The Mercedes Benz X Class was first introduced to South Africa in 2018. Mercedes-Benz raised the bar in the utility market by creating a unique product – the world’s first “premium bakkie”. This high-quality bakkie with passenger-car-like characteristics and comfort features is poised to be the first of its kind. Ever since the concept first made its debut, SA fans have been eager to get to grips with Mercedes’ next-generation pick-up. It says a lot about South Africa’s love of bakkies that the arrival of the new X-Class has been so highly anticipated.

This was the first bakkie to convincingly combine the versatility of a double cab with the luxury of a passenger car. The X-Class is robust with exceptional load capacity and off-road capability, yet it’s also aesthetically pleasing, dynamic to drive, comfortable and safe.

The X-Class range has two design and equipment lines for different lifestyles and working environments. The X-Class Progressive is aimed at consumers who need a rugged bakkie with extra styling and comfort functions, while also being a comfortable yet prestigious vehicle for private or dual use.

The X-Class Power is the high-end line, aimed at customers for whom styling, performance and comfort are paramount. As a lifestyle vehicle beyond the mainstream, it is suitable for urban environments as well as for sports and leisure activities off the beaten track. Its design and high level of equipment reflect an independent and individualistic lifestyle.

A recent report out of Europe cited sources claiming that the Mercedes Benz is going to be discontinued in an appeal to reduce costs amid profit warnings. Only 16 700 units of the Nissan Navara-based pick-up were sold last year in Europe, Australia and South Africa combined. The exact number of X-Class units sold internationally, however, remains unknown, as the local arm of the German carmaker does not report individual sales figures. The Mercedes Benz X Class has struggled to get a niche in the bakkie market due to its comparatively high price and lack of equipment. For example, the Ford Ranger and the Mitsubishi Triton between them have technology not yet available on the Mercedes-such as radar cruise control, lane-keeping assistance and blind-zone warning-and are relatively cheaper than the Mercedes.

Earlier in the year it was reported that Mercedes had decided to end its manufacturing partnership with Nissan – but now it seems the company has decided to leave the bakkie market altogether. A facelift of the luxury bakkie was due in 2020-2021, however we have come to understand that it has been postponed indefinitely and could instead mark the vehicle’s end of production date.

By Noni Nchwe