The SUV segment has been the bread and butter for the Mahindra since its advent in India starting from Scorpio, Bolero, XUV500, Xylo to Quanto. Mahindra has tried its luck in almost every category of the SUV segment and its last try Quanto has been the major flop show. The sale never took off and cracking the compact SUV remained an unachieved dream for the maker. It was 2011 when the largest UV maker had begun the concept of a new compact SUV codenamed U301. After four long years and a huge investment of Rs. 1500 crores it turned into reality in the form of TUV300.
The TUV300 is pitched in compact SUV segment, a segment which is being dominated by Ford EcoSport, Renault Duster and Nissan Terrano. We took TUV300 for a short spin to check out whether it’s really a good product or is it just a revised Quanto?
With prices starting at Rs 6.98 lakhs for the base variant, Rs 7.63 lakhs for the mid variant and Rs 9.20 lakhs for the top (ex-showroom Delhi), the TUV300 does make a lot of sense if someone wants to upgrade from a hatchback to something bigger and spacious.
Engine and Performance:
The TUV300 draws power from a 1493cc mhawk 2-stage diesel engine that produces 84bhp [email protected] and 230Nm of peak torque between 1500-2750rpm. The engine comes mated to a 5-speed manual gearbox as standard while there is also an AMT gearbox which brings the power down to 81bhp.
In terms of performance and power delivery, it offers more than decent low end punch alongside a good mid range performance. The SUV is silent at idle but as you step up the paddle the noise starts to creep in which can be felt on gear knob via vibrations. But the NVH levels aren’t much as compared to Scorpio.
Being based on ladder frame chassis it feels composed and light while corner carving at lower speed. The electric steering wheel isn’t graceful at lower speeds, but picks up power and weight as the speed crosses 70-80 km/hr.
Handling is typical Mahindra standards and the TUV300 doesn’t have much body roll. However, while slicing corners at high speeds, the car does seem to shake its tail out. Braking performance is quite decent but the brake pedal lacks feel. The vehicle can reach 120 km/hr with ease since top-end performance is not its cup of tea the vehicle isn’t too quick.
Space and Dimensions:
Due to the boxy design, it offers ample amount of legroom and headroom space. The front side seat gives you crystal clear front view and central armrests for the occupants provide the needed seating comfort. The 2nd row seats comes with more than adequate shoulder space the passengers and can easily accommodate three passengers. The leg space for three is good for six footer and the middle seat passengers to get comfortable space as the floor bump isn’t haunting enough. The TUV300 comes with 5+2 seating configuration with last row getting individual captain seats which is commendable but it is no best suited for an adult as it lacks head space. The 384 liters of storage space is quite good considering its sub 4m profile and it can be further expand up to 720 liters by folding the last row seats. For storage the number of cubbyholes is enough swallow your belongings.
The Mahindra TUV300 looks quite boxy at a first glance and can be easily mistaken as a condensed version of Bolero. The front end seems to take inspiration from Jeep brand with large five toothed front grille with chrome accents edged by sweptback headlamps looks decent. Projector headlamps with LED DRLs would have been a nice choice even as an option. Wide air dam with rectangular fog lamps go well with the boxy front end.
The side profile is very simple and neat with non sense styling or deep creases; however the wheels looks a bit small for such a rugged SUV and somehow spoils the side profile. Black window frames along with black roof-rails add nice contrast to the color scheme of the SUV. Turn blinkers are placed on the front fenders not on the ORVMs. Side profile also boasts mHawk80 engine badging on the Left hand side of the vehicle. Pull type door handles are quite large, a typical SUV type.
Coming to the rear, the design looks much more soothing as compared to ugly looking Quanto. It gets proper SUV characteristics with big large spare wheel placed at the centre of the tail gate along with Mahindra and vehicle’s badging. It also sports bigger tail lamps which look basic yet supports the rear design. Overall, the design of the SUV has been kept subjective and it certainly looks good as compared to Mahindra’s last attempt in the segment Quanto.
Interior and Safety:
Before getting in the cabin we had feeling that it would be a typical Mahindra but we were surprised to see the quality of the cabin. The interior of TUV300 has reportedly taken inputs from an Italian brand called Pininfarina and it shows on TUV300. The cabin gets a well blend of black beige, glossy black and silver accents. The quality of materials, plastics are pretty good and it’s even better than the flagship SUV XUV500.
The dashboard looks premium with piano black finish central that sports AC vents with silver accents, a LCD display, and Old school knobs for audio system and air conditioning. Seats also get a dual tone touch with good quality fabric upholstery which goes with the interior design. As for the features, it has a 2-DIN infotainment system with USB, AUX-in and bluetooth connectivity, nice multi function steering wheel with voice messaging and audio controls, electrically adjustable ORVMs, twin POD instrument cluster and all four power windows.
The TUV misses out certain features like reverse parking camera, rear AC vents, automatic climate control, rear armrest, touch infotainment system etc. It does not get rear AC vents neither on the roof nor on the floor; however, the front AC is a chiller. The interior of the TUV300 is well made, finished and it reflects the amount of effort that the home grown automajor has put in to make it as functional and modern as possible.
Coming to the safety, it comes with dual front airbags, ABS, EBD, corner brake control, brake assist and digital immobilizer.
So you should opt for the rugged TUV300? Well, with a price range which is about Rs 1 lakh below the segment leader EcoSport, the TUV300 does offer a lot significant savings for someone looking to buy a product in the compact SUV segment. The design of TUV300 is subjective and is completely matter of personal taste as everyone has its own set of requirements. Mahindra does manage to remove the ugly styling of Quanto and prejudiced MPV image of Quanto with rugged styling of TUV300.
If you can digest the style of TUV300, there are many reasons to buy the SUV like space (seven seater), decent ride ability (though could have been better), features, AMT and safety aids. With the tempting price range, the new compact SUV is a really good option if you’re tight on budget.