The first Maserati Ghibli was designed and unveiled at the 1966 Turin Motor Show. It followed a tradition pioneered by Maserati with the glorious A6 1500 of 1947: it was a grand tourer. That meant it delivered on the promise of glorious style, high-powered luxury, and peerless comfort over almost any distance the owner cared to consider.
A car imbued, naturally, with our motor racing DNA—a remarkably powerful force. Our latest Ghibli model embodies the spirit that shaped both the first incarnation of 1966 and our hunger to innovate, compete, and win.
That means exclusive luxury, elegant yet and bold design and progressive technology. And, of course, empowering A scaled-down version of its bigger Quattroporte sibling, the Ghibli takes the already successful Quattroporte formula and further accentuates it. Unsurprisingly, the smaller brother builds on the same platform as the current sixth-generation Quattroporte.
In 2017, the Italian sedan named after an African desert wind received its mid-cycle facelift. Not only more dynamic and refined by look, but the all-new Ghibli is also practical enough to carry five passengers on board.
While the new refinements are not a massive deviation from that of the pre-facelift model, they are notably distinguishable. The sporty exterior and the revamped interior were enhanced through updated materials, and innovative technologies—all contributing to a more modern, luxurious, and appealing look.
Under the official dealership of Alfardan Sports Motors, the luxury sports sedan won the 2018 “Qatar Car Of The Year” (QCOTY) award—one of the most prestigious and sought-after honors bestowed in the automotive industry in Qatar—winning in the “Best Luxury Sport Sedan” category. The win for the Ghibli is further testament to its success, not only on a regional level, but on an international level as well. The breath-taking sedan was also named the 2014 “Midsize Luxury Saloon of the Year” and the 2014 “Luxury Car of the Year” by the Malaysian Asian Auto and the New Zealand Herald media outlets, respectively.
Visually, the 2019 Ghibli sets itself apart from the pre-facelift model with new front and rear fascia.
Adopting Maserati’s latest design language on the exterior, the new Ghibli features a revamped front grille—larger than before and sports new vertical slats—new headlamps with adaptive full-LED Matrix technology, larger side vents, stylish chrome strips, and a body-colored diffuser-like element, to name but a few.
The 2019 Ghibli is available in two trim levels: the more luxurious “GranLusso” and the sportier “GranSport.” Each trim level brings its own series of design elements, inside and out. Slotting under the Quattroporte, the all-new Ghibli has an overall length of 4971 mm and measures 1945 mm and 1461 mm in width and height, respectively. The latest Ghibli also has a generous wheelbase of 2998 mm.
Ghibli still has one of the best cockpits in Maserati’s entire line-up. It features a new 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen display compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The new layout boasts a revised button cluster and a neater central console on which a new rotary dial controller is mounted. Elsewhere, the Ghibli’s interior benefits from a mix of premium materials including leather upholstery, chrome accents, and wood trim.
As for the instrument cluster, there are two analog gauges for the tachometer and speedometer, along with a 7-inch TFT display. The designers in Turin interpreted the styling of the GranLusso and GranSport trims separately for each one. While the GranLusso trim carries power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, 19-inch wheels, and keyless entry, the GranSport variant boasts 20-inch wheels, sport-leather steering wheel, and extended leather upholstery with contrast stitching on many places.
The entry-level Maserati Ghibli is available in Ghibli, Ghibli S, and Ghibli S Q4 trims. All variants are equipped with a 3.0-liter V-6 engine. In the Ghibli model, this engine produces 350 hp and 500 Nm of torque. Hooked to the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission sending power to the rear wheels, the six-cylinder unit enables the luxury sedan to go from zero to 100 km/h in 5.5 seconds before hitting a top speed of 267 km/h.
To elevate Maserati owners’ experience in Qatar and take it to a whole new level, Alfardan Sports Motors—Qatar’s official Maserati Importer—has designed a vast 1,100m2 showroom to exhibit all the Italian brand’s line-up models. Located in The Pearl-Qatar area, the showroom’s working hours are from Saturday to Thursday, 10 am to 10 pm.
Thanks to a team of well-trained professionals driven by cutting-edge technology, Maserati Qatar also has a world-class service center that is designed in line with Alfardan Sports Motors’ retail concept and customer service standards. The state-of-the-art facility is also located at Qatar’s upscale leisure destination—The Pearl-Qatar.
For all Maserati’s new models, including the all-new Ghibli, Alfardan Sports Motors offers an industry-leading three-year unlimited mileage warranty and a three-year or 60,000 km (whichever comes first) service package.
Qatar Automobiles Company (QAC), the authorised distributor of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and FUSO in Qatar, a subsidiary of Naser Bin Khalid Group of Companies, continues to supply the Qatari market with reliable Fuso trucks and buses, directly from Japan.
The Fuso vehicles in Qatar are available at Qatar Automobiles Company showroom at Salwa road in Doha and includes the Fuso Canter Light duty trucks and Rosa buses the only 26 seaters available in the market.
Hisham Al Sahn, General Manager of QAC, said: “Qatar Automobiles Company and Fuso have a longstanding and strong relationship. We will continue to supply the Qatari Market with Fuso products that meet the demands and expectations of our customers. Fuso vehicles, trucks and buses are well known for their durability and modern technology, and we will stay committed to present this brand in Qatar in the best way ever and provide our market with the reliable Made in Japan vehicles”.
Qatar Automobiles Company continues to supply the Qatari market with buses and light trucks that combine durability and reliability, while remaining affordable in a competitive market. The FUSO trucks are perfectly suited to meet the demands and requirements of various sectors, and provide services for passenger and staff transport, commercial operations and other kinds of business.
Qatar Automobiles Company is the authorized distributor of FUSO brand that is known for its trusted quality, economic efficiency, solid & functional design and committed services. In the segment of light duty trucks, Mitsubishi FUSO Canter is the flagship product of the company, and has the highest market share in Qatar. The Canter is a light duty truck, one of the most successful and demanded truck across the world. In Qatar, the Canter accomplished huge success thanks to its safety standards, high performance, low cost of operation and lifetime value. In terms of design, the FUSO Canter is set for light to medium operations, with its rigid cab and chassis.
In the buses category, The ROSA is the only buss in Qatar that can accommodate Up to 26 seats including the driver. It is equipped with Class Leading Features. Forward position of passenger entrance door makes it easier for driver to see passengers entering/exiting the bus, while large bonded passenger windows are ideal for unobstructed view The Mitsubishi Fuso Rosa is a Japanese minibus manufactured by Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation. The bus is perfect for all kinds of transportation including entertainment trips, school transportation, staff, VIP transport.
The Rosa uses Michelin tires and is equipped with high performance 4.2 liter 4-cylinder Diesel engine and independent front suspension. Its Dual caliper front disc brakes with electronic wear indicator warning maximize the safety of the bus while moving and stopping
In terms of Safety and Comfort, the accelerator interlock and pre-warning buzzer prevents vehicle being driven with passenger door open. Other facilities include seatbelts on every seat, ADR 59 roll strength compliant and rear air-conditioning system with integrated roof vents located throughout cabin.
The fleet and different applications are available in the showroom, with various payment plans and wide range of offers for companies and corporate deals.
Fuso Showroom is located on Salwa road. Customers can visit the showroom at Salwa Road from Saturday to Thursday from 8 am to 9 pm and on Friday from 5 pm to 9 pm.
DOHA: MG Motor has revealed the first details of its first-ever seven-seat er SUV as the British-born automotive brand prepares to introduce the all-new MG RX8 SUV to showrooms region-wide in September this year. MG automotive brand was established in 1924 in Britain by William Morris and Cecil Kimbers. It is known for its historic models, awards and achievements throughout the past 95 years.
A robust and spacious SUV – with the largest wheelbase in its segment – the new seven-seater introduces MG Motor to a segment it has previously never been present in. The MG RX8 is a fully equipped 4×4 with six different driving modes. Its strong truck chassis frame is capable of handling the toughest off-road terrains, and is powered by an efficient 220HP 2.0-litre turbo engine.
Its spacious modular interior features adjustable rear seats and the largest third-row space in its segment. An array of premium materials including wood grain and soft-touch trim gives the RX8 a high-class feel. And, modern features such as a 10-inch touch screen in-car entertainment system, ventilated seats and wireless mobile device charging capabilities make the RX8 the perfect partner for an active family.
Tom Lee, SAIC Motor Regional Director – the parent company of MG Motor – said: “For the first time in our 95-year history MG Motor is introducing a seven-seat SUV. With the all-new MG RX8, we are making a bold move into a segment we’ve never operated in before, and I am confident that this car will make an impact amongst its competitors.
2019 sees us introduce three fantastic new products to the Middle East – the MG RX8, MG HS and MG5. With these new products, our Middle East model line-up is stronger and more appealing than ever. The MG brand is growing in the region, and across the globe; our total global sales for the first half of 2019 exceeded 120,000 units.
As we enter unchartered territory for the brand with the new RX8 I am confident that we can offer a robust, practical and well-equipped SUV in a segment which is remarkably popular here in the Middle East.”
The 2020 Hyundai Kona, Santa Fe, and Tucson were all awarded 5-Star Overall Safety Ratings, the highest available overall safety rating issued by the government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a facet of its New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). Skyline Automotive W.L.L., is the official distribution partner of the Hyundai Motor Company in the State of Qatar.
Kona, Santa Fe and Tucson exemplified exceptional safety in crashworthiness and collision avoidance—due to the new Hyundai SmartSense safety technologies available in these 2020 models.
Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA), uses the car’s front-facing camera and radar to help detect an imminent collision and avoid impact or minimize damage by braking autonomously. Sensing road markings, Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) helps to prevent accidental lane departure and may automatically steer the car if required.
Driver Attention Warning (DAW) monitors ones’ driving patterns—detecting drowsy or inattentive driving. Once detected, it alerts the driver with a sound cue and warning message on the instrument panel. Additional safety technologies in these vehicles include Blind Spot Collision Warning (BCW) and Rear Cross Traffic Warning (RCCW).
NHTSA conducts vehicle testing and ratings each year to give consumers information about crashworthiness, collision avoidance and other areas that improve the safety of new vehicles.
Hyundai praised NHTSA, IIHS, and the automotive industry for working together to make rear seat reminder systems standard features on new vehicles in the future. Making these systems standard equipment will help prevent child deaths from heatstroke in vehicles. In August 2019, Hyundai announced that they will be making Rear Occupant Alert (ROA) door-logic system standard on most new vehicles by 2022.
1 / 0 Rating 8 8 2018 Mahindra Marazzo review, road test 3rd Oct 2018 2:41 pm
A spacious and contemporary MPV that slots right between the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and Toyota Innova Crysta.
