Mahindra TUV300 Facelift First Drive & Transmission

Mahindra TUV300 Overview

Mahindra has emerged as a flourishing utility major in India with some of the most popular SUVs in its portfolio like XUV500 and Scoprio. Aimed at producing viable SUVs for the mass customer base in India, the company had rolled out a couple of models that failed miserably. One such model is Mahindra Quanto, this sub-four meter SUV just could not take off in the highly competitive segment. While most think that TUV is the replacement of Quanto, it may not be as what they believe, of course it is a sub-four meter compact SUV that aims at the mass segment but it is a new model that has indeed been built from scratch.The hint of Bolero is clearly evident in the SUV, but as speculated it is either not a successor to the model. So that pretty much clears that TUV300 is a new model and not a replacement to any of the above mentioned SUVs. Based on the all-new-ladder frame chassis, TUV300 features a 5+2 seating layout, there are two additional jump seats placed behind the second row. Available only in the diesel avatar, the SUV has been inherited with the same engine under the hood which powers Quanto. From the exteriors, TUV300 appears rugged and potent, Mahindra has rendered a rather deliberate boxy look to the SUV that to some extent defines its nomenclature ‘Tough Utility vehicle’. Cabin gets good quality plastic and material along with almost all the vital features inset for occupants’ comfort. Moreover, the availability of an automated manual transmission brings the SUV above others in the segment. As for the pricing, the Mahindra TUV300 price in India is affordable, even the higher variants have been tagged competitively. For information on contact details of Mahindra car dealers in Kolkata visit mahindraprice.in

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Mahindra TUV300 Design & Style

The TUV300 is an absolute U-Turn over Mahindra’s usual over the top designs and that is a good thing. Now where some people might not agree with me, the Mahindra TUV300 is one of the better looking cars to have come out of the Mahindra stable in the last few years simply as it is not overly designed and showered with trinketry like the Scorpio or XUV are. In fact, with its squared out design, muscular haunches and pronounced wheel arches the TUV300 is just right when it comes to a car trying to flex its muscles.

The front of course is dominated by a large and in your face multi slat grille that is typically Mahidnra and a set of simple yet well designed headlamps units that go well with the overall design. The rectangular fog lamps too are a welcome addition and tie up the whole ‘macho and manly’ look of the TUV300 really well. The same understated and well designed language continues around the rear too with all the focus going to the large tailgate mounted spare wheel. The vertically stacked tail lamps and the rear bumper are well styled but the rear step sticks out like a sore thumb and should be immediately eliminated.

When viewed from the side the TUV300 continues with the whole straight lines and sharp angles design. The D pillar is blacked out to give the TUV300 an almost floating roof feel. The C-pillar though continues to be in the same body color and breaks the large glasshouse lines really well. We do like the way the wheels have been designed on the TUV but hate the fact that they are puny. The TUV300 we think would look much much better with a set of 17-inch wheels and tyres from the Scorpio or the XUV500. All said and done, we did speak to a lot of people who though the TUV300 looked quite ungainly, but then we guess design preferences change from individual to individual.

Mahindra TUV300 Cabin & Space

Now this is a different story altogether. Unlike the exterior design, which follows the similar boxy template of Mahindra’s other ladder-frame SUVs, the Scorpio and Bolero, great effort has gone into making the TUV300’s interior friendlier and more car-like. Engineers didn’t have to stick to a template, and could change a lot of interior bits to improve space, comfort and even the driving experience, unlike the new Scorpio, which had to stick to its decade-old body-in-white (and consequently, its interior layout) despite the new chassis. As a result, the TUV’s interior is actually better in some ways than the Scorpio’s. Despite the 10mm higher ground clearance, for instance, the seats are placed lower, which not only improves ingress and egress (most will not need the provided foot-step) but also lowers the vehicle’s centre of gravity. You still get a sufficiently commanding driving position though.

The dashboard design is a breath of fresh air for a Mahindra SUV – a wonderful mid-point between the Scorpio’s angular utilitarian shape and the XUV500’s over-styled excess. It has contours and rounded edges, a smart looking texture, and a good use of glossy black and matte silver plastic on the centre console, which ‘flows’ out towards the gear lever. The doors have soft, cushioned arm rests and grab handles that look quite classy. The door handles aren’t the same rough-cut pieces from the Scorpio, and many of the buttons are new too. The new steering wheel has a neat, unique design, and even the hooded instrument binnacle, with its chrome rings and digital info display, looks really, really smart. This mature new design is a huge step forward for the company.

However, some gaffes still remain. The window switches at the front are mounted near the handbrake, not on the doors, and the unit is basically lifted straight from a Scorpio’s driver-side door. Though they’re fewer and harder to spot than on other Mahindras, there are still plenty of rough edges on trim pieces around the cabin, especially lower down. The Scorpio’s problem of inaccessible door pockets has been addressed at the front, but you still have to open the door to reach the ones in the second row. There are several cubbyholes around the cabin, but many of them are too small and shallow to be used for anything other than change; at least there are bottle holders in each door and cup holders between the front seats.

