In an attempt to revive its sedan category fortunes; Mahindra launched a heavily revamped version of its flagship three-box saloon Verito in middle of year 2012. The move is clearly aimed to abandon bland and dull style stigmas that had been attached with older Verito for long time. These low styling opinions literally plagued old Verito and never allowed it to stand on its feet to counter rivals. Mahindra initially tried to pull its punches but then soon realized that heavy revamping was nothing but survival necessity. And this is how new Verito was initially conceptualized and then made its way in to market in its slim-trim avatar. New Verito comes with host of outside and inside changes that are quite apparent instantly. Rather than changing things subtly; Mahindra has not pulled its punches this time. Exterior of new Verito has undergone heavily under knife as lot of flab-cut has helped this newer version to look more appealing. Interiors too got its share of attention as everything from console to material has been changed for better. However what hasn’t changed is very reliable and fuel-efficient dCi oil-burner unit that has been carried over from older version to this new upgraded model. After this hefty nip and tuck exercise, Mahindra seems confident of getting favorable response from Indian customers. Now to ascertain whether Mahindra’s confidence has solid backing of any substance or not; is what we at eacrdlrfind out in this road test of new Verito.
The efforts to get rid of the plain-bland design image has shown their results as new Verito now looks far more up-market and stylish in design. Though there are still hints of the square-ish shape; fortunately their impressions are very subtle. New Verito has got the grill of Mahindra lineage family with thick horizontal chrome slat placed above to increase the luxurious quotient. Headlamps though look meek have crystal clear lens to aid the visibility aspect. Air dam now features a broad intake area with provision of fog lamps on either side.
Side profile of new Verito has got some flavor in terms of sleek waist and shoulder lines running back to back from the front to the rear. Roof rails are another spicy addition to the recipe of new Verito and successfully add some style quotient to the overall appeal of car. Rear of the car too got some find attention from the designers and comes with some refreshing change. Tail lamps though not entirely new look far more sophisticated than the previous model. New sculpted boot lid helps to rub-off the bland and bulky rear and along with corporate logo helps to instil more up market status of Verito in minds of perspective customers.
With the length of 4.2 m; Verito is not eligible for the reduction in excise duty which in fact we thought initially it would qualifyfor in its new version. Nevertheless overall measures of the new Verito look more proportioned and less boxy than the previous version. Thanks to the efforts made by the engineers especially at the side and rear profile, Verito now looks more contemporary and can be safely placed in the leagues of good looking cars.
If in case exteriors fail to appease your senses, we are sure that interiors will make their mark on you; especially if you have already been in old version of Verito. Dash board comes with two-tone color scheme and now feels richer in feeling. Grains are soft yet feel hardwearing. Combination of white and grey has really merged well though we are speculative about its proneness to dust. Centre console contains the provisions for music system with the option of USB and aux-in with 4 speakers in top end variant of the car. HVAC is now controlled by the rotary knobs which are far more convenient and nice than the mechanical controls of outgoing variant.
Instrument cluster consists of speedometer, rpm meter along with driver information display showing the necessary information like trip km, distance to empty, average consumption etc. Dials are big and readable though rpm meter shows rpm in multiples of 100 rather than trend of using 1000.
With the generous wheelbase of 2630 mm, Verito remains one of the roomiest and widest cars in the segment. On space front; it is really difficult to beat the Verito as even three fully grown adults will sit comfortably in the Verito’s back seat. In fact company has provided three head restraints at the back to show this space competence. All sorts of rooms are at available at the disposal of the passengers though a little bit of reclined back seat along with some more thigh support at front would have taken the convenience aspect to higher level.
Boot space with rated capacity of 510 liters is very capacious.Therefore you need not to worry about the length of your outstation trips as it is large enough to swallow your entire luggage for a week trip.
POWER PLANT AND TRANSMISSION
Though there are considerable changes in and outside the car, under the hood storey essentially remains the same as new Verito continues to feature the same power train options. Oil burner option of Verito gets its heart from the erstwhile partner of Mahindra; Renault and this is the reason why Mahindra needs to pay a part of premium to Renault for every unit of Verito sold. Engine displaces 1.5 L capacity and breathes through old school provision of 8 valves mounted on single overhead cam. Power output is modest with rating of 65 hp while torque value stands at decent 160 Nm generated at 2000 rpm.
Like other derivatives of this 1.5 L dCi motor, this variant also is mediocre in refinement. There is very perceptible diesel engine clatter though it seems to become disappearing once you sit inside the cabin. Drivability of the Verito is great though there are some hints of lag present especially under 1000 rpm. But it is not something you need to bother much about. Ambling around in the city is an easy task and car won’t disappoint you in its shorter stints. Verito also comes with a punchy mid-range capacity though the top end seems not as appealing as in some of the other segment cars. The decision of using the single cam shaft has taken a toll on the top end of the car and power seems to be insufficient to gratify the overall driving emotion. Nevertheless for a typical urban driving, Verito makes a good case for itself.
Engine is mated with 5-speed manual transmission. Silver accented gear liver feels a bit cheap bit and shakes a bit both at starting and on the roll. Shifts are mediocre in nature and in front of slick units like Honda and VW; Verito is not at all in the scene. Throws too require a considerable effort and this effort has to be directional in case of shifting from 2nd to 3rd one. Clutch action is progressive though not on lighter side. This could cause a bit pain in left foot especially in usual chock-a-block traffic situations.
ROCK & ROLL
Being a home grown company has certain advantages in terms with better understanding of the local road conditions and Mahindra has exploited this advantage to hilt. Point in case is the suspension setting of Verito which uses Macpherson strut up front while H-section torsion beam at rear to accomplish suspension task. 14” alloy wheels are shroud with 185 mm wide tubeless tires with aspect ratio of 70.
Suspension setting is in interest of riding comfort as springs are softly sprung. This gives the Verito a commendable ability to soak up the intrusions as well as undulations. Bumps are also ridden out with applause though there is need to approach the potholes with care especially at the slow speed. Overall ride quality is impressive as Verito manages to soak up the roads well.
In the quest of more comfortable ride, handling department has been neglected up to some extent by the company engineers. This hints towards the roll phenomenon which is always perceptible especially when trying to maneuver the Verito without slowing it down. Verito demands a proper braking before you seek to make any unanticipated move and this takes away the fun factor from the overall proposition of Verito.
Verito diesel range starts from 6.05 lakh for D2 model and extends all the way up to 7.13 lakh for top variant D6 (ex-showroom Delhi). On practicality and space proposition; Verito is irresistible and now improved look has made it even more tempting. Overall Verito makes a very good case for itself as many things have come together for it. Optimum mixture of space, practicality, efficiency and ride comfort has made Verito a very formidable contender and is sure to attract the customers’ attention. However as an overall proposition it still lacks the feel good factor that some of the other cars of the segment boasts of. In fact it still has some way to go before it can match its Japanese counterparts.Nevertheless Verito marks a giant leap forward by Indian manufacturer Mahindra and is sure to stir hornet’s nest of sedan segment.
Style & Substance 3/5 Ride & Handling 3.5/5
Interiors & Ergonomics: 3/5 Safety & Equipment 3/5
Power-Plant & Transmission 3/5 Fuel Efficiency 3.5/5
Value for Money 3/5