Before we start our expert review, let’s take a moment to understand what is this sub-4-meter segment. Why every carmaker is going gaga over the sub-4-meter class? Is there something that we don’t know? Well to be fair, most of our readers are aware that the sub-4-meter category attracts a lower excise duty of 12 percent compared to 30 percent on bigger SUVs. This allow automakers to price their sub-4-meter sedans & SUVs very competitively. Other than that, sub-4-meter cars also offers decent amount of boot space, which nowadays, a young buyer looks for weekend getaways. Among many, other reasons why sub-4-meter segment is making much mollah are- They look bigger compared to their counterparts on which they are based, like for eg, Dzire is bigger than Swift, Amaze is longer than Brio and Zest looks classier than Bolt, and second, they are not that big to give you a concern of finding bigger parking space, which by far, is the most puzzling thing for a daily commuter. So that’s that! In 2012, Mahindra tried its luck to take a piece of this growing segment by introducing Quanto. It was an SUV build on an MPV’s platform which failed to post growth on sales chart. But that’s what is good about this company; it fails and falls to come back again with an all new improved vehicle. And they did it this time also with the TUV300. It’s an all new SUV, build from the ground up on the ladder-on-frame with seven seater capacity. Though, this makes it about 300kg heavier when compared to its rival Ford EcoSport which gets a monocoque chassis. The Mahindra TUV300 is available in 7 variants-T4, T4+, T6, T6+, T6+ autoSHIFT, T8 & T8 autoSHIFT in 6 attractive shades of Verve Blue, Dynamite Red, Molten Orange, Glacier White, Majestic Silver and Bold Black. We drove the T6+ MT and T6+AMT and that’s also our recommended variant.
|Ex-showroom Price Range||7,57,550 - 9,94,162|
The exterior defines the abbreviation of TUV300 which is “Tough Utility Vehicle”. It shares most of its chassis structure with next gen Scorpio. The front fascia features bold new face with wide grille and chrome accents resembling to that of Jeep vehicles. The sharp looking sweptback headlamps are inspired from Bolero but we do feel the SUV would looked better with set of projector headlamps and DRLs. The fog lamps too get chrome housing neighboured with large hexagonal mesh structure. I have been noticing that designers at Mahindra do a fantastic job at front, not so good on side and they just leave it when it comes to rear. (Edit: Same thing is done in KUV100). So from the side, it looks boxy and tank-like. There are two crease lines, one flowing from headlamp to taillamp just above the door handle and another slightly near the foot step. The squared wheel-arches looks decent but does not justify 215/75 R15 radials. The side footstep looks solid and is designed to handle lot of abuse. Roof rails along with B and D pillars gets black color shading which adds more to its styling. The rear as aforementioned is plain and bland compared to aggressive front. The rear door houses spare wheel that opens sideway and not upwards. This allows easy ingress and egress for last row passengers. The third row offers decent space for two passengers for a short ride. About the dimensions, the SUV measures 3995mm in length, 1835mm in width and 1839mm in height. Its wheelbase is 2680mm and ground clearance is 190mm. Overall the SUV looks beefy, rugged with loot of metal into it and even though it’s under 4-meter, Mahindra managed to design it in way to that it looks bigger than its rivals which allow us to give TUV300, in terms of exterior, a well deserved 4.2 star out of 5.
Engineers or I say designers have done a pretty good job in creating Mahindra TUV300’s interiors. Leaps of improvement can be seen on the esthetics and design. The SUV offers a higher ground clearance and a commanding seating position which can be further assisted with driver seat height adjustment. The front seats are comfortable and are complemented by armrests. The dashboard gets dual tone beige and black color shade with silver accents on center console, air vents and on steering wheel. The central console gets a piano black color design and small screen, but does not supports touch function. Driver added features like steering mounted controls and MID screen are also provided. The twin-pod unit flaunts tachometer on left and speed on right. MID displays odometer reading, trip distance, fuel level, distance to empty and some other features. To our surprise, even the top model of TUV300 does not comes with climate control, rear ac vents for second row and roof vents for third row. Rear seats are also wide and comfortable with decent amount of legroom and headroom. The last or the third row is bit too cramped for adults but serves the purpose of a seven seater SUV for small distances. With third row folded up, the bootspace is 324-litres which can be further increased by folding second row to get 720-litres of space. We liked what Mahindra has done with the interiors, though they are not as premium as EcoSport’s but still it manages to get a 4 star rating from our side.
