They say, to succeed in this highly competitive world, you need to keep updating yourself. More often than not, within a span of a couple of years post launch, you will see a new iteration of a vehicle. Mahindra has given its first sub-4m SUV, the TUV300 a proper makeover and we took it for a spin to check what's changed.
The first thing that will attract you to a car is its looks. The TUV300 facelift isn't the epitome of beauty in that sense. Its brick-sided looks may not be to everyone's tastes. Personally I always liked the TUV. It feels like a macho brute amongst the college going kids. The grille now gets a piano-black treatment, the headlights now have DRLs in them while the silver skid plates look nicely done too. You will also notice this new Highway Red dual tone paint scheme while at the back, the noticeable changes include the clear lens lights as well as the brushed silver casing for the spare wheel.
Inside, there are few changes. Mahindra has added a new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system but there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto yet. The MID too gets a new colour. Mahindra could have used this opportunity to add electric closing mirrors, a monochromatic mirror and one-touch window operation for the driver.
The untouched good bits include the spacious as well as airy black-beige cabin, the elevated seating position and the general feeling of indestructibility. On the same front, I wish the TUV had seat belts for the opposite facing third row seats. Space there is restricted as well and it is highly recommended that you place nothing other than luggage there.
In the safety department, all TUV trims now get dual airbags, ABS with EBD, reverse parking sensors, ISOFIX child seat tethers and seat belt reminder for front row. Our test unit didn't come with speed alert warning. The top T10 (O) that we have here in this test unit also boasts a reverse parking camera.
Engine and transmission
The torquey and refined BS-IV compliant, 1.5-litre, 3-cylinder diesel engine continues. It is now available only in the 100PS/240Nm configuration. A 5-speed manual gearbox is also the only choice now. As discussed before, the engine is very torquey and the clutch action is light but has a long travel. The TUV's engine doesn't like to be hurried and top end is weak too, On the mileage front, we got 14.2kmpl in the city and 17.7kmpl on the highway. Drive it in the Eco mode and you will achieve a slightly higher number at the expense of a dull accelerator response. The auto start-stop too contributes to the fuel economy but we noticed that it causes the vehicle to shudder everytime it is at work. Perhaps, some more refinement to this will help in a big way.
Ride and handling
The bouncy ride quality is a result of softer springs. Load the SUV and it is quite pliant. Take this rear-wheel driven SUV on the off-beaten path and it will impress you. On the road though, the steering feels heavy and a tad vague. Body roll too is pronounced and for those who aren't used to this, it can also make you car sick. The stock brakes could also do with some more bite. You will love the good all-around visibility though I still feel that the rear windscreen could have been a bit more bigger.
Things have changed for the good but there could be a bit more additions to make it more appealing to the urban buyers. Moreover, at the ex-showroom price of Rs 10.55 lakh, ex-showroom for the dual tone, the TUV300 is a bit on the costlier side of things. Look at the TUV300 as a modern Bolero and you will come back mighty impressed. However, if you look at it like a Brezza competitor, then it lacks behind. It is more at home ferrying a full load of passengers on rural roads, thereby making a compelling case for the villages and tier III cities.