it manage to be so good on road but so good off road too? It has a double wishbone front axle and a rear multi-link solid axle which allows for great axle articulation. No old school leaf springs here. The Mercedes rolled on 225/55R19’s which certainly helped with the subtle ride.

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Fortunately the X-Class X250 was really good on diesel meaning we could travel for hours without having to refuel. It really was the perfect vehicle. On road, smooth, quiet and comfortable, with 2WD engaged to save fuel. When the going got tough, select 4WD or even 4WD low range, engaging the differential lock on the rear axle and nothing could stop it. The Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) made things even easier.

The electronic safety systems saved us on more than one occasion. With burning cars and buildings belching smoke and restricting visibility, it was hard to see what lay ahead. Active brake assist provided a welcome backup.

We drove for hour after hour and were all exhausted. Fortunately, the awesome Mercedes X-Class X250 has lane keeping assist which meant when we struggled to keep our eyes open through exhaustion, the safety system kept us on the road when we had the cruise control engaged.

Rough roads can mean unforeseen punctures. Our X-Class had a tyre pressure monitoring system to help us and LED headlamps with six LEDs to show us the way.

The 360-Degree camera made manoeuvring around burnt out cars or through partly collapsed building easy and safe. In our life before the apocalypse, features like traffic sign assist, trailer stability assist and emergency call system would have helped, but in a crumbling and uncertain world, traffic signs were the least of our concerns.

Strangely, our phones were still working although no one ever answered any calls we made. This meant we could use the Mercedes me app to access the vehicle by smartphone, calling up useful information such as fuel level and tyre pressure, find the X-Class’s location when it is parked or being driven by someone else and even program the navigation or remotely read vehicle diagnostics. This was invaluable when on a recce for supplies, split up, scattered amongst the rubble, searching.

After four full weeks on the road, hardly stopping, crossing the war-torn country from side to side looking for any signs of hope, we finally arrived at the military installation we had heard about on a radio transmission. We found other survivors who had also found their way here and had begun to rebuild their lives.

It was a relief to find other people and to hear the familiar sound of laughter.

As we sat in the canteen enjoying a simple but welcome home cooked beef pie, my phone buzzed to let me know the X-Class was on the move. When we arrived we surrendered the vehicle to the motorpool. It seemed perfectly reasonable then, but now it was like hearing that my wife was on a date with someone else.

All four of us looked at each other then looked around at the other survivors for a moment.  

We’d all grown fond of the X-Class, it had literally saved us. Without speaking, without even a moment’s hesitation, in one swift move, we all got up, grabbed our bags, headed for the motorpool and for the safety and comfort of our Mercedes X-Class. We’d take our chances in the wilderness and see where the road took us. Wherever it was, the X-Class would look after us.