Mahindra & Mahindra first publicized its TUV300 with a short TV advertisement showing the vehicle as tough and stylish car as it smashes out of a big fort door. The bookings were open for buyers from 1st September and then 10th September 2015 saw the actual launch of this sub-compact SUV.
Powered by an mHawk diesel engine the TUV300 (pronounced TUV 3 double O) is positioned above the slow selling Quanto and will compete with Ford EcoSport and Renault Duster. The 1.5 litre 3 cylinder common rail turbo diesel engine is a tweaked version of the unit used in Quanto. It churns out 84 bhp at 3750 rpm and has a torque of 230 Nm at 1500-2250 rpm. The engine is mated to 5 speed manual gearbox. There are two variants (T6+ and T8) with AMT options. Suspension of this SUV comprises double wishbone for the front rigid axle multi-link rear suspension.
Mahindra TUV300 is 3995 mm in length and 1835 mm in width. It has a wheelbase of 2680 mm and the height measures 1839 mm. Unlike its main rival Ford EcoSport, it is not a monocoque design. This car has not even been derived from an MUV. It was worked upon from grounds up for sturdiness. It is a ladder frame SUV although a compact one.
The T in the TUV denotes ‘tough’ and the new vehicle portrays this attribute with its looks. Yes, in comparison to curvaceous Creata, EcoSport, and S-Cross it seems boxy but that is due to its Bolero derived legacy. The rectangular cuts on radiator grille are lined with chrome. The boxy design theme is also seen in the fog lamps and large air dam. There is a touch of Bolero in the design of headlamps but they go well with the looks of the TUV300. The front bumper is slabby and on the heavier side.
Being a sub 4 meter utility vehicle, it has a bluff front and bolt upright rear. The designers have used few visual tricks to camouflage the boxiness. They have been successful to some extent. The D pillars have been blackened out. The B and C pillars are raked out and the shoulder line is thick. But the big squarish wheel arches, the thick but small 215/75 R15 tyres draw attention to the disproportionate angles of TUV300.
Mahindra has worked to make the cabin of this car friendly and aesthetic. It is more spacious and comfortable than the Bolero. It is even better than the Scorpio in some ways.
There are contoured palm grips on the steering wheel and it also takes up the buttons for audio system. The instrument console comprises tachometer on the left, speedometer on the right and with an MID in between the two. The dials have chrome outlines.
The dashboard is contoured and has nice texture along with glossy black and matter silver plastic treatment on the centre console. There are cushioned armrests on the doors and grab handles also look good.
For infotainment, the T8 version has an integrated audio system with a monotone 4 inch screen. It comes with USB, aux and Bluetooth connectivity but there is no CD player.
While most of the things are nice, there are some design errors too. For instance there are plenty of cubby holes in this cabin but many are too small to be practical. Yes, you do get bottle holders on each door and cup holders between the front seats. The switches for power windows in front are placed near the handbrake and not on doors. And there are some rough bits for the material even if they are not as easy to spot as in the Bolero.
The best part probably is the availability of adequate space in this cabin because that is something buyers look forward to in a utility vehicle. The seats are accommodating and back support is fine. If you fold the jump seats at the back, you get 400 litres of stowage space and on folding the middle row, it goes up to 720 litres.
With regards to safety features, ABS and dual airbags are standard on the T8 trim and you get them as paid options for the 2 lower variants.
Mahindra TUV300 has 7 variants: T4, T4+, T6, T6+, T8, T8 AMT. These are priced between Rs. 6.98 lakhs and 9.20 lakhs (ex showroom price Delhi)
The colour options include Dynamo Red, Bold Black, Molten Orange, Majestic Silver, Verve Blue and Glacier White.
Look out for more on the performance attributes of this Mahindra product in the expert review and road test sections of Ecardlr.