Car Tested: 2013 Mahindra Verito Vibe D6
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 6.80 – 7.83 lakhs
The Verito Vibe offers good cabin space and excellent ride quality in its segment.
Majority of car sales in the Indian market comes form compact cars, which are small in size, fuel efficient and are the least taxed too. The quest for evading higher excise duties for automobiles means that companies will have to trim their products to place them under the 4-metre length. With many automakers already doing compact engineering very well, it was Mahindra’s turn to use their scissors on the Verito’s derriere. The objective has been achieved for Mahindra designers and engineers with the Verito Vibe successfully becoming a compact vehicle (Mahindra likes to call it a sporty compact sedan), thereby attracting small car excise duties. However as a product, does the Mahindra Verito Vibe offer something significant in the sub 4-metre space?
Exteriors – The Mahindra Verito has never been a looker and the Vibe is no different. Everything is almost identical till the rear door, with the exception of the roof which gets completely black rails instead of silver ones seen on the Verito sedan. At the front, Mahindra has dropped the chrome on the grille completely and replaced it with carbon coloured finish. The side showcases the hatchback proportions of the car and the Vibe gets new alloy wheels. The side profile also reveals the new tail lights which seem inspired from the Ford Focus hatchback.
The rear of the Mahindra Verito Vibe isn’t bad but is simply outdated. Vertically stacked tail lights are a thing of the past. The christmas tree tail lights merge with the roof rails which extend till the front windscreen. The rear is a bit bulbous and the black finish on the rear bumper tries to reduce the visual bulk to a certain extent. The antenna which is placed in the front is abnormally long and the rear is a bit lifted as well. The problem with the design of the Verito Vibe is the matching of the front and rear, which simply don’t go together. It is clear that two very different design firms worked on this car (front was done by Dacia, the rear is done by Mahindra).
Interiors – The interiors are identical to the Verito sedan which means you get a cabin which has generous space for passengers. Quality inside is just about average and some plastic parts are really hard in touch and feel. The use of beige inside makes the cabin feel a bit airy and pseudo carbon fibre inserts on the dash break the monotony. The centre console gets the black treatment with uniquely shaped buttons. The audio system is lifted off from other Mahindra vehicles and offers decent audio quality with good connectivity options. The rear speakers have been placed at the rear parcel shelf instead of the rear door and this enhances the sound.
The doors of the Verito Vibe shut with a loud thud, they are heavy but the positioning of the door handles is too ahead and the driver finds the power window buttons intruding while opening the door. The lock/unlock buttons are placed below the right most AC vent which is an ergonomic overlook. The instrument cluster is easy to read and has multi-information display carrying a wide array of information including distance to empty and average fuel efficiency figures. The seats although wide, are a bit too hard offering decent under thigh support. There is a seat back pocket on the co-driver’s seat but not behind the driver’s seat. Rear seat passengers will not complain about legroom or headroom and all rear headrests are adjustable.
The Verito being a Renault/Dacia has quite a few of its traits, like the irritating indicator chime which sounds from the glovebox, rotary headlamp leveller and no redline on the tachometer. The glove box has decent space and there is an open cubbyhole right above the glove box to keep stuff. Mahindra hasn’t made the Verito Vibe a proper hatchback because the boot doesn’t open with the glass, instead it opens like a sedan. This makes it heavy to open the boot which has an extremely small loading bay and you have to bend to put stuff inside. The spare tyre is accessed from under the car and not from the boot. The boot itself is generous but the fixed glass and non folding rear seats limit practicality. There is no rear wiper/washer either.
Performance – As the Verito Vibe is a sub 4-metre vehicle and Mahindra doesn’t have a small capacity petrol engine in its portfolio, the company has offered the car with only a diesel engine. This oil burner needs absolutely no introduction as its popularity is only second to the Fiat Multijet engine. The 1.5-litre dCi diesel engine is a Renault unit and is a complete gem, producing a modest 65 PS of power and 160 Nm of torque. Performance in city conditions is simply excellent and the Verito Vibe has almost negligible turbolag, offering fantastic drivability.
The k9k diesel engine responds instantly to throttle inputs and pulls in a linear fashion right from the word go. Even in-gear acceleration is pretty good and you can simply potter around in high gears at low speeds. It’s only on the highways does this motor start to loose steam but there is good enough performance to keep you going comfortably till around 110 km/hr. Redline comes in at 5100 RPM and its post 3500 RPM when the power starts to trail off sharply. The clutch is feather light and the gearbox offers clean shifts with short throws. The Verito Vibe is extremely frugal and one can expect 16-17 km/l in city conditions.
Driving Dynamics – The Verito Vibe uses the same underpinnings as the Verito and the driving experience can’t match most cars in the segment or price range. The steering is too big and feels quite heavy at parking speeds. However it just doesn’t weigh up at high speeds and there is some body roll too. Driving enthusiastically will make you do too many counter corrections to keep the Verito vibe in a lane, it simply doesn’t offer feedback although the vehicle remains stable at speed and NVH levels are very good.
However where the Mahindra Verito Vibe simply excels is the way it rides. The suspension has been set up to gobble the worst of roads in its stride. The car simply glides on tarmac and the ride quality is excellent even at the rear. Braking performance is good too although pedal bite could be slightly improved. The driving position could have been better as the controls don’t easily fall in the hands of the driver and one really needs to stop to operate the audio system as there are no steering mounted controls.
Verdict – The Mahindra Verito Vibe is a sub 4-metre Verito in the true sense. It is identical to the Verito in every aspect except the rear end design and boot capacity. While the hinged boot isn’t much practical, it has helped Mahindra in saving costs of development and production. So does the Verito Vibe make sense? When you factor in the Verito Vibe costs a good Rs. 80,000/- less than the regular Verito, things start making to the mind. If you can live with the rather unconventional rear and boot, the Verito Vibe makes a good case for those who want a practical hatchback which can carry five in reasonable comfort while delivering exceptional fuel efficiency at this price point.
The Mahindra Verito Vibe might not be a looker but it is frugal with good city drivability, plenty of space and an excellent ride quality.
* Interior room
* City performance and mileage
* Ride quality
What’s Not So Cool
* Handling and steering feedback
* Rear and boot opening design
Mahindra Verito Vibe Specifications
* Engine: 1461cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve k9k
* Power: 64 PS @ 4000 RPM
* Torque: 160 Nm @ 2000 RPM
* Transmission: 5-speed manual
* Top Speed: 160 km/hr
* 0-100 km/hr: 16 seconds
* Fuel Consumption (City): 17 km/l
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: McPherson Struts (Front), Torsion Beam (Rear)
* Tyres: 185/70/14 Tubeless
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Drum (Rear), ABS, EBD
* Safety: ABS, EBD, Driver Airbag, Immobiliser
Mahindra Verito Vibe Dimensions
* Overall length x width x height: 3991 mm X 1740 mm 1540 mm
* Wheelbase: 2630 mm
* Turning Radius: 5.25-metres
* Ground clearance: 172 mm
* Boot Volume: 330-liters
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 50-litres
* Kerb Weight: 1155 kgs