The inner-city, commercial mini mover car parc in South Africa just got a little bigger, more functional and more spacious with the introduction of Mahindra’s new #Xprez.
Directly targeting entrepreneurs and small businesses, along with an eye on those seeking a compact utility vehicle for leisure activities, Mahindra’s new panel van turns the tables on compact light commercial vehicles currently available locally.
Aside from its general attributes and functionality, this is partly because the #Xprez represents a departure from the conventional aesthetics of the traditional panel van.
The # included on the nameplate, which introduces a sense of popular modernity, will no doubt also appeal to younger drivers and emerging entrepreneurs.
What Mahindra South Africa said
In its statements around the release of the #Xprez, Mahindra South Africa positioned the new model as both a clear-cut solution and support for entrepreneurs and businesses.
“The new KUV #Xprez panel van has been launched with 1 350 litre/ 350kg load capacity with the model’s exemplary safety features — such as ABS and dual from airbags being retained in the vehicle,” said Mahindra.
With #Xprez priced at a “market-leading” R174 999, Mahindra maintains that the new model is “set to change the appearance of inner-city traffic” with the launch of the affordable model.
The nuts and bolts
“The #Xprez is based on a Mahindra KUV100 NXT K2+, which means that it also shares the best-in-class low maintenance and repair costs, as validated in the annual AA Kinsey Report.
“The new #Xprez is converted at Mahindra’s Special Fitment Centre in Gauteng to panel van specifications. The conversion process includes the addition of a flat and highly durable load area in the place of a rear bench seat and two cargo nets as standard,” explained Mahindra.
The company has also added a safety barrier from laser-cut steel mesh between the load area and the two front occupants and a fire extinguisher as standard.
“The #Xprez further retains the KUV100’s safety features, which include dual front airbags and ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD),” the company said.
Weighing in on the model introduction, Mahindra CEO Rajesh Gupta said: “In recent years, we have seen a rapid growth in online retailing and general delivery services. This has only accelerated during the lockdown, as we have become more comfortable with our new online lives and the option of ordering in.”
“We have also seen many people start small businesses and side-hustles to replace or supplement their pre-COVID careers, with many of these entrepreneurs looking for a reliable, affordable and spacious delivery vehicle,” continued Gupta.
Form and function
Gupta said in its standard form, the #Xprez can load 350kg of packages, with best-in-class access to the cargo through the side doors and very wide rear hatch door.
“Indeed, the #Xprez’s load bay can swallow 1 350 litres of cargo, making it possible to transport odd-shaped objects and standard delivery boxes alike.
“In keeping with best practice, the side and rear windows are blocked out to discourage any prying eyes, with additional metal barriers fitted to the inside of these window,” he said.
#Xprez combines comfort and convenience
In addition — and because the #Xprez shares the genes of the K2+, it boasts comfort features such as power steering and air conditioning as standard. To this, Mahindra has added a radio and central locking to the model, creating a comfortable and convenient vehicle for all-day drivers.
In terms of its legacy, the KUV100 NXT made headlines in 2019 and again in 2020, when it was selected as the most affordable compact SUV to maintain and repair in South Africa.
The diesel KUV added another feather to its cap later that year when it was proven to be the most frugal vehicle in its class in the WesBank Fuel Economy Tour.
Under the bonnet
The #Xprez is fitted with Mahindra’s popular 1.2-litre mFalcon petrol engine. The engine delivers 61 kW and 115 Nm and has a rated fuel consumption of 5.9 litres/100 km in a combined cycle.
And, according to Gupta, the KUV100 NXT has proven to be the ideal vehicle for our new, locally developed #Xprez.
“Its SUV design and 170mm ground clearance mean that it can comfortably transport a large volume of packages, while not being restricted to any type of road condition,” enthused Gupta.
Surf’s up: Attracting wider interest
But interest in the #Xprez is also likely to extend beyond purely commercial use and is expected to find some traction in the leisure utility market.
One example of this is South Africa’s surfing community where panel vans and other light commercial vehicles assist in the transportation of sports and leisure equipment.
Pumza Kondlo, who provides marketing support for Mahinda SA, agrees.
Responding firstly to questions from The South African around the refreshing inclusion of a “#” to the XPREZ nameplate, Kondlo said she believed it brought a modern and interesting element to the model and brand as a whole and expressed youthfulness and modernity.
With respect to interest in the #XPRES beyond the commercial market, Kondlo said the model’s versatility could certainly lead to its wider use in the private leisure and outdoor sports environment and markets.
Pricing: Mahindra #Xprez on sale now
The good news for entrepreneurs, business and new start-ups wanting to pick up their game in a post Covid-19 economy is that Mahindra KUV100 NXT #XPREZ is available immediately at Mahindra dealers across Southern Africa at a price comfortably below R180 000,