It has been a long coming from Mahindra! The company-owned South Korean company Ssangyong with a capable product like Rexton failed to impress the Indian buyer. To be more specific the idea of buying a new car from a new brand in India is still not well accepted. And thus came the idea of selling the Rexton branded SUV with a Mahindra badge gave birth to the Mahindra Alturas G4 brand. To begin with, Mahindra desperately needs an aspirational brand in its product line-up and while SUVs like Scorpio and XUV500 will continue to be the company’s bread and butter, the Alturas G4 will certainly add some cheese to the overall SUV layering. The Y400 Mahindra badged new SUV was first showcased at the Auto Expo 2018 and Anand Mahindra, Chairman of the company said that this is a new beginning for Mahindra to disrupt the premium SUV segment.
In many ways, the Mahindra Alturas G4 is touted as a big change over the outgoing Ssangyong Rexton brand from India. It is a much-improved model with premium interiors and striking exterior design. The Rexton with the name of Alturas G4 carries the Mahindra badge at its pinnacle. We had the chance to drive this new Mahindra SUV on the twisty roads of Lonavala and check if it has the arsenal to take on the mighty Toyota Fortuner and also the Ford Endeavour and Isuzu MU-X.
Exterior design of Mahindra Alturas G4:
Now for those who are not aware of the Ssangyong Rexton on sale in the international markets, the Mahindra Alturas G4 is a Land Rover Discovery sized off-roaders with All-wheel Drive option and proper locking differentials. It has a body-on-frame construction and the big difference in the design of the SUV is its Mahindra design. The front grille of the Mahindra Alturas G4 is very much in-line with Mahindra’s other SUV and makes the Alturas look bold. The front bumper is muscular and there is a nice chrome lining on it complimenting a chrome border on top of the grille. The headlamp cluster with DRLs gets projector headlamps and overall the SUV does look nice given its proportions. The new Mahindra Alturas G4 SUV dimensions stand at 4850 mm in length, 1960 mm wide and stands tall at a height of 1825 mm. It has a ground clearance of 180 mm, which should prove to be enough to encounter most bad surfaces.
The rear of the SUV is simple and nicely designed. However, I did not like the big bold font and design of the Alturas G4 badge located in the centre of the rear door. The badge could have been moved to the side of the vehicle. The C-Pillar of the Alturas G4 makes the SUV look very American. It is a bit wide and does make the car look large and the roof rails add some off-road look.
Interior cabin of the Mahindra Alturas G4:
Mahindra Alturas G4 features a rich and premium cabin. The dashboard is superior to its immediate rivals and the use of wood, leather and high-quality plastics make the cabin look good. The top variant of the Alturas G4 gets full kappa leather trim and the fit and finish of the interiors are almost faultless. There is no rough surface inside the cabin and thanks to it being wider there is ample space inside the SUV. In the centre of the dashboard lies the 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is very responsive and supports all types of smartphone connectivity options including Apple Car Play and Google’s Android Auto. It also gets in-built navigation and the digital instrument cluster between the two analogue speedometer is very sporty and a delight for the driver. The leather seats are well designed and comfortable on a long drive and both driver and passenger seats get 8-way adjustable seats.
The only thing odd about the cabin is the old wiggly transmission with trans mode buttons that look out of place and old. The second-row seats on the Mahindra Alturas G4 only get bench seats and will not get the option of captain seats. There is a lot of space and the cabin is very roomy. The second row gets rear A/C vents with a USB and 12V charging slot for rear passengers. The seats can easily be folded by pulling up the lever to enter the third row. The third-row seats are recommended for kids and pets only. The SUV does feature A/C vents on the third-row seats and despite not having any glass opening on the C-Pillar one wouldn't feel claustrophobic.
Third-row seats on the Mahindra Alturas G4
Drive and performance of Mahindra Alturas G4:
Mahindra Alturas G4 is powered by a 2.2L turbocharged diesel engine with 180 hp of power mated to a seven-speed automatic gearbox sourced from Mercedes-Benz. The engine and the suspension is retuned for Indian conditions and the overall drive is smooth with no lack of power. The gearbox supports the engine well but I did miss the paddle shifters. The downshift is a bit delayed and paddles could have helped to override it. However, there is an option of +/- switch on the centre console on the gear cluster. The torque on the Alturas is not meant for speed but instead for towing. We did not get a chance to go proper off-roading with the SUV but the on rough roads and bumps the Alturas G4 drove through without any glitch.
Mahindra Alturas G4 is a perfect buy if you are looking for a tough, dependable, no-nonsense SUV that can pamper you as well. It is also the first in the segment to get 9-Airbags and many other safety features to protect you in an unfortunate incident of a crash. Hill-descent control is smooth and handles the slope with ease, adding to safety. When compared to the likes of Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour, there is lesser body roll on the Alturas G4, which would reduce the occupant fatigue on long drives.
Mahindra Alturas is high on safety and many other simple features like 360-degree rear parking camera, which makes parking and reversing very easy. Mahindra says that it will price the SUV around Rs 28 lakh which is a bit more expensive than the likes of Toyota Fortuner. However, the appealing interiors and better onboard gadgets do make a strong case for the Mahindra Alturas G4. Globally, the Ssangyong Rexton G4 has attracted many customers and overall the company is happy with its sales performance. In India, the Rexton wears the Mahindra badge for the first time and comes as the Alturas G4. It comes to India via the CKD route and will be assembled at the company’s plant in Chakan.
Mahindra’s new flagship SUV, hence, is premium and the company also plans to pamper its buyers with the best buying and servicing experience at its dealerships. In many ways, the Mahindra Alturas G4 will be a game changer for the company and as the company widens its product reach. Global investments a few years back in other companies are finally paving way for impressive products like the Mahindra Alturas G4 and it'll be interesting to see how the market responds to a high-end Mahindra vehicle.