Make : Mahindra
Model : Marazzo
We Like Refinement Ride comfort Spacious cabin We Don't Like Engine lacks punch Pricey higher variants
Is the MPV segment really shrinking? Perhaps, but one look at individual sales figures and two models stand tall – the Toyota Innova Crysta and the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga. Despite the price having doubled since the previous-generation version was launched, the Innova still clocks over 6,500 units monthly, while the Ertiga, now in the last few months of its current iteration, still managed over 3,500 units in August. These two have proven that if the packaging is right and the product is dependable, sales are inevitable.
Interestingly, there’s a Rs 5 lakh vacuum between the Ertiga diesel (Rs 8.78 to Rs 10.69 lakh) and the Innova 2.4 diesel (Rs 15.77 to 20.71 lakh). Yes, the Renault Lodgy does sit in this space, but it’s failed to make a mark. Enter the new Mahindra Marazzo. Priced at Rs 9.99-13.90 lakh, it sits neatly between the two, making the carmaker’s intentions quite clear – it’s gunning for buyers from both sides.
Developed from a clean slate by the Mahindra North American Technical Centre (MNATC) in Michigan, USA, the Marazzo looks and feels vastly different from any Mahindra before it. It’s built on an all-new platform, is powered by a new 123hp, 1.5-litre diesel engine, gets a new six-speed manual gearbox, and, crucially, it wears a design language that’s safe and contemporary.
The Marazzo’s footprint is larger than any other Mahindra passenger vehicle on sale, at 4,585mm in length, 1,866mm in width and 1,774mm in height. This makes it shorter and lower than the Innova Crysta, but it’s wider and has a longer wheelbase too.
Prominent C-shaped body crease is reminiscent of the Ferrari 456.
Mahindra’s designers, this time, have stuck to a more conventional styling theme and haven’t gone overboard with excessive design elements. So, while the Marazzo might not evoke a ‘wow’ feeling at first, you can’t accuse it of being garish or over-the-top like some other Mahindras; it wears a mature and contemporary design. The face sports Mahindra’s signature toothy grille, the headlamps appear a bit timid, and the LED DRLs would have been more impactful and attractive attached to the headlamps than the fog lamps, which is where they are currently located. In profile, the Marazzo is your classic, monovolume MPV, but with some likeable elements like the prominent C-shaped character lines on the doors, attractive 17-inch wheels, a rising waistline and a rather tasteful use of chrome highlights, you could even call it sophisticated. That said, the upward sloping window line, and the oversized tail-lamps make the rear end seem bulky and the rear wheels a bit small.
The all-new platform underpinning the Marazzo is quite unique – it sits on a ladder frame, with a transverse engine powering the front wheels. The company claims this setup was adopted to add the requisite dose of toughness to the MPV while providing a more traditional car-like driving character.
Attractive 17-inch alloy wheels look good in this shade of gunmetal grey.
The structure is 52 percent high-strength steel and, with weight-saving in mind, the front suspension is aluminium-intensive. However, though several components under the hood are made of plastic, the Marazzo still tips the scales at a hefty 1,650kg; lighter than the 1,855kg Innova, but 400kg heavier than the Ertiga.
Like the exterior, the Marazzo’s interiors too portray a sense of maturity. The clean and clutter-free dash looks great, while the beige-and-black colour theme and mix of materials complement the aesthetics well. The gloss black fascia finish adds some appeal to the cabin but, on a sunny afternoon, this surface becomes very reflective. Also, the white, ceramic-like highlights on the dashboard and the purple instrument cluster might seem a bit quirky to some. As for quality, the feel of the textured plastics and fit and finish in certain areas is surprisingly good.
Individual armrests, lumbar support adjustment add to front seat comfort.
The driver’s seat offers a commanding, panoramic view thanks to the expansive glass area, and reversing this long MPV is quite easy with its large rear windscreen and easy-to-judge edges. The wing mirrors offer a clear view back, as does the inside rear-view mirror although it is set quite low and at times can come right in your forward field of view.
The seats themselves are large, very supportive and upholstered in leather. The front ones even get lumbar support adjustment and individual armrests, adding to the overall comfort. In the seven-seat configuration, the middle row gets captain seats, while the eight-seater gets a bench that slides and reclines in a 40:60 split. Unique to the Marazzo is the rear air-conditioner, which has the blower unit running the length of the car with side-firing vents. There is also a selectable ‘diffuse’ mode that releases air in a nice, gentle flow.
Second row has an easy, one-touch tumbling mechanism (kerb-side only).
Because the C-pillar is pushed far back, the rear door cavity is wide and makes for easy ingress and egress. The left captain seat or 40 percent of the bench in the eight-seater variant (the one closer to the kerb) gets a one-touch tumbling function for easier entry to the third row. Once seated in the third row, headroom isn’t much of a concern and space isn’t too bad. Sure, the seat is a bit low so one sits in a knees-up position, and because of the middle seat rails, you need to wiggle your feet to find room. But compared to some of its rivals, this row can accommodate adults quite comfortably for a considerable amount of time. This seat, however, isn’t wide enough for three people and a backrest recline function, like in the Innova, is missing.
Cabin ergonomics is one area where Mahindra should have put in some more effort. The placement of the dead pedal is too far to the left, the front USB slots are placed too low (below the gear console), the cup holders can’t be accessed when the front armrests are in place, and the bottle-holders in the rear door bins can’t be accessed without opening the doors. These aren’t deal breakers but irritants which Mahindra should have thought through better. Some might also find the steering wheel rim too thin, and the gear lever a bit too tall, and then there’s the ‘aircraft-inspired’ handbrake. It may look neat, but it’s fiddly to use and most testers felt a conventional lever would have worked better.
Wide seats mean you’ll struggle to reach a bottle in the rear doorpad.
Storage areas are aplenty throughout the cabin – there’s a large open cavity on top of the dashboard, the large door bins can easily hold 1.0-litre bottles and there are cupholders in every row. The front and middle rows also get USB charging slots. With all rows in place, the boot is a tiny 190 litres, which is just enough for two soft bags. However, fold down the second and third row and it liberates 1,055 litres of cargo area, though it doesn’t have a flat floor.
The all-new 1,497cc, four-cylinder diesel engine belongs to the mFalcon engine family (which debuted on the KUV100 in three-cylinder guise). This engine gets a new variable-geometry turbocharger that helps it achieve a peak power output of 123hp at 3,500rpm. Peak torque is 300Nm and is developed between 1,750-2,500rpm.
What’s noticeable right from start-up is just how refined this engine is. There aren’t any vibrations to speak of, neither through the pedals nor the steering wheel. Nor does the gear lever dance about like the one in the Innova. The engine uses a plastic cam cover, aluminium oil sump, low-friction pistons and an offset crankshaft, all to keep weight and vibrations low, and all this seems to have paid off. At low and moderate speeds, refinement is remarkable, and it’s only when the motor is spun beyond 3,500rpm that it gets vocal. Wind and road noise are well contained, and the vibration-free, hushed cabin truly impresses.
Ride comfort is the Marazzo’s strength. It flattens bad roads like they don’t exist.
The way it performs at city speeds is also commendable. It pulls cleanly off the mark, but doing so calls for careful modulation of the clutch and the throttle; we did stall it a couple of times. There is a bit of turbo lag but it’s quickly overcome as the engine picks up revs. The short gearing helps responsiveness and the big Marazzo pulls well from as low as 1,000rpm.
Once the turbo has spooled up, there’s a nice wave of torque from a little over 1,500rpm and it lasts for a good 2,000 revs after. Though there’s no real surge in performance, the engine pulls well enough to close gaps in traffic and perform quick overtaking manoeuvres. Performance begins to taper once the revs cross 3,500rpm, and there’s no point pulling it beyond that to its 4,400rpm redline, as progress is slow and the engine sounds strained; it is best to upshift early to make quick progress. Flat-out, this MPV accelerates from 0-100kph in 14.47sec, which is not too much slower than the more powerful and torquier 2.4-litre Innova (13.11sec). Impressive then that, in fourth gear, the Marazzo accelerates from 40-100kph in 11.18sec, which is 0.8sec faster than the Innova (11.98sec).
Thrust-lever-like parking brake is more aesthetic than functional.
There’s an Eco mode on offer for those looking to maximise efficiency. Power is restricted to 100hp but there are two preset engine maps – one for partial engine load, which would typically be while cruising or in city driving conditions, and the other for full engine load, which provides the desired performance, useful in scenarios like overtaking. Going from 0 to 100kph is almost a second slower in Eco mode, and 20-80kph in third gear too is 1.4sec slower; 40-100kph in fourth, though, is identical between the two modes.
It isn’t all good news, however. While this 1.5-litre engine, with its 300Nm of torque, feels sufficient to haul this MPV’s bulk, as well as the weight of seven passengers, a larger, torquier engine would’ve felt more effortless (like the 2.2-litre mHawk). Also, when loaded up with passengers, it struggles on inclines, again due to the relatively small engine and its front-wheel-drive setup.
Dead pedal is placed too far to the left to be usable. The clutch pedal is positioned quite high.
Driving the Marazzo can best be described as light and easy. The steering is light and so is the clutch, although the travel is long. The gear lever is a bit too tall and the throws are on the longer side but here too, effort is minimal.
The Marazzo gets a double-wishbone front suspension with a stabiliser bar, and a twist beam setup at the rear. That, coupled with 240mm of suspension travel, has done wonders for the way it tackles the rough. It does, however, jiggle a bit at low speeds, with a lumpiness typical of a ladder-frame chassis. However, true to the Mahindra ladder-frame DNA, the Marazzo feels indestructible over bad and broken roads. Road shocks rarely filter through and lateral rocking movements are very well controlled. Some vertical movement or pitching can be experienced at high speeds, but it doesn’t feel excessive at any point.
With all seats up, the 190-litre boot is good for a couple of soft bags only.
The electric power steering (EPS) is light and with a small 5.25m turning radius (an Ertiga’s is 5.2m), this nearly 4.6m-long car feels quite nimble to manoeuvre through traffic, and is easy to park. The EPS weights up consistently as speeds build and offers ample feel when turning into corners. Push the Marazzo hard on winding hilly roads and its handling remains safe and predictable. The grip from the tyres and the overall mechanical grip is so good that this MPV feels confident around corners and elicits a sense of stability and a planted feel that’s quite unlike what you get from Mahindra’s SUVs. Yes, it is a tall car, so body roll is inevitable, but never does it feel nervous. Braking is another area where the Marazzo performs well. The pedal has a spongy feel because the bite point is further down the travel range. However, the all-wheel disc brakes bring this MPV to a halt briskly.
Position of roof AC is effective. There are ‘direct’ and ‘diffuse’ functions to help control airflow.
Overall, the driving dynamics of the Marazzo are so sorted, they’re easily the best we’ve experienced from a Mahindra so far.
