Such is the growing popularity of compact SUV segment in the Indian automobile market that within a period of one month we have witnessed two automobile majors Maruti Suzuki and Mahindra launching their respective propositions to claim their pie. The logic behind this popularity is not hard to ascertain. These cars have typical SUV stance in addition to having the convenience of a regular hatchback. Further stacking below the 4-metre of length range makes these car eligible for excise duty exemption which ultimately translate into attractive price point. Maruti Suzuki despite being king of the small car couldn't able to contain its temptation and recently launched a well-rounded VitaraBrezza. Along with this new Maruti, Mahindra also ventured into the segment with KUV 1OO touted as the young SUV. So what happened when we stacked both these contenders against each other, read on to find out.
Design, Style & Interiors
Looks is a matter of personal preference and depending upon the taste, both Maruti and Mahindra will appeal to certain kind of personalities. Design of VitaraBrezza is conservative and Maruti has taken good care not to offend anybody with its clean and uncluttered lines. Mahindra, on the other hand, went all out to make new KUV 1oo a complete flamboyant design. It has certain kind of flair to it which is although appealing could potentially put off many conservative buyers. In sheer size, both cars looks more like pumped up hatchback s rather than SUV; especially KUV1oo in profile feels extremely short and a bit awkward too.
Inside the cabin, Maruti races ahead of the Mahindra in terms of quality and ergonomics. VitaraBrezza has large touch screen entertainment system at the center which also comes with navigation facility in the top trim. Brushed strips of aluminum highlight the cabin in a good way although this is only modern touch in otherwise very Spartan arrangement. Layout and controls are really simple and ergonomically they all are spot on.
Mahindra offer KUV with bench type front row in some of the variants though people still prefer the higher variants with captain seatsFurther, Mahindra's decision to put rear door handles on the pillar has also made the cabin a bit claustrophobic. There is nothing to write home about the quality of the material used and the only bright spot is the console mounted gear lever which is real delight to use.
The accommodative ability of both the cars is almost equally matched. Still we feel Maruti has advantage on the space front and extremely narrow Mahindra kuv1oo not able to hold against Maruti In space department. In terms of the equipment and features, maruti is miles ahead of the Mahindra and we like the way VitaraBrezza maximum Bang for your buck.
KUV1oo: ***** Vitara Brezza: *****
Engine, Transmission & Driving Dynamics
Powered by 1.2-litre 3-cylinder D75 diesel mill, KUV puts out 77 PS and 190 Nm of max power and max torque respectively. Maruti on the other hand comes with tried and tested 1.3-litre multi-jet diesel engine putting out 90 PS and 200 Nm of motive power. In terms of drivability, Mahindra feels more eager however once the revolutions climb, Maruti starts gaining its edge over the Mahindra. Multi-jet diesel engine used by the Maruti is very rev-happy in nature and quite a delight to use on the highway. Mated with 5 speed manual transmission, Vitara Brezza offers very slick and confident shifting experience. Mahindra on the other hand doesn't inspire confidence as its 5-speed manual transmission has a rubbery feel; nonetheless it is placed superbly on centre console. Overall in the engine and transmission department, Maruti emerges on the top with rev-happy engine and slicker transmission.
The same story holds true for ride and handling department too. Behind the wheels, Vitara Brezza tackles the road very confidently. Its lightweight structure and taut chassis help to deliver superior dynamic performance. For that the provision of reverse camera makes the parking of Maruti easier than what we experience in KUV 1oo. Mahindra feels a bit bloaty of the two thanks to the softly sprung suspension system and though it has a very plaint ride quality, high speed stability is an issue of concern especially once you cross 120 kmph mark.
KUV1oo: ***** VitaraBrezza: *****
If ther is one area where KUV beats Maruti decisively, it is on value for money. KUV100 retails in range of Rs 4.45 - 6.84 lakh while VitaraBrezza starts from Rs 6.99 lakh with top version touching Rs 9.54 lakh (all prices, ex-showroom, Delhi). Many people will like this Mahindra for its funky appeal, driving character, zippy nature and excellent ride quality. That said, there are many rough edges bad company has to improve upon before it finally comes on par with Maruti Vitara Brezza. Maruti has once again proved its mettle with Brezza as this compact SUV comes with all-around capabilities. Vitara Brezza may not be exceptionally well on any of the critical areas but it ticks all the right boxes. Further the unparalleled network reach of Maruti makes it the obvious choice over Mahindra.
KUV1oo: ***** VitaraBrezza: *****