Automakers are finally beginning to realise what works for the Indian buyer. Looks do matter, but practicality matters more. Transporting more people at a lesser cost is the key mantra to success. And perhaps that is why looks aren’t the biggest USP of this car.
From the day Mahindra released the first sketches of the TUV 300 there has been a lot of curiosity about this car. The newest seven-seater from India’s utility vehicle expert is being billed as a tough rugged set of wheels that can also show its soft side when the need arises. This car was in the works for a long time as after the moderate success of the Quanto, the company wanted to come out with something more appealing, and therefore took its time. Word has it that this car was supposed to be called the new Bolero, Mahindra’s bestselling car but finally the name TUV was decided upon. The TUV was launched earlier this month and right now is making more heads turn than most cars launched in recent times.
Automakers are finally beginning to realise what works for the Indian buyer. Looks do matter, but practicality matters more. Transporting more people at a lesser cost is the key mantra to success. And perhaps that is why looks aren’t the biggest USP of this car. It looks boxy from most angles and apart from the front where the grille and the bumper give it a macho look; the design looks just about ordinary. Just like the Quanto, the rear wheel is mounted on the tail gate which looks attractive but unlike the Quanto, the rear does not look chopped and the TUV looks like a more holistic design. Side-view mirrors are not self-folding something that you may miss on the car.
Interiors are where the TUV scores much better than most Mahindra cars, including the flagship XUV 500. The combination of black-and-beige along with traces of silver around the music system presents a modern touch. The quality of switches and AC controls is impressive and a dose of chrome adds some much needed bling. The infotainment screen has Bluetooth telephony as well and gives out some vital information like distance to empty as well as service intervals. There is a lot of space inside the car especially on the first two rows and even the third row that has 2 jump seats doesn’t disappoint as much as the Quanto’s did. There are small storage spaces in the cabin but most can’t fit an average sized smart phone, an accessory that will always be present in the car. However, overall, the cabin is a nice place to be in and it’ll be fair to say that Mahindra has made rapid strides in this department with the TUV.
The TUV 300 comes with just one diesel engine; however Mahindra says that it will soon come out with petrol variants of some its diesel only cars. This 1.5 litre engine is called the Mhawk80 and delivers a decent 82.5 bhp. This engine provides a good pick-up and both in low and mid-range torque delivery is good ensuring an easier commute in the city. For those who still hate to use the clutch, there’s an automated manual transmission (AMT) variant too which is a boon for congested city traffic. Surprisingly, unlike many AMTs that we’ve seen in the recent past in India this one comes with hardly any lag and the transition between gears is pretty seamless. And in case you like the loud grunt associated with these desi diesel SUVs, the TUV offers ample sound effects. Mahindra is claiming a mileage of 18.4 kmpl on a litre of diesel on the car.
Ride & Handling
The TUV continues to impress in this department as well. Despite being a tall boy design it handles well and does not throw you around. The suspension too is tuned well and you can tackle those bumps and potholes without worrying too much about the well being of the car as well as yourself. The car also offers a fantastic driving position and gives an all round view of the road.
The TUV may not be as stylish as some of the recently launched utility vehicles like the Hyundai Creta and the Maruti S-cross yet it scores because of its long list of positives that include space, engine and features. Then of course there’s a very trusted brand name backing it and finally the very attractive pricing. In all there are 7 variants of the car that start at Rs 6.9 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). The top of the line AMT comes at a showroom price of Rs 9.12 lakh. This surely makes the car a worthy contender in the segment. And just in case you want a proper eight-seater form of TUV with a bigger engine that too is not far away.