With South Africa’s half-tonne bakkie segment limited to just Nissan’s NP200, more and more brands are offering a small panel van alternative. The latest is Mahindra, with its wordily named KUV100 Nxt K2+ #Xprez.

Bearing a starting price of R174 999, the Indian firm’s newcomer undercuts both the Hyundai Grand i10 1,0 Motion Cargo (R196 500) and the Kia Picanto 1,0 Runner (R203 995).

Based on the KUV100 NXT K2+ hatchback, the panel van is converted at Mahindra’s fitment centre in Gauteng. The process includes the addition of a “highly durable” flat load area in the place of the rear bench plus a pair of cargo nets.

Its load capacity is listed as 350 kg, with packing space measuring a claimed 1 350 litres. The side and rear windows have been blanked off, each also gaining metal barriers.

Mahindra SA says it has furthermore added a “safety barrier” fashioned from laser-cut steel mesh between the load area and front seats. A fire extinguisher is also standard, along with dual front airbags, ABS with EBD and air conditioning. The company has also fitted a radio and central locking.

As with the standard hatch version, the KUV100 Nxt K2+ #Xprez draws its urge from the company's naturally aspirated 1,2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine, which offers 61 kW and 115 N.m to the front axle via a five-speed manual gearbox.