Few vehicles command equal attention from a Mercedes-Benz E-Class owner, to a man driving a Ford EcoSport, to a young couple on a scooter, to even a schoolchild. But then, even since the Scorpio was introduced over a decade ago, all new Mahindra vehicles have generated curiosity and commanded attention. Yes, even the awkward-looking Xylo and its clumsy-looking ‘kid’, the Quanto, did so. Mahindra is now ready with another vehicle, this time a compact SUV, the TUV300. Why is it attracting people?
The TUV300 has tough written all over. The bold grille with chrome inserts, imposing bumpers, static bending headlamps, stylish ski racks, sporty alloy wheels, high ground clearance and tailgate-mounted spare wheel—all reflect the spirit of a tough masculine design. Mahindra says the design of the TUV300 has been inspired by a battle tank. It shows.
It’s another thing that some may even find the design inspired by Land Rover vehicles!
The TUV300 is unlike any SUV you have seen on Indian roads. It definitely looks tough, and its appearance such that it will take time to grow on you.
But grow it will.
Open the door and you can’t help but appreciate the fact that this is the best Mahindra cabin, until now. The premium black and beige interiors with chrome finish and metal accents, classy hexagonal centre bezel (it looks a lot like the one in Maruti S-Cross), piano black centre fascia, sporty twin pod instrument cluster, 2-DIN infotainment system, and steering-mounted audio and phone controls enhance the comfort inside the cabin. There are a lot of usable cubbyholes, too. The plastic quality, however, is not quite as good as you find in Hyundai Creta.
Space is a Mahindra forte, and the TUV300 is no different. There is ample headroom, legroom and shoulder-room in both rows. While the front seats are very supportive, the rear seat, we feel, could have had better thigh support. The boot space (384 litres) is decent, but Mahindra has fixed two jump seats in the boot area, which eat into space. Although these jump seats can be used in emergency conditions, we don’t recommend sitting on these. The reason being, there are no seat-beats. That bit apart, the cabin is a cosseting place to be in.
The TUV300 comes with a 1.5-litre mHawk diesel engine with a two-stage turbocharger that delivers 61.5 kW (84 bhp) of power and a juicy torque of 230Nm. The top variants get a first-in-class autoSHIFT technology (essentially, automated manual transmission) and an Eco Mode which gives a significant mileage benefit in real-life driving conditions. The engine is refined, and once it heats up, there is almost no diesel clatter inside the cabin. Mahindra has done a good job containing NVH levels.
The claimed fuel-efficiency is 18.49 kmpl, and a 60-litre fuel tank means a long range of over 800 km.
Ride & handling
Here’s a revelation. The TUV300 comes with Cushion Suspension Technology that makes driving on any kind of roads very comfortable. In fact, such good is the suspension that it not only absorbs bumps but also ensures that minimal road sound enters the cabin. There are anti-roll bars and the chassis is derived from the new-generation Scorpio. Ride and handling is very much car-like. Even though the TUV300 is a tall vehicle, the body roll is contained. Its turning circle radius is 5.35 metres, so parking it isn’t that difficult either.
Technology & Safety
Depending on the variant you buy, you get features such as static-bending headlamps, Brake Energy Regeneration, Intellipark Reverse Assist, voice messaging system, follow-me home and lead-me-to-vehicle headlamps, and Mahindra’s Micro Hybrid technology and BlueSense mobile app.
The TUV300 comes with a toughened, high-strength steel body shell, crumple zones, hydro-formed crush tips and side-intrusion beams for all-round impact protection. Again, depending on the variant, there are airbags, ABS with EBD, Corner Brake Control (CBC), etc. However, because it is a heavy vehicle (gross weight can go up to 2,200 kg), the front tends to dip when you brake hard.
From R6.98 lakh to R9.2 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the TUV300 is very competitively priced. Unlike the Creta or the EcoSport, the TUV300 reflects the spirit of a tough masculine design. Although its appearance is such that it will take time to grow on you, once you sit inside and take it for a spin, chances are you will be impressed to the core.