The TUV300 comes quite loaded with a decent set of gizmos and gadgets. The top of the line car that we drove comes with a Bluetooth, AUX and USB input infotainment system that offers seamless pairing and iPod support too. You also get reversing sensors which displays relevant information on the centre screen. You also get voice warnings for not wearing your seatbelt and a welcome message when you switch on the TUV300, both of which we think are quite unnecessary and more of a gimmick.
The T8 version also gets a height adjustable drivers seat and of course a height adjustable steering wheel. All in all, compared to the likes of the Ecosport, the TUV300 is pretty much on par. Mahindra though should have thought ahead and added the same touchscreen infotainment system that you get in the Scorpio or the XUV500 to really give the TUV and edge over its competition. You also get a start-stop system and braking regeneration just like you get in the new ‘Hybrid’ Maruti Suzuki Ciaz but the overall effect it has on the TUV300’s fuel economy is not really drastic.
Engines & Performance :
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.
Ride and Ease of Driving :
One of the things that really surprised us is the way the TUV300 handles bad roads. Throw it at a pothole or an undulated section of road and the TUV300 manages to waft over it without much fuss while keeping the occupants quite comfortable. That said, passengers in the rear seat and the last row do feel more jerks than the ones in the first row, but then, that is a typically Mahindra trait.
The TUV300 is an easy car to drive for even the most novice driver due to the fact that it is really east to look out of. There is however a slight blind spot when you reverse and the inside rear view mirror could have been a tad bit larger. Of course, the reverse sensors do aid drivers but the addition of a reverse camera would have been very welcome.
Handling & Braking :
Being a body on frame construction, expecting the TUV300 to handle like a Sedan or a family Hatchback is asking too much. That said, we were pleasantly surprised by how this new setup makes the TUV300 roll much less than the likes of the QUANTO for example. The TUV300 also feels quite comfortable and planted at higher speeds. There is of course a noticeable level of body roll when you chuck it into a corner hard or when you take a high speed sweeping corner but nothing that might make it uncomfortable. The TUV300 comes with disc brakes in the front and drum brakes in the rear and while other Mahindra cars do seem a little nervous under heavy braking, the TUV300 manages to hold its own thanks to the ABS and EBD that it gets.
Price and Fuel efficiency:
With prices (ex-showroom, Pune) starting at Rs 6.90 lakhs for the base variant, Rs 7.55 lakhs for the mid variant and Rs 8.40 lakhs for the one that we are driving here today, the TUV300 does make a lot of sense if someone wants to upgrade from a smaller Hatchback to something bigger. When it comes to fuel economy, Mahindra claims that the TUV300 gets an ARAI score of 18.49kmpl. In the real world though expect a figure that is slightly less, mainly due to the fact that the TUV300 needs to be kept in the correct rev range to make it to get a move along.
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.