In Eco mode, the Marazzo returned some respectable efficiency figures. In the city, it achieved 12.5kpl, slightly better than the lighter 110hp Renault Lodgy’s 12.3kpl and much better than the Innova 2.4 MT’s 10.6kpl. Out on the highway, the Marazzo returned 15.5kpl, also better than Toyota’s 14.3kpl, but not quite as good as the Lodgy’s 17.5kpl (due to the Lodgy’s taller fifth and sixth gears).
The onboard navigation system even gives you turn-by-turn prompts on the multi-info display.
The 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is easy to use, with good touch sensitivity and an interface that’s quick to respond. What’s nice is that it gets Android Auto, but Apple CarPlay isn’t available for now. The user interface, too, is fairly easy to work with, but it could still do with a bit more spit and polish. The integrated navigation system works precisely, and it will even give you turn prompts on the multi-info display between the dials, which is useful. You can also sync a phone via Bluetooth while on the move, though for safety’s sake, it’s best to let your passenger do it for you.
There’s only one engine and transmission option currently available across the Marazzo’s four variants – M2, M4, M6 and M8. Safety kit like ABS, EBD, dual airbags, all-wheel disc brakes and Isofix child seat mounts are standard on all. The bottom three variants get both eight- (second row bench) and seven-seater (second row captain seats) options, whereas the top trim is only available in the seven-seat configuration. Features like a 7.0-inch touchscreen with navigation, Android Auto, a reversing camera and sensors, 17-inch alloys, a rear wiper and washer, part-leather upholstery, rear air-con, climate control, projector headlamps with LED daytime running lamps and cruise control are part of the equipment list in the top variant.
Access to the well-executed cupholders is restricted when both front armrests are in place.
Mahindra has outdone itself with the Marazzo in terms of design and quality. As a people mover, it is spacious, comfortable and well equipped. The engine’s refinement and effortlessness in the city are highlights and the car’s light controls, high seating and excellent visibility make it nice and easy to drive. The body-on-frame construction gives it a sense of indestructibility over bad roads, and its ride is quite simply the comfiest in its segment. This 1.5-litre diesel engine could have done with stronger performance, particularly with a full load of passengers, and some cabin ergonomic quirks should have been sorted out. While its starting price is attractive, Mahindra could have priced the higher variants a touch more aggressively. But on the whole, the Marazzo is a huge leap forward for Mahindra and for those looking for an easy-to-drive, plush and spacious seven-seater family car, this MPV is certainly the one we can recommend.
Ex-showroom – Delhi
Rs 9.99-13.90 lakh
3 years/unlimited km
Fuel Type / Propulsion
4 cyls, turbo-diesel
Cubic Capacity (cc)
4 valves per cyl, DOHC
Max Power (hp @ rpm)
123hp at 3500rpm
Max Torque (Nm @ rpm)
300Nm at 1750-2500rpm
Power to Weight Ratio (hp/tonne)
74.54 hp per tonne
Torque to Weight Ratio (Nm/tonne)
181.81 Nm per tonne
Specific Output (hp/litre)
82.16 hp per litre
No of Gears
1st Ratio/kph per 1000 rpm
2nd Ratio/kph per 1000 rpm
3rd Ratio/kph per 1000 rpm
4th Ratio/kph per 1000 rpm
5th Ratio/kph per 1000 rpm
6th Ratio/kph per 1000 rpm
Final Drive Ratio
80 – 0 kph (mts, sec)
Tank size (lts)
0 – 10 kph (sec)
0 – 20 kph (sec)
0 – 30 kph (sec)
0 – 40 kph (sec)
0 – 50 kph (sec)
0 – 60 kph (sec)
0 – 70 kph (sec)
0 – 80 kph (sec)
0 – 90 kph (sec)
0 – 100 kph (sec)
0 – 110 kph (sec)
0 – 120 kph (sec)
0 – 130 kph (sec)
0 – 140 kph (sec)
1/4 mile (sec)
20-80kph (in third gear) (sec)
40-100kph (in fourth gear) (sec)
MAX SPEED IN GEAR
1st (kph @rpm)
32kph at 4300rpm
2nd (kph @rpm)
59kph at 4400rpm
3rd (kph @rpm)
93kph at 4400rpm
4th (kph @rpm)
133kph at 4500rpm
5th (kph @rpm)
159kph at 4100rpm
6th (kph @rpm)
175kph at 3800rpm
Idle with AC blower at half (dB)
52.7dB/54.3dB (rear AC on)
Full Revs, AC off (dB)
59.5dB (at 3000rpm)
50 kph in 4th gear AC off (dB)
80 kph in top gear AC off (dB)
Independent, double wishbone, coil springs, stabil
1 / 0 Rating 8 8 2018 Hyundai Santro review, road test 27th Nov 2018 5:09 pm
The original Hyundai Santro was synonymous with practicality, ease of use and efficiency. Does the new, second-gen car live up to the legendary name?
Make : Hyundai
Model : Santro
We Like Roomy and well-finished cabin Overall refinement Easy to drive We Don't Like Top versions skimp on some features Pricier than expected
True to the title of a book that chronicles the first years of its existence, the original Santro really was a car that built a company. A quirky-looking car from an unknown Korean manufacturer (Hyundai was a lightweight in the automotive world in 1998) should have faded into oblivion. But, in reality, things couldn’t have turned out better. The Santro was a runaway success and quickly established Hyundai as a household name in India. The ‘tall boy’ set the foundation for Hyundai’s meteoric growth and today the Korean carmaker is India’s second largest.
In the 16 years it was on sale, the original Santro sold a whopping 1.32 million units in our market. And now, after a gap of four years, there’s a new Santro in town to take the story forward. The first signs of big success are there, with the new model managing to get 32,000 bookings within a month of launch. Now, if Hyundai can hold on to all those bookings that will be an even greater achievement because the new Santro is not exactly a budget hatchback as the original was.
Prices start at Rs 3.89 lakh and top off at a fairly substantial Rs 5.64 lakh (ex-showroom, India). But do note, the prices will see an upward revision after the first 50,000 bookings. In effect, the Santro’s positioning is more i10 than Eon.
Hyundai calls it a ‘modern tall boy’ but shape is quite conventional.
On offer are a petrol-manual, a petrol-AMT (Hyundai’s first-ever AMT) and a CNG-manual. We’re going to put both gearbox versions of the petrol Santro under the scanner to tell you if it delivers on everything that matters.
A high roof defined the original Santro’s design. The new car that’s longer and wider than its predecessor, and whose roof is 30mm lower, is more conventional in shape. Hyundai designers say the look is a new-age reinterpretation of the original tall boy stance, calling it a ‘modern tall boy’ that better addresses the contradictory needs of practicality and style. We’ll talk practicality in the next section of the test, but the styling package, on the whole, sure is polarising.
As has become the norm on new Hyundais, the Santro’s front end is dominated by the signature ‘cascading’ grille that sits low on the bumper. The grille is large as is, but what makes it look larger still is that it extends sideways to encompass the high-set fog lamps. Also unique in its own way is the position of the Hyundai logo on the ‘V’ of the bonnet (flanked by the sharply cut headlights) rather than on the grille. While some find the Santro’s face chic, there are many who think it is overdone and disproportionately wide. Then again, the original Santro’s awkward styling was pretty controversial too.
Oversized grille that wraps around fog lamps looks out of proportion.
There are some interesting, if also less controversial details at the sides. The bodywork is embellished by a boomerang-like detail near the front wheel arches, there’s a neat arc above the rear wheel arches and there’s also a pronounced crease lower down on the doors. These design elements seem a bit overdone on a car so small but they certainly get your attention. Also unique is the kink in the window line at the rear doors. It’s not only a stylistic touch but it serves a practical purpose too by making the glass area bigger and hence enhancing the view out for rear passengers. The flimsy, lift-type door handles tell you where costs have been saved, and even the top-spec trim cars do without alloy wheels. What’s also less than impressive is the Santro’s rear end. The small tail-lights look too basic and it’s only the smartly done bumper that adds some style at the rear.
Low-spec Santros get 13-inch rims. Higher trims get 14 but no alloys.
Under the skin, it’s largely only the 1.1-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine that links the old and new Santros. The new one actually uses the Grand i10’s K1 platform as its basis. Sixty-three percent of the body is made of advanced high-strength steel and high-strength steel that, Hyundai says, is not only relatively rigid and light but also helps refinement. To further keep external sounds to a minimum, there’s insulation on the firewall and floor, and a double-sealing weatherstrip has been used on the doors and body too. Elsewhere, the Santro is fairly standard fare. It uses an electric power steering, the suspension is a combination of front MacPherson struts and a rear twist beam, and braking is via front discs and rear drums with standard ABS and EBD.
You don’t quite walk into the new Santro as you would into the cabin of the original car but ingress and egress are still very convenient. The driving position is a one-size-fits-all affair. There’s no seat-height adjust and the steering position is fixed – your comfort level behind the wheel is a function of your height. Shorter drivers will like the elevated driving position, while taller drivers will find the seat set a touch too high and the steering a bit low. It’s a similar story with the front seats; they work just fine for drivers of average height but larger-framed individuals might find their perches inadequate in shoulder support, and the fixed headrests small. The high-set gear lever does fall easily to hand but the switches for the power windows at its base are out of sight and not conveniently placed. That the buttons are not even backlit makes them harder still to locate in the dark. Again, the power window cluster has been centrally placed in one unit to save costs.
Seat comfort is fine but more adjustability in driving position would help.
The aforementioned ergonomic anomalies aside, the Santro’s cabin does score for look, feel and quality. Note, only Santros in the Dana Green exterior colour (as our test car) get all-black interiors with green detailing on or around the air-con vents, gear lever, front seatbelts, and seats. A premium-looking beige-on-black interior theme is standard with other colours, with champagne gold embellishments jazzing up the cabins on mid-spec and top-spec versions. The larger surfaces are well finished and panel fit is by and large consistent.
Like every other Hyundai, the Santro’s dashboard (with what its designers call an ‘elephant-inspired’ fascia) is well laid out and user-friendly. The infotainment system (read entertainment box) sits high up and in easy view, and is flanked by vertically oriented centre air-con vents that are easy to operate. Even richer in look are the rotary side vents that seem like they belong in a Mercedes-Benz A-class. Other nice bits include the crisp control stalks, the instruments console that features a multi-info display as standard and the good-to-hold steering wheel with its audio and phone buttons. But small compromises have been made here and there to keep costs down. There’s no chrome on the Hyundai logo on the steering, the knobs for the air-con feel a bit rudimentary, and there’s no lock/unlock button.
Glovebox is of a usable size and shelf above it comes handy to keep mobile phones and the like.
