Car Tested: 2015 Mahindra TUV300
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 8.32 – 11.00 lakhs
The Mahindra TUV300 is a great package and will appeal a lot to compact SUV buyers
Mahindra has been churning out some really good and some not-so-good products in the past few years. The improved Thar, the updated Scorpio and the new XUV500 are all very good vehicles while certain cars like the Quanto and the Verito Vibe don’t really have much appeal. When we first came to know about the Indian automaker’s plans to launch a compact SUV, we got quite excited and waited for the actual outcome. So the 2015 Mahindra TUV300 is finally here and we take it for a short spin to check out how much of a competitive package it is.
Motor Quest: Mahindra has always been known to produce rugged SUVs apart from tractors and other commercial vehicles. The company has huge presence in the UV space and knows the SUV market in India quite well. Mahindra will launch another SUV in India later this year.
Exteriors – The new Mahindra TUV300 is quite boxy to look at. The front of the SUV gets square-ish headlamps and a grille that looks heavily inspired from that of the legendary Jeep. The small cut-outs of the grille have chrome surrounds and the front fascia looks quite decent. The grille looks good in real life rather than pictures. The side profile is very much simple and straight-forward and doesn’t have many lines. The alloy wheels look very small on the SUV and make the design feel incomplete. The rear of the TUV300 clearly reminds us of the Quanto with its boxy design elements. Overall, the design of the TUV300 has been kept very neutral and it definitely looks good, in fact the vehicle looks much bigger than what it actually is.
Interiors – Step inside the vehicle and you notice that the dashboard has a very good layout and the design looks quite neat. The quality of plastics that have been used is very good and better than that of the XUV500. Everything seems to be built well with good quality components having proper fit and finish. Thanks to the vehicle’s boxy design, there is ample amount of headroom and legroom all over and the cabin has a very airy feel to it. The new steering wheel looks quite decent and is good to hold. The TUV gets steering-mounted audio controls too. Talking about features, the regular stuff like power windows, power steering, audio system, central locking and reverse parking sensors are present.
The Mahindra TUV300 is so spacious that it feels much bigger than its actual size
The TUV300 has a third row with foldable jump seats and no seat-belts. You might not want to make full-sized adults sit here unless you need to make new enemies out of them and hence the third row is mostly suited for kids. Mahindra will be launching a longer wheelbase version of the TUV and that car will get a proper third row layout. The seats of the TUV are decently comfortable and overall visibility from the driver’s seat is great. Each of the front seats get an armrest but the power window switches are located slightly ahead of the handbrake. The number of cubbyholes and bottle holders are pretty decent. The vehicle gets a basic audio system which has a very clear display with an orange backlit.
Performance – Mahindra has plonked a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder diesel engine in the TUV300. This mHawk80 oil-burner, the company claims, is completely built from scratch and is much different than the engine on the Quanto. The mill belts out 84 HP of power and 230 Nm of torque. Mated to the engine is a 5-speed manual transmission while an AMT gearbox is also on offer. Power delivery is good and the SUV boasts of very good low-end and mid-range punch. The top-end is quite lacking in outright performance though. The TUV also boasts of very negligible turbo lag which will be quite a boon while driving in the city.
The TUV300 has decent punch for regular driving
The vehicle gains speed with ease and reaches 120 km/hr very easily. Since top-end performance is slightly below par, the vehicle isn’t too quick. This also has to do with the weight of the vehicle as it is underpinned by a body-on-frame platform which makes it heavier. The 5-speed manual gearbox doesn’t have very long throws but gear shifts aren’t slick. The TUV300 has an ARAI claimed fuel efficiency of 18.49 km/l so we think it’ll still manage to churn out 13-14 km/l under normal driving conditions. NVH levels are well-contained.
Driving Dynamics – We drove the TUV300 on smooth tarmac only and the ride seemed pretty much good and composed. The suspension set up is quite nice and slightly on the stiffer side. However, it does have a tendency to feel bouncy at times. The vehicle remains composed at speeds up to 100 km/hr while after that it does perform nicely but lacks some confidence when it comes to stability. The steering is on the heavier side but once you start driving the car and gain some speed, you really don’t feel that much weight. Handling is decent by Mahindra standards and the SUV doesn’t have too much body roll which is a very good thing. However, while taking corners at high speeds, the car does seem to wag its tail out. Braking performance of the TUV300 is decent but the brake pedal lacks feel. The brakes feel spongy although they do manage to stop the vehicle efficiently.
Verdict – The Mahindra TUV300 looks well worth the effort the company has taken in developing it. It may not look exciting but it has spacious interiors with decent features and an engine with enough punch. What more do you need? The pricing of the compact SUV is slightly on the higher side for the base variant while the top variant is pretty much spot on. Mahindra is targeting the urban and semi-urban crowd with this offering and after coming out impressed with the overall vehicle, I feel the automaker has got another winner on their hands. For those on a budget, the TUV300 seems like a very good alternative to the Ford EcoSport and other compact SUVs in its segment.
The Mahindra TUV300 is a great effort by the Indian automaker and comes at an attractive price compared to rivals. While it’s not as light as other compact SUVs, it does drive well and has lots of space and features on offer.
* Looks quite good and tough
* Interiors have good design and materials
* Very spacious interiors with great visibility
What’s Not So Cool
* Third row is not usable for full-sized adults
* The engine lacks performance at the top-end
* Base variant feels pricey for what they offer
Alternatives: Ford EcoSport, Renault Duster, Maruti S-Cross, Fiat Avventura