Mahindra TUV300 Engine & Gearbox

If there was one thing that really disappointed us about the TUV300, it would be the engine. The 1.5-litre engine which has been given the mHawk80 nomenclature comes with a 2-stage turbocharger and makes 85PS of peak power and 230Nm of peak torque. That said, it is difficult to see where all the torque and power is really going as under full throttle acceleration the TUV300 takes forever to get anywhere near three digit speeds. The only saving grace is the fact that if you do get the TUV going, especially in the city, in gear acceleartion if you work the gears well is not bad and it does tend to keep up with faster moving traffic on the highway too.

We are also particularly disappointed with the gearbox. While all the forward gears are pretty easy to find, the reverse gear does seem to get lost in the midst of it all and has a noticeable clashing sensation. We guess the TUV300 gearbox is the same NGT-530R series gearbox that Mahindra uses in some of its other cars and if so, the reverse gear issue is one that has plagued other cars too. But, there is a silver lining. The clutch effort is not as much as say the likes of the Duster and shifting between first-second-third-forth and fifth doesn’t take much effort.And then there is the NVH level. Someone in the Mahindra research and development team has put in some serious work into making the TUV a much quieter and vibration free car (as compared to the likes of the Scorpio), and for that, he or she certainly deserves a pat on the back. On the whole though, the engine and gearbox department though is certainly one that needs to pull up its socks and make the TUV300’s engine perform a lot better.

Mahindra TUV300 Ride & Handling

As you might be able to tell from the photos, we’re at Mahindra’s test track, and as a result, a proper ride and handling test will have to wait till we get the TUV300 out on real roads. What we can tell you, though, is that the suspension set-up feels much like the one on the new Scorpio, and even though it’s not identical, the two are similar. There’s definitely an inherent firmness that you can feel as the tall TUV rocks around if you cross a speed breaker at a slight angle instead of head on, or crashes if you hit a sharp bump too hard. And though the stability overall is quite good (thank that long wheelbase), you still get a little up-and-down movement over undulations. You’ll be thankful for the firmer set-up on the whole though, as a soft set-up like in the previous Scorpio would have led to loads of body movement. It’s a tall, body-on-frame SUV, so of course there’s loads of body roll, but you’ll be quite impressed with how eagerly the front end steers into corners. This is by no means a driver’s car, but it’s tidier than you expect something of its height to be.

Mahindra TUV300 Equipments & Safety

If there was one thing that really disappointed us about the TUV300, it would be the engine. The 1.5-litre engine which has been given the mHawk80 nomenclature comes with a 2-stage turbocharger and makes 85PS of peak power and 230Nm of peak torque. That said, it is difficult to see where all the torque and power is really going as under full throttle acceleration the TUV300 takes forever to get anywhere near three digit speeds. The only saving grace is the fact that if you do get the TUV going, especially in the city, in gear acceleartion if you work the gears well is not bad and it does tend to keep up with faster moving traffic on the highway too.

A quick word on equipment, and though there won’t be a touchscreen like on the Scorpio, the top-spec TUV300 T8 gets a pretty comprehensive in-house-developed integrated audio system with a monotone four-inch screen. There’s no CD player, but there’s USB, aux and Bluetooth connectivity. Better news, however, is compatibility with Mahindra’s Blue Sense app that lets you, among many things, control the audio system remotely, and check the vehicle’s speed and fuel level. Best of all, however, while ABS and dual airbags are standard on the T8, they can be had as a paid option on two lower variants as well.

Mahindra TUV300 Price In Chennai

Mahindra Tuv300 Ex-Showroom Price in Chennai ranges from 7,91,563/- (TUV300 T4 Plus) to 10,81,001/- (TUV300 T10 100HP AMT Dual Tone). Get best offers for Mahindra Tuv300 from Mahindra Dealers in Chennai

Mahindra TUV300 Verdict

The Mahindra TUV300 is a refreshingly good product from Mahindra with appealing looks, a very well made interior that is also well designed. It is spacious, doesn’t cost the earth and has a pretty good ride and handling package too. If only the TUV300’s engine was more powerful and more responsive, it would have been an even more potent vehicle than it is today. That said, we are sure that the TUV300 will be a runaway success for Mahindra as most of its customers do not really care how powerful it is and are more wooed by how nice this compact SUV actually looks on the outside and insides and of course, how fuel efficent it is.

What is important to note here though is the fact that the TUV300 will not only take on the likes of the Ford Ecosport but also the likes of the premium hatchbacks like the Hyundai i20 and the Honda Jazz along with compact sedans like the Ford Aspire and the best selling Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire, and that is when its value for money quotient will really make sense.