On a long journey, your co-passenger will miss the absence of a second cupholder up front. You do get a well-sized glovebox, there’s a well thought out shelf on the passenger’s side of the dash to keep your mobile phone, and each door houses a 1-litre bottleholder too.
At the back, the Santro is surprisingly roomy. There’s enough head- and kneeroom for a six-footer to sit in comfort, and the large windows really do allow a great view of the world outside. Seating three abreast might be a squeeze but the floor is almost flat and even the rear air-con vent isn’t too intrusive. Yes, you read that right. The Santro debuts a rear air-con vent in this segment of hatchbacks, and it does its bit to cool the cabin faster. Some might find the seatback a touch too reclined and the seat cushioning to be on the softer side, but the bigger issue is with the small headrests that simply won’t offer enough protection against whiplash injuries in the event of an impact. And that’s a shame.
235-litre boot can hold a big suitcase but loading lip is quite high.
Behind the rear seat is a 235-litre boot. There’s enough space for a large suitcase and you can fold the rear seat’s backrest to make space for more luggage. The loading lip is high so loading and unloading can be bothersome. What’s also irritating is that there’s no button-operated release on the tailgate; you either use the key or the boot release besides the passenger’s seat. True, these are features that are not common in this segment, but, being a Hyundai, we expected the Santro to have these conveniences.
In times when downsizing is the buzzword, it’s unusual for a mass-market hatchback to be launched with a four-cylinder engine. In fact, the Santro is the only car with a four-pot engine among its peers; all its closest rivals are powered by three-cylinder units. Thing is, the Santro’s 1.1-litre engine is not new and is actually the same unit that powered the Santro Xing and i10. Hyundai did have newer engines from the Kappa family to choose from but they would have worked out to be too expensive. The Santro’s cast iron block and three-valve-per-cylinder engine might not be cutting edge but it has been upgraded and is also future-proof in the sense it can be made to meet BS-VI emission standard when the regulations kick in in 2020. The engine’s 69hp and 99Nm are par for the course for this class but are far from the Tata Tiago 1.2 petrol’s class-leading 85hp and 114Nm.
Name aside, the 1.1-litre engine is the biggest link to the old Santro.
The very first point of note when you start up the Santro is how refined the engine is. There’s little noise from the engine bay at idle and there are no vibrations, the likes of which you’d experience in the Santro’s three-cylinder rivals. The petrol-manual Santro doesn’t race off the line like its shorter-geared predecessor with the same engine did. Performance on the new Santro is measured up to 2,000rpm, at which point the engine ‘opens up’. It’s the mid-range that the Santro feels most comfortable in; there’s enough performance on tap to keep up with the flow of traffic and overtake when need be. It may not feel it but the Santro is among the quicker cars when talking in-gear acceleration. It’s as quick as a Datsun Go from 10-30kph in second, almost at par with the Celerio from 20-40kph in third (the Maruti is faster from 30-50kph in third) and is just shy of the Celerio’s class-best 60-80kph in fourth gear. And, if only for academic interest, the Santro’s 0-100kph time of 14.85sec is second only to the Celerio’s 14.24sec figure.
The Santro is by no means a sporty car and there’s not much to gain by extending the engine to the upper reaches of the rev range. Do so, and you’ll experience the engine’s less happy and noisier side. Likewise, the five-speed manual gearbox isn’t suited to quick shifts and isn’t the smoothest unit from Hyundai either; that it is light and comes allied to a clutch that requires little effort is more pertinent here.
Performance is more than fine for town, and good lowspeed ride quality is a boon.
The Santro automatic that removes the clutch pedal out of the equation entirely is also more than satisfactory. The automated manual transmission has been developed in-house by Hyundai and is based on the manual’s 5-speed gearbox. It’s not perfect but is superior to most other AMT systems out there. There is a pronounced pause between the first and second gears, which is annoying in stop-and-go rush-hour traffic. However, the shifts smoothen out in the higher gears; you get less of that head nod AMTs are notorious for and, in general, the auto shifts are timely. Even Creep mode works well and the transition from off throttle to on throttle is smooth too. There’s no Sport mode but you can use the gear lever to affect manual shifts, and it is quite responsive to manual inputs too. Where the AMT gets caught out is on inclines. There’s significant rollback before the clutch engages and, on really long climbs, the gearbox also seems indecisive of the right ratio to be in. To be fair, these are issues on all budget-car AMT systems.
High-set gear lever falls easy to hand. AMT gets tiptronic-like mode for manual shifts.
A light steering, small turning circle and good all-around visibility make the Santro a friendly car to punt around town in. Ride comfort at city speeds is also a strength. It feels a bit jiggly at times on uneven surfaces, but low-speed bump absorption is good, and what’s really impressive is how quietly the suspension goes about its business.
Even at higher speeds, road and wind noise are well contained by segment standards. The Santro is fine for highway use but, at cruising speeds, it doesn’t quite give you the same confidence as something like a Tata Tiago. Sure, straightline stability is not a cause for complaint but the softly sprung Santro tends to amplify small surface crests and waves taken at speed. With a full load of passengers, you’ll notice how the rear end tends to bob at high speeds, in its own way drawing attention to the small-sized headrests at the back. Brake performance is adequate and our tests cars’ Hankook tyres provided ample grip but you don’t get an absolutely reassuring feel at the helm in panic braking scenarios. Go hard on the brake pedal and there’s a moment of nervousness from the car before it restores its composure while shedding speed.
Lift-type door handles look last-gen and don’t feel premium either.
Steering feel is like the Hyundais of old – which means there’s an inconsistency to the weight – but it’s also something unlikely to play on the mind of the average Santro buyer. Just wish the steering had a stronger self-centering action.
Given that the petrol Santros’ ARAI-tested fuel economy figures of (20.3kpl for both manual and auto) are lower than rivals’, we weren’t expecting them to top the efficiency charts either. And they don’t. Still, the Santros are quite efficient. The petrol-manual Santro delivered 12.69kpl in town and 19.12kpl out on the highway. The AMT couldn’t quite match the manual’s figures as claimed but wasn’t too far behind either, returning 11kpl and 18.6kpl in our city and highway test loops, respectively. Buyers looking for lowest running costs would do well to consider the CNG version of the Santro that has an ARAI-tested figure of 30.48km per kilogramme of CNG.
Rear styling conventional, small tail-lamps don’t do much for the look.
Base trim Santros don’t get an audio system, Magna-spec AMTs get a simple Bluetooth unit but it’s the Sportz and Asta cars that go the whole hog with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It’s a very impressive system in touch response, layout and user friendliness. There’s no onboard satellite navigation but you can use maps via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay that it comes bundled with. Sound quality is fair.
The new Santro has been launched in five trims but only the petrol-manual car is available in all five options. The petrol AMT and CNG models can only be had in mid-spec Magna and Sportz trims.
Window switches sit near gear lever. Lack of backlighting makes them hard to locate in the dark.
The entry D-lite trim (Rs 3.89 lakh) is absolutely barebones and includes few features beyond its electric power steering, multi-info display, and folding rear seat. Era trim (Rs 4.24 lakh) cars add in body-coloured bumpers, air-conditioning, rear air-con vents, front power windows and a 12V power socket. Central locking, rear power windows, and a day/night rear-view mirror are some of the features on the mid-spec Magna (Rs 4.57-5.23 lakh) cars. However, not all Magnas are the same, with only the AMT version getting a Bluetooth audio system and steering audio and telephone buttons. A 7.0-inch touchscreen is the talking point on the well-specced Sportz trim (Rs 4.99-5.64 lakh) that also gets larger 14-inch wheels with full wheel covers, fog lamps, electrically adjustable mirrors, remote locking, and a rear defogger. A rear wash/wipe is exclusive to the fully loaded Asta (Rs 5.45 lakh) and it’s also the only one with a passenger side airbag, rear parking sensors, a reverse camera, speed-sensing auto door lock, impact-sensing auto door unlock and front seatbelts with a pre-tensioner and load limiter. Reverse sensors will be rolled out across the rest of the range to meet new norms in 2019 but it’s disappointing that lower versions don’t go above the minimum requirement of a driver’s side airbag.
Rotary air-con vents at the sides are well-finished and look like they belong in a Mercedes A-class.
Let’s first get this out of the way. Good as the new Santro is, it’s not as revolutionary a product as the original was back in 1998. Sure, the new car is built for a different time and even a different buyer but it conforms to what’s expected in the class rather than changing the game.
Boomerang-like detail is a unique touch at the sides.
But such a comparison is for an automotive market observer. A car buyer will have a lot to like in the new Santro. It’s easy-to-drive, comfortable, refined and even feels relatively premium. Even the AMT version, that’s garnered 30 percent of bookings so far, works well as a city car. And Hyundai has packed in quite a few features too; you do pay considerably for the goodies on higher-spec models, though. We’d have liked to see more safety features as standard and even things like alloy wheels and more adjustment for the seat and steering are missed. Pricing frankly isn’t as aggressive as we would have liked, especially the higher variants which can get expensive. However, factor in the standard three-year/1,00,000km warranty, three-year roadside assistance programme and the promise of low maintenance costs, and the Santro’s price tag becomes a little easier to justify.
Whether the new Santro will live up to its tag line of ‘India’s favourite family car’ or not, remains to be seen, but it sure has most of the ingredients in place.
1 / 0 Rating 8 8 2019 Mahindra Alturas G4 review, road test 1st Feb 2019 8:00 am
An all-new generation of SsangYong’s flagship SUV, renamed and rebadged for India. But will India accept a Rs 30 lakh Mahindra?
Make : Mahindra
Model : Alturas G4
Mahindra broke the Rs 10 lakh price ceiling with the Scorpio, the Rs 20 lakh ceiling with the XUV500, and now, its research indicates that Indian car buyers are willing to pay Rs 30 lakh for a luxury SUV wearing a Mahindra badge. It takes a strong product to break these psychological price barriers and perceptions, and to breach the Rs 30 lakh mark and get the job done, the carmaker borrowed the second-generation G4 Rexton from its Korean subsidiary, SsangYong, and renamed it the Alturas G4. ‘Alturas’ was the name given because it connotes height, so can Mahindra’s new flagship take the brand to new heights?
To make a great first impression, Mahindra has loaded the Alturas G4 to the brim with premium kit and launched it at aggressive price tags of Rs 26.95 lakh (4×2 AT) and Rs 29.95 lakh (4×4 AT), making the latter a whole Rs 3 lakh cheaper than the top variants of its two core rivals – the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour. So we put it through an exhaustive test to find out if pricing is the only aspect it’s got going in its favour or if it is truly a well-rounded, premium SUV capable of grabbing a sizable share in the segment.
The Alturas G4 is based on an all-new, body-on-frame chassis that uses a higher percentage of high strength steel, making it more rigid and also lighter than the older version. In fact, the Alturas G4 tips the scales at 2,050kg (4×2 AT) and 2,150kg (4×4 AT), making it as heavy as the Fortuner but lighter than the Ford Endeavour 3.2L by 144kg.
HID light spread is wide, but throw is limited. High beams are halogens.
When it comes to the all-important road presence, the Alturas G4 delivers it without any hesitation – this is a car that commands attention wherever it goes, thanks to its gargantuan dimensions (4.8m length, 1.8m height and 1.9m width). The only real change between the Alturas and the Rexton is at the front, where in place of a SsangYong grille there’s a Mahindra grille, and the fog lamps have been made a lot sleeker. The sides have some interesting design elements like the bold creases above the wheel arches and a prominent crease running across the doors. From the side, the Alturas looks really tall and dwarfs the large 18-inch wheels which appear a size too small in their chunky wheel wells. Moving to the rear, the Alturas looks quite bulky and the styling is a bit fussy. The Alturas gets LED daytime running lights (DRLs), which is standard these days, but what’s unique is that the LEDs in the tail-lamps too stay illuminated in the day. What sticks out like a sore thumb, however, is the ‘Alturas G4’ badge on the tailgate; it’s poorly executed and looks like some aftermarket stick-on.
In auto mode, LED tail-lamps work as DRLs and remain on at all times.
Walk up to the car with the key in your pocket and the outside mirrors unfold automatically – a cool touch. Getting inside the cabin requires you to take a huge step; after all, the lowest point of the vehicle is 244mm (unladen) and one needs to clear a few more inches of the high-set floor. Our test car was fitted with a side-step (available as an aftermarket accessory), which made ingress a bit easier. Most owners will have to opt for this accessory for the sake of elderly folk or children in their family. At the front, the electric driver’s seat automatically slides all the way back, like on some Lexus models in India, to make entry and exit convenient.
Sunroof feels too small on this large SUV. Sunshade is manual too.
What impressed us the most is the superbly appointed cabin and its genuine luxury feel. The dash is neatly laid out and the clever use of leather, piano black and some metallic bits is very tasteful. The tan and black theme on the 4×4 variant, the quilting on the dash fascia, the metallic highlights on the buttons and the overall touch and feel of the materials used is exemplary, almost from a class above. The steering’s shape is rather unconventional; it gets thinner in the 9-3 position and thicker in the 12-6 position.
3 memory settings for driver’s seat and outside mirrors.
The seats are draped in fine Nappa leather and are extremely comfy – the cushioning is right, support is great, and the front pair even get a very useful seat-cooling feature. And because these are high-set seats, the driving position is almost throne-like, with the driver getting a commanding view of the road ahead, towering above all other cars on the road. However, driving through narrow, crowded lanes will require special attention as the SUV’s high bonnet and rounded edges could obstruct the view. It’s at such times that the front parking sensors come in handy and so does the 360-degree camera.
Independent blower controls are located in third row.
The Alturas G4 has the longest wheelbase in its segment, but cabin space, at least visually, doesn’t appear to be as generous because of the darker colours used. What further robs that sense of space is that, unlike the Ford Endeavour, which gets a massive panoramic sunroof that floods the cabin with light, the Alturas G4 gets a much smaller window. Pull out the measuring tape and the Alturas’ middle row scores well. Leg-, head-and knee room are ample and the seat is very comfortable in terms of cushioning and support. Unlike in the Endeavour, the seats don’t slide fore-aft, but they do recline to very comfortable angles. The kerbside seat has the 60 percent split, so passengers who sit diagonal to the driver will appreciate how the position of the armrest changes along with the backrest angle.
W (Winter mode) prevents wheelspin; useful in low-traction conditions.
A surprising omission on such a premium car is that the middle passenger gets only a two-point lap belt and not a three-point restraint. Also, strangely, the middle row makes do with just air-con vents whereas the third row gets a dedicated blower with an independent control unit.
Tasteful mix of wood, quilted leather and metallic bits. Ambient lights add a premium touch at night.
Unfortunately, the third row hasn’t been given the same priority and will prove to be uncomfortable for anyone who has to spend long hours there. Firstly, to get into the third row, the middle row seats need to be folded and then tumbled – it’s a two-step process. The rearmost seat itself is placed almost on the floor, which means adults will be sitting in a knees-up position. There’s insufficient legroom all round and what makes matters worse is the extremely tiny quarter glass that cuts your view out. The nicely angled backrest, however, does add a degree of comfort.
Switching from 2WD to 4WD as simple as twisting a knob. Gets low ratio for trickier terrain.
This new-gen Alturas G4 gets an all-new D22DTR 2.2-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine, making 181hp and 420Nm of torque. Power is transmitted to either the rear wheels or all four wheels through a 7-speed automatic transmission (torque converter), sourced from Mercedes-Benz.
Start this motor and it settles into a rather silent, petrol-like idle. And it’s not just the engine that’s really refined, the sound insulation overall is very good, so passengers are cut off from outside noise too. On the highway, the Alturas G4 is so silent, and so well insulated that it masks the real speed you are cruising at. It’s only when this engine is spun beyond 2,500rpm that it becomes vocal but the diesel drone never gets too harsh or intrusive.
You’re always aware of road conditions. The ride remains busy with constant body movements.
Performance is again surprisingly good and the Alturas whisks you to serious speeds in a fuss-free manner. Compare it with the Fortuner or Endeavour and you’ll swear that they respond far better initially, thanks to their low-end grunt. The Alturas G4, however, responds and accelerates just as quickly, but because power delivery is very linear, it doesn’t give you the same ‘pinned to the seat’ sensation. Put your foot down and the engine is quick to respond and there’s always power available on tap. The powerband lasts from roughly 1,700-3,000rpm and the engine isn’t a particularly free-revving unit and it maxes out at 4,100rpm before shifting to the next gear. The 7-speed Mercedes automatic transmission works nicely in sync with this motor and masks all traces of turbo lag. It isn’t quick to respond and can feel lazy, but, for the most part, it does the job rather well. There isn’t a Sport mode and you don’t get paddleshifters. It offers a Tiptronic mode that can be activated via the small buttons on the gear selector, which isn’t the most convenient of locations.
Flat-out performance is impressive, with the Alturas G4 taking 11.24sec to reach 100kph, identical to the Endeavour 3.2, but keep your foot pinned to the floor and the Alturas hits 160kph almost a second sooner. Performance in-gears from 20-80kph and 40-100kph in kickdown are 6.41sec and 8.62sec, respectively – figures that are near identical to the Endeavour 3.2.
The Alturas G4 is a hardy, body-on-frame SUV, and with a raised ride height for India and a generous 244mm (unladen) ground clearance, this SUV isn’t shy about taking the broken path. Ride quality, however, isn’t its forte and there’s always some body movement felt on less-than-perfect roads. The larger bumps are taken well, but road shocks aren’t as well damped as in the Ford Endeavour or even the Toyota Fortuner. Over expansion joints, it tends to pitch a bit more than usual.
Space is huge, seat is nicely contoured and backrest reclines to comfy angles.
On a winding section of road, the Alturas’ tyres start squealing in protest well before the suspension (or driver) is anywhere near their limit. Body roll for such a tall car is quite nicely contained but you can’t hustle this gargantuan SUV around bends and you have to treat it with respect. The steering has a disconnected feel and doesn’t give much road feedback, except for some unwanted kickback felt over mid-corner bumps. It also doesn’t offer the same directness or feedback as the Ford’s unit, but the good thing is that it feels light at low speeds and the relatively tight 5.5m turning radius is very handy when parking.
In our testing cycle, the Mahindra SUV returned 8.50kpl in the city and a respectable 12kpl on the highway, significantly better than the Endeavour 3.2’s 7kpl and 10.30kpl, respectively. What gave the Mahindra an advantage over the Ford is its lighter kerb weight and the additional 7th gear, which allows it to cruise at lower revs, crucial for fuel efficiency on a highway.
360-degree camera comes in handy on off-road trails and while parking in tight spaces.
The 8.0-inch touchscreen has a nice display, but the system is a bit slow to respond. The interface isn’t very user-friendly, but the presence of physical shortcut buttons below the screen helps. While satellite navigation is missing, maps can be used via either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. The international version gets a 10-speaker Infinity audio setup, which didn’t make it to the Indian version. We’re happy to report though, that in terms of sound quality, the six-speaker setup is very good with a crisp and clear sound output.
Mahindra has kept it simple with just two variants – a 4×2 AT and 4×4 AT. Both variants get features including Nappa leather seats, LED DRLs, projector headlamps, LED tail-lamps, 18-inch alloys, ventilated front seats, dual-zone climate control, third-row air-con blower, tyre pressure monitor, cruise control, touchscreen, ESP, hill-start assist and hill-descent control. Our pick of the range, however, is the 4×4 AT variant. Apart from the four-wheel-drive hardware, the additional Rs 3 lakh gets you kit like a 360-degree camera, nine airbags, driver-side seat memory, a 7.0-inch coloured instrument cluster, Xenon headlamps, LED fog lamps, sunroof, ambient lighting, auto headlamps and rain-sensing wipers.
Segment-first cooled front seats. However, even in its highest setting these aren’t very effective.
The Mahindra Alturas G4 is an impressive SUV that punches above its weight. It may not have the badge value of its rivals but as a product, it offers far more. Firstly, its towering dimensions and tough-looking design give owners the street cred they want. Then, the interiors take things several notches above its rivals; the first and middle row are really comfy and it gets a laundry list of features like cooled seats, a 360-degree camera, nine airbags, many of which are segment-best. Also hugely impressive is the best-in-class level of refinement, and when it comes to performance, the Alturas is no slouch. Where the SUV does fall behind is dynamics; it doesn’t feel as much of a driver’s car as the Ford Endeavour and it can’t match the Fortuner for off-road prowess.
However, as a car to live with every day, it does a great job. It’s a good highway cruiser and in town, too, it’s not as intimidating to drive as the Endeavour or the Fortuner, to which the Alturas is a credible alternative priced at Rs 26.95-29.95 lakh (ex-showroom, India). The Alturas is fantastic value for money and a good way of keeping Mahindra loyalists within the brand.
1 / 0 Rating 9 9 2019 Maruti Suzuki Ertiga review, road test 27th Feb 2019 6:00 am
This second generation is also a versatile and a value-for-money package. But how much better is it than the previous Ertiga?
