The world keeps on evolving and people are developing different needs and wants to suit them. What people wanted 20 years ago is completely different to what people want now, we are on the brink of the technical revolution and this influences how we relate to one another. People are starting to embrace Netflix as opposed to DSTV, it’s also impossible to live in this world without a mobile phone and technology. The world keeps on changing and brands that have been here for the longest time are faced with the ‘adapt or die’ option. We can tell you about Kodak, Blockbuster, Nokia, and recently Toy R Us – how they refused to adapt and they had to face that the world is changing and for some of them it was too late. Mercedes Benz is adapting to the new world order with their offering – the C Class.
I love traveling because it opens you up to the world that you didn’t know before at first hand, well this time we are back in George and now I get why a lot of companies use George as a testing ground for new SUV’s. The roads are testing and views are amazing to say the least. We landed at George Airport and obviously at this point everyone has been using the joke of George is going to George all day. We were then driven in a bus to an isolated farm somewhere where we were welcomed by the people of Mercedes Benz with a warm drink, seeing as it was a little bit chilly. The presentation was a well thought out theme and I loved the poetry, the costumes that the people from Mercedes Benz wore. Since we were staying at a farm we were going to be sleeping in tents and some of us were worried about the cold, but Mercedes Benz had that covered. We saw the two models that South Africa will be introduced to, the X-Class Progressive and the Power models, from the exterior both look good for a bakkie and although I’m not one to like a bakkie, I am open to the experience.
I loved the tent that I was sleeping in and if there is a campaign that needs to be done it should be done this way. There was an electric blanket, chocolates, gifts, toilet, shower and all the necessities one would find in a five star hotel, I was quite impressed with the set up. In the morning I took a hot shower and got ready for the day and as I stepped out there was already a flask with coffee waiting on the patio – nice things.
Now If you remember correctly the idea of a Benz truck, as the Americans would call it, was seen in 2001 in the Busta Rhymes video for ‘Break Ya Neck’, I remember at the time people assumed that Mercedes would produce such a vehicle because it made sense, however Mercedes-Benz didn’t take the opportunity. We started with the Progressive model and from the inside it looks like a Mercedes Benz but with less bells and whistles. We all know that this Mercedes-Benz X-Class is a Nissan Navara dressed in Merc’s clothes, this includes the gearbox and engine. Mercedes-Benz claim that everything is up to Merc’s standard and this is going to be interesting because it’s a first of its kind, a premium bakkie in South Africa. Personally I think it will sell based on the brand alone because people always want to be set apart and Mercedes-Benz does that very well, when we get the land back, this is the type of bakkie one will get.
This is the most anticipated bakkie to launch in South Africa, it is said that it will radically transform the segment and we have to wait and see how it performs in the market. One thing I have learned with places like Johannesburg is that people have money and they will buy anything their credit can afford them. One thing you notice is that the X-Class is really high and we really put it out to the test with regards to its capabilities and I was impressed. The drive was not as smooth at times, which is not what I would expect from Mercedes-Benz because if I am paying that amount of money for a bakkie, I don’t want to feel like I am driving a typical bakkie. The X-Class Progressive will start at R642 103 and is aimed at those who want more horsepower that feels premium. The X-Class Power will start at R763 256 and is sportier and aimed at the customer that is looking for a much more premium bakkie. We sampled the X 220d and X 250d 4MATIC Power at the launch in George, Western Cape. Later in the year Mercedes-Benz will bring the 3.0 litre powered turbocharged diesel engine, delivering 190kW of power at a maximum torque of 55 Nm with a seven-speed-7G-Tronic plus auto box.
I wouldn’t be surprised if BMW and Audi take this route in the near future, because let’s be honest, SUV’s make more sense now than sedans and that is why certain segments are struggling to sell in South Africa. Also with more people owning more land in the future and the rise of farmers this segment might just surprise us.
Cover Image: DBN Spotter