A true people’s mover is what every car company aspires to make. Many have tried to challenge the might of the Toyota Innova but have not really succeeded. This also includes Mahindra who now has once again thrown their hat into the ring with the Marazzo. It’s a product the company has been working on for the past four years and it is born of an engineering collaboration between Mahindra Automotive North America (MANA), Detroit and Mahindra Research Valley (MRV) Chennai along with Italian design house Pininfarina. With the Marazzo, the company is keen to replicate the success of cars like the XUV 500 and the Scorpio. After the arrival of the Innova Crysta the buyer has been looking for a more affordable people’s mover. The starting price of Rs 9.99 lakh seems attractive enough and we tried to find out just how close does the Marazzo manages to get to the Innova in every respect.
The big design inspiration for the Marazzo as you probably know by now is the Shark. Mahindra says front grille inserts resemble the teeth of the shark while the big tail lamps are inspired by a shark’s tail. And a shark fin antenna is something we all know about. The car gets projector lamps and the fog lamps get LEDs. On the profile, the use of chrome makes the car more elegant and those 17-inch twin spoke alloys add their own charm, Though they’re found only in the top variant, the stretched silhouette looks nice and reflects of a car that will be spacious inside. In fact the wheelbase of the Marazzo is more than that of the Innova which augurs well for interior space.
Getting into the Marazzo is a relatively easy affair as Mahindra has managed to keep the height of the car low. At 465 mm ingress and egress is a comfortable affair. The driver’s seat can be adjusted for height though nothing is electric here. The car also gets Entry Assist Lamp, Follow-me-home and Lead-me-to-vehicle headlamps, a Cooled glove box and multiple charging and media outlets. The dash is dual tone and the 7-inch touch screen is compatible with Android auto while also providing rear camera feed. The quality of buttons doesn’t give a premium feel but the aircraft inspired handbrake lever looks and feels nice. The second row is good on space and the seats can be moved forward to create more space for the third row which is more suitable for kids. The surround cool AC technology lets you choose between a direct mode and diffused mode depending on the air flow you want. The bad thing is that because of these roof mounted vents, the Marazzo misses out on a sunroof. But the boot space is good as its deep. Also you can fold the third row of seats to have as much as 1055 liters of storage capacity at your disposal.
The Marazzo gets an all new 1.5 litre diesel engine and a 6-speed manual transmission which is smooth and the gears slot well. Its position on the dash makes the driver feel more comfortable in changing gears. Mahindra has placed this front wheel driven engine in an east-west transverse layout. Apart from more interior space in the car this layout also ensures fewer components thereby reducing the overall weight and giving a better drive along with better fuel efficiency. This engine delivers a maximum power of 123 PS and a peak torque of 300 NM. Only the diesel manual variants are on offer now and Mahindra will eventually launch the Petrol and Automatic variants when the BS VI regulations come into place by the year 2020.
Handling & Ride
The Marazzo also gets a first-in-class Electric Power Steering and as we experienced it does help in giving a good steering feel and maneuverability. A turning radius of 5.25m will do you no harm especially in the congested city traffic. Mahindra’s patented body-on-frame, front-wheel drive architecture provides drivers with a nimble feel and helps reduce body roll. Suspension too is tuned well to tackle the bad roads, in fact the suspension travel at 245 mm is the highest in the segment. A focus area for Mahindra on the Marazzo has been safety as the car becomes the first to have disk brakes on all 4 wheels. All 4 variants of the car get 2 airbags as standard.
The top variant of the Marazzo is priced at Rs 13.9 lakhs and even at this price the MPV seems great value for money. And it’s also a lot more affordable than the Innova. Despite this Mahindra has been able to come out with a package that scores well on almost all fronts. Yes it may not feel as premium as the Crysta but you will discount that for the huge price difference between the two. But even this might be challenged with the arrival of the new Maruti Ertiga which is due next month. But yes the quest to find an affordable and reliable people’s mover may be nearing its conclusion with the Marazzo.
Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars