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All smiles from the Mahindra Bolero Neo as we got to get away during a work week!

The Mahindra Bolero Neo is suprisingly spacious and airy for a sub 4-meter SUV

It had been a hectic first 3 months of 2022 as the Omicron variant had restricted quite a lot of travel and everyone was focused on work a bit too much. Right before the March ending could come and we would be sloshed with even more work we had to step out and what better way than hitting Goa mid-week? Accompanying me were my 2 friends, a fellow motorcycle rider and another back from Canada, here to spend time with us. While we got the last-minute bookings done, the Bolero Neo arrived a day prior and we were all set.

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Bold stance and a typical Mahindra face! Yes, we are down to business

Once you’ve been to Goa you keep coming for it again and at the last minute, it seemed to be the best getaway option. Also, the Mahindra Bolero Neo has a massive fuel tank which meant we could do above 800 km in one go, so it became the best diesel option I could have asked for. As we were leaving from Mumbai, we started off pretty early at around 3 am so that we could beat the Pune as well as Kolhapur traffic and have a very comfortable drive overall. Our aim was to reach South Goa by 1 pm and it seemed comfortably easy.

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First pit stop – at the second food mall on the Mumbai – Pune expressway

We knew Goa is going to be fairly hot and didn’t want the drive to be annoying, hence we left early and had our first pit stop at the second food mall on the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Within a span of 2 hours, we were entering Pune and the Bolero was comfortably cruising at 100 km/hr while returning a staggering fuel economy number of 18.2 km/l. We had a tea break and switched drivers as I wanted to take a nap. Since one of my friends drives a smaller sized car, he was intimidated by the width of it and got a hang of the Bolero’s dimensions before we completed the expressway.

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At our breakfast stop, you can look at the minor size comparison with the old-gen Innova here

We crossed Kolhapur city early morning but were stopped by the cops for general checking. They did enquire about how this Mahindra is now called the Bolero and since everything was in order we got away within minutes. For our breakfast, we reached Nipani junction where a split goes to Goa via the Amboli ghat and enters North Goa via Sawantwadi. Since we had to go to South Goa, we rather continued straight towards Belgaum which then opens up two ghats – Anmod or Chorla to enter directly into South Goa. This time my Canadian friend took over and until we entered Belgaum even though he had a good 40 km drive, he was definitely impressed by the Bolero’s road presence.

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Found an older look-a-like of the Bolero Neo in the tiring Belgaum traffic

The Mahindra Bolero Neo has massive road presence while it is quite easy to be driven in traffic or highways

It was a good decision that I took over in the traffic as there was literally no traffic sense while crossing Belgaum city. While we avoided all of this earlier, the quota of traffic just got worse. The sheer size of the Bolero helped it maintain some distance from a few stupid drivers and I found the older cousin which then helped us get through easily. The mileage here dropped to 16 km/l and the car was in reserve but it still had a range of almost 200 km left! Nevertheless, I made a decision and we headed towards Anmod ghat via the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary. The roads did get worse and thin but the overall ride quality and a good steering response kept us going.

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Barricaded railway crossings test patience and we had to go through one on this route

The roads inside the Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary got very bad at times and the body on frame structure with a small wheelbase got a little upsetting in the Bolero. The ride quality was quite good with decent feedback coming inside the cabin but it actually got worse as we went from roads to no roads. For the driver, it is fine but for the passengers, the horizontal movement and immediate thuds do become uncomforting. However, that patch wasn’t too big and we passed the Karnataka border entering the beautiful corners of Anmod ghat. Would definitely recommend anyone to take Anmod ghat if the destination points at South Goa. This route also takes you to the entrance point of Dudhsagar waterfalls.

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We would always find some Mahindra car accompanying us

Right before entering Goa, we were stopped again for the vaccination certificate. We entered Goa with a flying road that heads towards Ponda, and finally we reached our hotel by 1:30 pm. It was time for lunch and since we had our breakfast almost 150 km back, we were extremely hungry. It was too hot so we cooled off with some chilled soft drinks and just devoured the food. We rested for the day and headed out to the closest beach in the evening.

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The Mahindra Bolero Neo does look sizeable, not the ideal car for thin South Goa roads

We spent the next day just resting out and exploring places in and around South Goa we used to stay indoors during the day and leave early evening and just find out some cool chill places. Finding a parking spot wasn’t really a problem, the only thing that bothered us was the thin lanes of South Goa as the wide Bolero would require more attention if there was any oncoming traffic. Throughout the exploration, there would be a time when we would get tired to move to a new location and the air conditioning of the Bolero cooled the cabin quite quickly while we never felt nauseated as the big windows still kept the cabin airy.

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Finding a parking spot wasn’t really much of a task in the Mahindra Bolero Neo

The Mahindra Bolero Neo has a very frugal yet a torquey 1.5-litre diesel motor

Although the ride quality is a bit on the stiffer side for the Mahindra Bolero Neo, the handling makes it better. As we headed further South one evening we had to go through another ghat and this time I liked it even more as the rear-wheel-drive kept the car moving and the front handled the curves really well. There were times when one of the rear tyres would spin too and it got the drive even more interesting and engaging. The Mahindra Bolero Neo might just have a 1.5-litre diesel engine with just a 100 BHP but it has almost 260 Nm of torque on tap getting the job done pretty well.

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We went shopping in Goa and the Bolero wanted to be part of it too!

On the last day we ended up shopping for ourselves as we wanted to have that one last Goa vibe. So we went exploring places around our hotel. Turns out the roads were even thinner and we had to park the Bolero almost inside the shop else there was no room for other cars to pass. We bought matching shirts and went to grab lunch where we hogged on and forgot to click any pictures of the food. We all were literally in a chilling mood and the Goa vibe did help a lot. For the last evening, we had 2 destinations in our mind but they were again a bit far from our stay.

Showing off our cool clothes while I end up giving a death stare to my friend for missing a turn

We had to go to Nuem Beach, one of the offbeat places which was trending on Instagram at that moment. It was en route to Cabo De Rama which was our sunset destination and dinner at the Cape Goa. It was a simple route to Nuem Beach but the road being super thin with immediate turns, we missed it and I ended up giving a death stare to my friend driving. We got back on track and did click a few epic pictures below at the Nuem Beach. Parking however didn’t exist but it was never a problem for the Bolero.

While this trip wasn’t too long, I’d love to do a long drive to the hills again soon

The last spot was Cabo De Rama, a plateau cliff that has a hill fort too but we were more interested in the sunset there as it is one of the most beautiful places to be. The below picture is from that spot while it looks a lot different and it was extremely crowded. Right after sunset happened, the place was clear and we had our dinner at the cliff restaurant below the Cape Goa. Too expensive for the food they offer it is only the ambience and views that matter. Within the next 7 hours, it was time for us to head back home!

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Catching the last and one of the best sunsets in Goa with the Mahindra Bolero Neo

In the span of 4 days, we drove from almost 1600 km while the Bolero returned a fuel economy of almost 17 km/l. We did the drive back home in another 12 hours and this time we drove back from the Chorla Ghat, another interesting set of twisties with very good tarmac but has a thin road all along and the opposite traffic comes flying at you. At the end of the road trip, all I can mention is the Mahindra Bolero Neo is thoroughly impressive, very spacious for what it offers and has a very frugal engine. The ride quality with full passengers is good but gets bouncy at times or if driven solo. It is also the most affordable rear-wheel-drive SUV for the price point making it very attractive.

Further Reading –

Mahindra Bolero Neo – Pro & Cons

Mahindra Bolero Neo vs Original Bolero – Hindi Comparison

Mahindra Bolero Neo vs Maruti Vitara Brezza Comparison [Video]