Make : Maruti Suzuki
Model : Ertiga
We Like Plush ride Seat comfort and space Easy to drive Value for money We Don't Like Noisy diesel engine Some missing equipment Petrol AT's fuel efficiency
For its sheer versatility and value for money, the first-gen Maruti Suzuki Ertiga set off to a flying start when it launched in 2012. Over the years, however, its sales witnessed a few troughs due to the shift in buyer preferences towards other segments like compact sedans, premium hatchbacks and SUVs. Despite that, this seven-seater from Maruti soldiered along with steady sales (a major contributor being the taxi market), and even towards the end of its life cycle it averaged over 3,500 units per month, which is quite respectable. But now, there’s an all-new, second-generation Ertiga, and if initial impressions are anything to go by, this one is far more desirable and a much better package than the one it replaces.
Gets projector halogens but no LED headlamps or DRLs.
Built on an all-new platform, the second-gen Ertiga is larger in every dimension, and, as a result, is more spacious than before. It comes with two engine options – an all-new 105hp, 1,462cc petrol, and the tried and tested 90hp, 1,248cc Fiat-sourced diesel. Both engines are mated to 5-speed manual transmissions, with the petrol also getting a 4-speed automatic in the form of a traditional torque converter. A petrol-CNG and an all-new in-house developed 95hp, 1,498cc diesel engine are likely to join the range soon.
15-inch multi-spoke alloys and 185/65 tyres same size as before.
The petrol Ertiga’s pricing is very aggressive at Rs 7.44-9.50 lakh for the manual and Rs 9.18-9.95 lakh for the automatic. And at this price point in the rather uncrowded MPV market, it doesn’t have any direct competitor. At Rs 8.84-10.90 lakh, the diesel-manual is a bit pricey, especially considering the Rs 1.40 lakh premium it commands over the petrol but it still undercuts its core rivals – Mahindra Marazzo (Rs 9.99-14.38 lakh) and Renault Lodgy (Rs 8.63-12.12 lakh) by a significant margin. So it is still a value-for-money proposition, but what’s improved from the first-gen model? We put it through our thorough test to find out.
Large glass area makes the third row bright and airy. Side armrests add to the comfort.
This second-generation Ertiga is based on the same Heartect architecture as the new Swift, the Baleno, Dzire, Ignis and the new WagonR. Despite being lighter in weight, its structure is stronger than before to meet the tougher crash norms that come into effect this October. It also boasts better torsional rigidity, which has a positive impact on refinement and dynamics. And even though this car has grown significantly larger than its predecessor (by 130mm in length, 40mm in width, and 5mm in height), the overall kerb weight has gone down by 20kg across variants. At 2,740mm, its wheelbase remains identical to the older car, while the front and rear track have increased by 30mm.
Volvo-like rear tail-lights look upmarket and stand out. The rear styling bears an uncanny resemblance to the Ciaz.
While the outgoing car appeared like an elongated Swift with a rather bland, van-like side-profile, the new one looks far more handsome and desirable. Its headlamps bear an uncanny resemblance to the Toyota Innova’s, but in spite of that, the Ertiga has a distinct identity of its own. The chrome-studded grille looks tasteful and makes a great first impression, while the bonnet is more sculpted and has gained some muscle with sharper lines. The side profile too boasts a more prominent waistline but the wheel arches aren’t as pronounced as before and the 15-inch multi-spoke wheels look a bit ordinary. Its side profile also features a design element that’s now common on several modern Marutis, where the window line merges with the rear windscreen, resulting in a floating roof-like impression. The rear of the Ertiga is rather interesting, with ‘L-shaped’ tail-lamps reminiscent of the Volvo XC60. And the overall design of the concave tailgate, the chrome applique and the horizontal tail-lamp sections, appear identical to that of the Ciaz.
There are 12V sockets in each row; should have had USB slots too.
The older Ertiga’s interiors were functional and rather drab, but the new one takes a huge leap forward in terms of design and quality. There are Audi-like air vents running the breadth of the dashboard, along with the artificial wood trim – both of which feel like imitations – but these somehow seem to up the cabin’s upmarket quotient. Even the free-standing touchscreen and the flat-bottom steering blend in nicely with the other design elements. Plastics in the cabin are hard but quality for the most part is a big step up. A lot of switchgear is shared with modern Marutis and they feel nice, but many bits like the power window switches, cabin lamp and the flimsy bonnet opener have been carried forward from decade-old models.
Large front seats are extremely comfortable. Seat cushioning is spot on.
The new Ertiga is very user-friendly when it comes to ingress-egress, with a tall stance and wide-opening doors, so passengers can simply walk into the car, without the need to crouch or climb in. The front seats are broad, supportive and the cushioning is spot on – full marks to Maruti when it comes to seat comfort. Even the seating position is very car-like, albeit a tall car, so drivers get a good view of the road ahead due to the high seating position and large expanses of glass all around. Storage areas are aplenty, and the air vents in the front cupholders are unique – these channel cool air from the air con directly to the beverages placed here. However, some areas like the glovebox and the armrest console are a bit too small.
Middle row reclines and slides. Massive windows flood the cabin with light.
Those seated in the middle can enjoy the view outside via the massive windows, which also flood the cabin with light. However, a sun-blind (like in the Marazzo) would have been a nice addition. The seat itself is very comfortable and supportive, and room here is huge with the seat slid all the way back. Headroom here isn’t a concern either and the seat even reclines to a very comfortable angle in a 40:60 ratio. The occasional third passenger here will be quite comfortable now thanks to an almost flat floor and a bit more shoulder room, which is a result of the car’s wider dimensions. To keep the passengers seated here cool, there’s a roof-mounted blower; and there’s also a 12V power socket in each row, however there should have been the more modern USB charging slots.
Third row space limited but surprisingly comfortable for an MPV of this size.
Getting into the third row isn’t as easy as in the other two rows, as the (kerb-side) middle-row seat slides ahead with the tug of a lever but doesn’t tumble forward, freeing up just enough room to duck-walk your way into this space. What’s surprising is that room here is adequate, much more than the car’s exterior dimensions suggest. The large windows and beige all around further accentuate its airiness. And then, the seats, although a bit low-set, are comfy, with a good amount of head and shoulder room on offer for two adults. Kneeroom too, is adequate, and the seat even reclines to a comfy angle; so adults can sit here on long drives without losing circulation in their legs. However, in the reclined position, their heads will brush against the roof. Conveniences for the last row include a large side armrest, bottle holders and one charging socket. At 209 litres, the boot is larger and more practical now, and it also gets a nifty storage area beneath the boot floor that can easily swallow a few laptop bags. Folding the last row gets you 550 litres, and folding the last two rows gives you 803 litres of cargo volume.
Only the kerb-side middle row seats tilt and slide forward with one touch, for access to the third row.
The new petrol engine is very similar in character to the older 1,373cc unit that it replaces. Throttle responses are sharp, and the gear ratios are so well judged that the motor builds speed cleanly from lower down the rev range. The ease with which the Ertiga petrol pulls on an incline from 20kph in third gear with a full load of passengers is quite impressive. As long as you aren’t in a hurry, the motor does the job smoothly and silently. Dab the accelerator by 10 or 20 percent, or even under high load, an animation on the MID screen shows the battery providing some additional power to the petrol engine – this is done to improve its responsiveness. While this electric boost from the secondary Lithium-ion battery isn’t pronounced, a crisper throttle response surely is. Performance in the mid-range is flat and lacklustre, although beyond 4,000rpm, there’s a small bump in performance that remains strong until the redline. With the needle swinging to the far side of the tachometer, the engine is quite vocal, which is a contrast to its otherwise silent and refined character. The added 13hp and 8Nm of torque result in superior acceleration timings. 0-100kph is dispatched 1.46sec quicker than the older 1.4-litre petrol, and even within gears, the new 1.5-litre is quicker from 20-80kph and 40-100kph in third and fourth gear by 1.14sec and 1sec, respectively.
Battery provides a shot of electric power to assist engine under load.
The petrol-automatic uses a 4-speed torque converter, with the first three gears being driving gears and the fourth being an overdrive gear. It is very smooth, the shift-logic is quite sorted and, for the most part, it does the job just fine. It’ll also shift to the highest gear at the earliest to aid fuel economy. Be gentle on the accelerator and it won’t downshift easily, and will try and build speed in the existing gear. Ask for more power though, and it’ll drop down a gear (or two) to get a move on, but with an increase in revs (from as early as 3,000rpm), the engine gets rather louder and louder as you pile on the revs. While driving in a hurry, there’s an ‘overdrive off’ function that ensures the gearbox will remain only in the first three gears, thus keeping the engine on the boil. There’s no manual mode but there’s a Low mode that locks the lowest possible gear, which is useful for uphill sections of road and/or to control the engine speed while going downhill, and also gives drivers the option to remain in second gear. Also, because the gear lever gate is straight, it’s very easy to slot into second gear or even ‘L’ rather than ‘D’ accidentally (especially while parking), and this requires some attention, while starting off from a standstill.
Engine start-stop system is very seamless. One of the best around.
The Fiat-sourced 1.3-litre diesel engine remains unchanged, on paper at least. Get behind the wheel, however, and it feels a bit easier to drive and lighter on its feet compared to before. Turbo lag below 2,000rpm isn’t as significant and even when the boost comes in, it does so in a more linear manner. The meat of the powerband remains between 2,000 and 3,500 rpm, although the older car felt stronger until 4,000rpm before the power began to taper. The diesel is still an able highway cruiser, and as long as you’re driving within the powerband, overtaking feels effortless. Fall below 2,000rpm though and it still warrants a downshift to make rapid progress or make a quick overtake, and bigger speed-breakers still need to be taken in first gear only. While acceleration timings remain near-identical to the outgoing car, 40-100kph in fourth is now a significant 1.3sec slower, although it’s interesting to note that the fourth gear ratio is identical to the older car. What really let’s this motor down, however, is the hoarse engine note at idle. The engine clatter smoothens out once on the move, so when driving around at city or cruising speeds it feels fine, spin it harder, though, and the gravelly note gets louder and sounds unrefined as the revs build.
The petrol’s clutch is lighter than the diesel’s and the 5-speed manual transmission mated to both the engines is slick-shifting with short and precise throws.
One of the stand-out features of the new Ertiga is its ride quality. It’s so good and well behaved, it smoothens out potholes and broken roads like a much more expensive car. There’s no rocking or side-by-side motion over broken patches either. At high speeds, it rides flat with some vertical movement from the rear, but it’s never excessive. With a full load of passengers, however, there’s noticeably more pitching, and the softer rear suspension takes a couple of rebounds before regaining composure when going over humps or wavy surfaces.
Steering is much nicer than other Marutis; it is well weighted, direct and has a good feel.
The new Ertiga’s wider track and tauter chassis give it a lot more composure and poise while taking corners. Push it hard and even though body roll is present, it’s not more that a tall hatchback. It turns into corners sharply and while it is not as nimble as a Swift in the way it changes direction, it still is a confident handler. Further adding to driver confidence is its steering, which is unlike any Maruti based on the same Heartect platform – it has a nice heft to it, it feels connected to the road and returns to the centre without any effort. The Ertiga’s steering is the best yet on a new Maruti and that’s saying a lot when you consider it’s an MPV!