To be fair, we have driven the TUV300 on Mumbai roads and was pretty inspired by the way engine gives feedback to your foot’s request. It’s a docile looking powertrain but gives plenty of torque on low rpms. Infact the peak torque of 230Nm comes at 1500-2250rpm; courtesy to its 2-stage turbocharger. Even though TUV300 is big and bulky SUV, it can achieve triple digit speedo figure quite quickly and to our surprise behaved well and remained composed. Though on corners and while braking, it but showed signs of body roll. The steering wheel is responsive and taking U-turn is not a problem with this SUV. Suspensions are bit on stiffer side which allows jitters to filter through cabin, but can be avoided. On ride quality, one thing we should understand that TUV300 is not a urban crossover like Ford EcoSport, so the ride quality is per the SUV standards. We liked how the vehicle performs. MyNewCar rating for TUV300 in ride and handling is 3.9.
TUV300, being a rugged SUV (As per Mahindra’s rule of offering only diesel engine in SUVs) is only offered with diesel engine. It is powered by 1.5-litre, 3 cylinder mHawk80 mill which gives an output of 84bhp and peak torque of 230Nm. It’s a rear wheel driven SUV and power is transferred by a 5-speed manual or an AMT gearbox. We received a pretty good fuel efficiency of 18kmpl on highway and 14kmpl on city drive. But that’s our figures! Not claimed by Mahindra. It’s good that Mahindra is keeping its eyes and ears open for customer’s feedback and introduced an AMT gearbox. We liked the engine and its configuration-The 1493cc powertrain is actually based on 2.2-litre mHawk mill which serves in its bigger siblings-Scorpio and XUV500. It’s a 3-cylinder engine which means less NVH levels (Noise, Vibration, and Harshness) and 84bhp is pretty good for a sub-4-meter SUV. On engine and transmission, we give TUV300 a 3.5 star rating.
Mahindra really have started taking safety of its customer, an utmost priority. Dual airbags, ABS and EBD are available as an optional feature right from the base variant. The top-spec T8 model comes with steering mounted controls, electrically adjusted ORVMs, driver seat height adjustment, lumbar support for driver and co-driver, follow-me-headlamps and static bending headlamps. But again, no touchscreen, no rear A/C vents and no climate control give us enough reasons to give this SUV a star rating of 3.
Mahindra managed to price TUV300 well within the affordable range. The base variant T4 is priced at Rs 7.10 lac while the top end T8 AMT gets a price tag of Rs 9.33 lac. When compared to its rival EcoSport and Duster, TUV300 undercuts both these SUVs. For pricing, we tend to TUV300 a rating of 4.2 star.
The cost of ownership over a period of a year depends on several factors like variant type, odometer run, location, fuel cost, loan interest, maintenance and insurance amount. Here to make calculations easier, we have taken the base 1.5- litre diesel model with yearly run of 12,000kms (1000kms per month). We have not factored in the loan and interest amount as it varies from customer to customer. So the approximate cost of ownership of the TUV300 (Base T4 Diesel) for 12 months is Rs 58,748. This includes Rs 32,182 for fuel expenses, Rs 20,500 for insurance and Rs 6,066 on maintenance. The rugged SUV also gets a warranty of 1,00,000 kms or 3 years. On the cost of ownership, the car scores star rating of 4.
Mahindra TUV300 competes with the likes of Renault Duster, Hyundai Creta, Nissan Terrano, Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza and Ford EcoSport.