The Ertiga petrol-manual’s auto start-stop feature works so quickly and so seamlessly that, on cooler days especially, one wouldn’t mind extracting the benefits of this feature (saving fuel while stationary) by leaving it on. In the city, this motor returned merely 9.5kpl, which is 0.7kpl lesser than the 1.4-litre unit. On the highway, however, it managed a healthy 16.8kpl, an improvement of 4kpl, due to a taller fifth gear.
Lithium-ion battery is neatly tucked beneath the front passenger seat.
With a city efficiency of merely 7kpl, the petrol-automatic isn’t for the fuel efficiency-conscious. But having a very tall fourth gear helps while cruising on the highway where it returned a respectable 15kpl; still far from its claimed 18.69kpl though.
Bonnet opener is crude and tends to break off from its mounting point.
The diesel’s gear ratios remain identical to the outgoing car, however, some engine tweaks have resulted in 15.2kpl in the city and 19.4kpl on the highway, an improvement of 0.4kpl and 2.6kpl, respectively.
The 7.0-inch SmartPlay infotainment system is equipped with SD card-based navigation, Mirrorlink, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This system is easy to use, and the display is crisp with sharp contrasts. The system’s software lags at times and its slow responses can get annoying while on the move. While the menu buttons on the sides are touch-operated too, the volume rocker isn’t the most convenient to use. Voice commands are available, and are quite accurate most of the time. Sound quality from the 6-speaker setup (four speakers and two front tweeters) is quite decent. The camera engages with a small delay, when the car’s put in reverse.
V and Z-spec variants get a basic audio system with touch-enabled controls; isn’t very intuitive.
Maruti’s covered all the essentials with the Ertiga. So it gets ABS with EBD, dual airbags, speed-sensing door locks, child seat mounts (middle row), and rear parking sensors right from the base variant, and even projector headlamps, 50:50 split recline third row and a 60:40 split middle row, power windows and central locking are standard across the range. As you go higher up, it gets kit like electric-folding mirrors, 15-inch alloys, steering-mounted controls, rear wiper and washer and automatic climate control, among others. The top spec gets a touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a reversing camera. The petrol-automatic isn’t available in the top-spec, but what it gets is ESP and hill-hold assist.
Beverage placed in this area stays cool due to the vents which direct cold air from the air con.
The Ertiga could have done with some more kit like cruise control, LED DRLs, larger wheels and wider tyres, rain-sensing wipers and rear sun-blinds, all of which its direct competitor, the Marazzo, gets. However, factor in its aggressive price tag and Maruti can be excused for the missing kit.
Tiny armrest storage can’t even accommodate a regular-sized wallet.
Maruti has nailed it with the new Ertiga’s clever packaging. Despite being a seven-seater, it is still compact in dimensions, and its light controls and good all-round visibility make it very user-friendly and easy to drive. The interiors are more spacious and feel plusher, and the well-cushioned seats take cabin comfort up a few notches. What’s more is that the larger cabin and the backrest recline function has made the third row far more usable now. The new petrol engine is smooth, refined and performance is adequate, and paired to the manual, it’s our pick from the range; the automatic is heavy sipper in the city, while the 1.3-litre diesel, although easier to drive (than before) and very efficient, feels a bit crude. The Ertiga does miss some features but its pricing is so aggressive, you just can’t argue with its value proposition. At the end of the day, this isn’t an exciting car that’ll tug at your heartstrings, but it is one that’s very practical and delivers all that’s expected of it and rather competently. So when it comes to fitness for purpose, the Ertiga passes with flying colours, and it’s for this very reason it was our Car of the Year 2019.
1 / 0 Rating 8 8 2019 Mahindra XUV300 review, road test 28th Mar 2019 6:01 am
Jointly developed by Mahindra and SsangYong, this Brezza-rivaling sub-four-metre SUV is high on appeal and features.
Make : Mahindra
Model : XUV300
We Like Refined engines Equipment and safety Easy to drive We Don't Like Small boot No automatic option Pricey
Mahindra is on a product roll and has transformed its portfolio by launching three all-new cars in a span of just six months. We’ve extensively reviewed two of them – the Marazzo and Alturas G4, and opine that they are modern, refined, feel upmarket, and competent enough to drive the brand into a promising new direction. The third and the latest addition is a Brezza-rivalling, sub-four-metre SUV that’s been badged ‘XUV300’, which, incidentally, and for once, follows a logical naming sequence as it sits below the XUV500. While the bigger XUV was a game-changing SUV back in the days, the new 300 enters a rapidly growing segment that’s caught the fancy of buyers. This car may be last to the party and may not be exactly revolutionary, but it has a lot to offer, including segment-best equipment and safety kit.
High ground clearance and a rugged body cladding for that very desirable SUV look.
The XUV300 gets a set of locally developed petrol and diesel engines, which get only manual transmissions for now. Mahindra is expected to launch an AMT auto in a few months. The compact SUVis based on the SsangYong Tivoli’s X100 architecture and that saved Mahindra the high cost of developing an all-new platform. And to drive costs down further, 85-90 percent of the XUV300 has been localised. Still, priced from Rs 7.90-11.49 lakh for the petrol and Rs 8.49-11.99 lakh for the diesel – and an additional Rs 15,000 for the dual-tone colour scheme – the XUV300 is the priciest compact SUV when compared to the Brezza, Nexon and EcoSport.
Neck restraints and three-point seatbelts for all passengers. Nice.
Mahindra took the Tivoli as a base and then heavily re-engineered it to develop the XUV300. Some of the ‘hard points’ like the front cowl, A-pillars and the overall chassis are the same, while a lot of the body panels are new. Most of the engineering work went into trimming the baby XUV’s length to 3,995mm (the Tivoli stands at 4,195mm) to avail the considerable tax savings sub-four-metre-long cars enjoy. Shaving those crucial 200mm has truncated the rear quite a bit and it looks as if the car has been reversed into a wall. Apart from this bit of design imbalance at the rear, the XUV300 is quite striking to look at.
Throw from the projector headlamp is average. DRLs grab attention.
Mahindra has styled the XUV300 to cater to the taste of Indian buyers and to give it that much-desired ‘SUV-look’, it gets body cladding all around, and the front and rear bumpers get fake silver bash plates. In fact, the entire suspension has been raised for India, so it doesn’t appear like a dressed-up hatchback. The chrome-studded front grille looks like a miniature version of the XUV500’s, and so does the flat, concave bonnet that does well to give it an imposing stance. There are some interesting elements inspired by a ‘cheetah’(in Mahindra-speak) – like the tear duct-like DRLs and the bold haunches on the sides. The attractive 17-inch diamond-cut alloys, and the two-tone paint combination with the floating roof design, add to its youthful persona, and the large LED tail-lamps do well to spruce up the rear.
LED tail-lamps look attractive and are standard across the range.
This compact SUV’s body comprises 68 percent high-tensile steel, which adds rigidity to the structure. However, lightweight it is not – the XUV300 tips the scales at 1,360-1,405kg, making it significantly heavier than all its competitors, and even the larger Hyundai Creta. The XUV is the widest in its segment; it’s even wider than the Creta and has the longer wheelbase too.
Console looks inspired by a ’90s mobile phone, and the buttons are fiddly to use on the go.
While the exteriors are youthful, the interiors appear to be more mature. The black and light beige colour theme with tasteful silver accents accentuates the premium ‘look’ of the cabin and the overall design is rather pleasing, save for the climate control section that looks dated and has slim buttons that are fiddly to use on the go. Even the twin-ring instruments aren’t very easy on the eyes. And yes, like the Brezza, the circles within the dials change colour but the outer ring strangely remains red. The switchgear exudes quality and has a nice, tactile feel. Although there aren’t any soft-touch plastics, the textured plastic on the dash feels quite upmarket. Another positive here is the front seats; they offer good support and even those with wider frames will be very comfy, as the cushioning is spot on. Drivers enjoy a commanding view of the road, and with the bonnet being visible from behind the wheel, it gives that ‘proper SUV experience’. Not all ergonomics are sorted, though. The clutch travel is unusually long, and the gear lever is a bit too tall, with long throws, and there’s no dead pedal either.
Cushioning at the front is spot on. Seats are very comfy and supportive.
Also, the rubberised storage area in front of the gear lever isn’t large enough to hold a smartphone, and you’d end up placing it in the two small cupholders beside the handbrake. The armrest console, on the other hand, is large, and can even swallow a small laptop or tablet. The door pockets are large enough to hold bottles and other things. Oddly, the open shelf above the glovebox gets a rubberised wall instead of an anti-slip base, so loose objects placed here will slide around.
The base of the shelf isn’t rubberised, but the wall is; so items placed here will slide around.
The XUV300’s cabin feels spacious, with the beige interiors adding to the ambience. Knee-and headroom are ample, and because the backseat is as wide as the Creta’s, three adults can sit here without their shoulders overlapping. Also, impressive is that all three passengers get neck restraints and three-point seatbelts. It, however, isn’t all perfect – the backseat is placed a bit low, thigh support is less, and lower back support feels excessive. For an otherwise well-equipped car, it misses out rear air con vents and USB charging slots too. Storage areas at the rear include seatback straps to hold magazines, and door pockets and cupholders in the armrest. The boot is shallow, and its 257-litre capacity is much lesser than its rivals; even the loading lip is high, making it that much more difficult to load heavier items.
Space is adequate, but seat is placed a bit low; lumbar support is excessive.
Internationally, the Tivoli is available with a set of 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines. In India, however, the XUV300 gets a 1.2-litre turbo-petrol and a 1.5-litre diesel engine, both of which are developed and tuned in-house by Mahindra. The 1,197cc, three-cylinder, all-aluminium petrol unit is the same one that made its debut on the KUV100, but it has been heavily re-engineered here. It also gets a waste-gate turbocharger for stronger performance, so power and torque have been bumped up to 110hp and 200Nm, respectively. Right from the get-go, this engine feels very refined, with zero vibrations, and it remains silent all throughout, with just a faint thrum at higher revs. What’s nice is that it is very driveable, and even before the turbo starts singing, performance is adequate; so it’ll pull away from a speed-breaker with ease in second gear. At crawling speeds though, the petrol demands conscious modulation of the accelerator and clutch for a smooth drive. Spin it quicker and there’s a strong surge in performance at 2,200rpm. Few might like this spike, as it delivers that ‘feeling of power’, but as a family car, this punch feels a bit too spikey. The engine feels strong until 4,200rpm and the meaty mid-range makes driving on the highway effortless. It revs to a modest 6,000rpm, but power tapers off sharply in the last 1,800rpm and progress gets slow. Engine calibration isn’t completely sorted because when you lift off the throttle, the engine continues to accelerate for a split second, which can catch you unaware.
Petrol engine is same as KUV, but is heavily reworked, and gets a turbo.
The diesel is the same 1,497cc, four-cylinder unit that also powers the Marazzo, but in the XUV300, it gets an e-VGT (electronic variable geometry turbocharger) and it makes 117hp – 6hp lesser than the heavier Marazzo – but max torque is still 300Nm from 1,500-2,500rpm (the torque in the Marazzo is spread from 1,750-2,500rpm). The first four gear ratios are identical to the Marazzo’s, but the fifth and sixth are a bit taller for better efficiency. Being nearly 250kg lighter than the Marazzo and having the same torque, the XUV300 diesel feels a lot more responsive and stronger. This engine is very driveable in the city as it pulls cleanly from idle. Also, there’s no problem shifting up earlier, as there’s sufficient pulling power. The meat of the powerband is between 2,000 and 3,500rpm, where performance is the strongest. Spin the engine beyond 3,800rpm and it runs out of breath, and because the top-end performance is weak, you have to shift up quickly – especially while overtaking fast-moving traffic – to stay in the powerband.
Cruise control isn’t the easiest to use; it demands some learning.
Even during our acceleration tests, the diesel returned the best times with upshifts around 3,800-4,000rpm, rather than holding on until 4,200rpm. With an extra 100Nm of torque on offer, the diesel’s performance is significantly better than the petrol’s, both outright and in-gear acceleration. Step into the diesel XUV300 after the petrol and what’s surprising is that it feels just as refined. In our sound tests, the diesel proved to be quieter than the petrol (except while idling), and only when revved beyond 3,500rpm did the diesel rattle become audible.
Footwell is narrow and there’s no dead pedal. Clutch travel is a bit too long.
The clutch is light on the petrol and diesel variants. However, the clutch pedal travel is unusually long, and judging the bite point could take some getting used to. The 6-speed manual gearbox is smooth and slick to operate, despite the tall gear lever and long throws.
For India, the XUV300’s suspension gets a longer travel for better cushioning over our roads, and its ride height has also been increased to achieve a higher ground clearance – now at 180mm. The XUV300 feels rather plush for a car in this class, and it simply flattens bad roads, with minimal body shocks and movements filtering in. And like the other Mahindras, this isn’t an SUV that’ll wince at the sight of imperfect roads. There is a bit of firmness due to its 17-inch wheels, and it gets even more pronounced when it hits sharp bumps, but at no point does it feel unsettled and or crashy.
Just like other Mahindras, this isn’t an SUV that’ll wince at the sight of bad roads.
It gets a segment-first variable steering system with three modes – Comfort, Normal (default) and Sport. While the steering is light and easy to twirl in Normal mode, it gets even lighter in Comfort mode, which makes it effortless while parking or nipping around in traffic. It gains some artificial weight in Sport mode, but there’s simply no feel or feedback and it feels disconnected from the front wheels, which takes away driver confidence while attacking corners at high speeds. What’s nice, however, is just how much grip is on offer; with its wheels at each corner, a wide track, and a taut chassis, the XUV feels agile and planted to the ground. It holds its line cleanly around corners and although there is some body roll, it isn’t excessive, and the good thing is that it remains predictable even over mid-corner bumps. Yes, the brake pedal feels a bit spongy but with all four wheels getting disc brakes, speed is shed without any fuss.
Only car in its class to get rear disc brakes.
To further aid efficiency, the XUV300 gets a start-stop system that automatically turns off the engine while idling. The system is slow to respond, especially during start-up, and that can get quite frustrating in stop-go traffic. Leave it on, however, and it will help save some fuel. In the city, the petrol managed 9.7kpl, while the diesel managed 14.4kpl. Out on the highway, the turbo-petrol returned a rather respectable 14.8kpl, while the diesel did a 17.9kpl. The presence of a tall sixth gear ensures that the engine is spinning lazily while cruising at 100kph (2,200rpm in the petrol and 2,000rpm in the diesel), thus sipping lesser fuel.
While the system is easy to get used to, the interface is a bit slow and the software feels dated. Touch sensitivity is good, and the presence of physical buttons below help go through the menus quickly. This system gets in-built navigation, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Due to some glitches in the software, Android Auto kept disconnecting, without any user input. Sound quality is poor too and lacks depth, especially when compared to the Nexon and EcoSport, both of which have amazing speakers. This system also houses other functions like a tyre-pressure monitoring system, the EcoSense app, reminders and other useful alerts and warnings.
Standard safety kit includes all-wheel disc brakes, ABS with EBD, dual airbags, speed-sensing door locks, corner braking control, child seat anchors and front seatbelt pre-tensioners. In addition to this, top variants get segment-best kit such as ESP, hill-launch assist, five additional airbags (side, curtain and driver-knee), front parking sensors, and three-point seat belts and adjustable neck restraints for all the seats.
Both front doors get request sensors for keyless access.
Then there are segment-first features like heated outside mirrors, dual-zone climate control, smart steering system, smartwatch connectivity, micro-hybrid system and tyre pressure monitoring system. Premium equipment on offer includes a sunroof, 17-inch diamond-cut alloys, projector headlamps with LED DRLs, LED tail-lamps, touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, auto headlamps and wipers, leatherette upholstery, auto-dimming inside mirror, cruise control and more, making this a compact SUV that’s loaded to the gills.
Adaptive guidelines aid while parking. Display quality of the camera is average though.
Mahindra sure has a winner on its hands with the XUV300, and that’s a commendable outcome of the Mahindra-SsangYong synergy. The Korean influence is evident in the XUV300’s well-appointed interiors and surprisingly high levels of quality and fit-finish. And Mahindra has done a splendid job when it comes to ride and handling – it is a composed and confident car to drive; we only wish the steering offered a bit more ‘feel’. Both engines are very refined and effortless to drive, but the narrow price gap between the two, and the fact that the diesel is more sorted, efficient and quicker, makes it our pick.
Latch on boot for emergency exit in case of natural calamities or crashes.
The lack of an automatic will put off some buyers, and so will the small 257-litre boot. But what could be the bigger deal-breaker for some is its pricing, which is significantly more than the Brezza and Nexon and even overlaps with the Hyundai Creta from a segment above. While it doesn’t rank high in value, to justify its premium positioning, Mahindra has equipped the XUV300 with segment-best safety and premium kit. But consider its strengths, like refinement, ease of driving, ride and handling, and equipment, and the positives outweigh the negatives. So, as a package then, the XUV300 is easily the most polished car to come out of the Mahindra stable.
1 / 0 Rating 8 8 2019 Tata Harrier review, road test 7th May 2019 10:00 am
Tata’s big SUV sure got people talking. But is it as good as everyone hoped it would be? Only an exhaustive road test can give the definitive verdict.
Make : Tata
Model : Harrier
We Like Roomy and well-appointed interior High speed manners Value for money We Don't Like Ergonomic issues A few rough edges No automatic or AWD option
If there’s a model that repeatedly ‘broke the internet’ in 2018, it was the Tata Harrier. Right from the time the SUV was revealed as the H5X concept at the 2018 Auto Expo, there was unrelenting curiosity about what is Tata’s most ambitious SUV to date. And the interest only piqued when the final product’s pricing was announced in early 2019. Priced between Rs 12.69 and 16.25 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the near-4.6m-long SUV has single-handedly thrown established pricing structures out of whack. See it as a larger-than-average mid-segment SUV or an exceedingly well-priced premium one, if there’s one common thread, it’s that the Harrier is big on value.
The Harrier is also a landmark product, being the first model built on Tata’s new OMEGA Arc platform that’s derived from Land Rover’s D8 platform. In fact, the Harrier is the first new Tata built with subsidiary Land Rover’s know-how from the get go. In the pipeline is an automatic-transmission-equipped version, a higher-powered and BS-VI emission norms-compliant diesel that will come by April next year, a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol is in development and an all-wheel drive option is an outside possibility as well. Come 2020, a larger seven-seat version, previewed by the Buzzard concept earlier this year, will also go on sale. For the moment, however, there’s only one version – a 140hp diesel with a 6-speed manual – on sale and that’s the one that’ll be under the scanner in this test.
Tata Motors hit it out of the park with the futuristic H5X but few thought the production version would stay so true to the concept. Sure, certain elements have been toned down for production but the Harrier still looks like a concept car for the road. The styling makes heads turn and, without fail, you’ll see an expression of shock when people notice the Tata badge on the grille. The Harrier is the first product styled to Tata Motors’ evolved Impact Design 2.0 philosophy and the look sure makes an impact.
Split headlight uses DRLs on top and projector lamps below.
Being 4,598mm long, 1,894mm wide and 1,706mm tall, the Harrier is a fairly substantial SUV to begin with, and the high-set bonnet only gives it more road presence. You could describe the Harrier’s frontal styling as busy and it may not resonate with buyers who like their SUVs plain and simple but, going by online chatter, the radical face has more fans than ‘haters’. The front end is characterized by a strip of high-set LEDs that seemingly flow into the large grille. Mind you, the LEDs merely function as daytime running lights and turn signal indicators; the main headlamps sit lower down on the bumper in a ‘tri-arrow’ enclosure. The split headlight look is radical but, curiously enough, the Harrier won’t be the only SUV to sport it. The Hyundai Venue compact SUV and MG Hector (that will compete with the Harrier) also feature a similar arrangement. Lower down, there’s the de rigueur scuff plate, and what’s also nice is how Tata’s designers have used body cladding to give the Harrier a high riding look.
Alloys lack flash. Chunky 235/65 R17 tyres are great for ride comfort.
The Harrier is distinctive in profile too and the pinched glasshouse is particularly attractive. However, while the large wheel arches, which are a vital element of Impact Design 2.0, add mass to the design, they also make the 17-inch rims (16-inchers on lower trims) look a size small. Snazzier wheels would be more in keeping with the Tata’s look too. Styling at the rear is slick, though. The linked tail-lights are particularly smart and, if you look closely, you’ll also note the pronounced crease on the tailgate looks neat.
Spare tyre sits under the body rather than under boot floor.
As mentioned, Tata’s OMEGA Arc platform is derived from Land Rover’s transverse engine D8 platform that underpins the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Note, ‘derived’ is the operative word here. And that’s because, while the Harrier shares many hard points with the Discovery Sport, the platform itself has been re-engineered for lower costs. Aluminium has made way for high- strength steel, the Disco Sport’s complex integral link rear suspension has been replaced by a simpler torsion beam arrangement (tuned by Lotus) and hydraulic assist has been adopted in place of the costlier but more efficient electric power steering. What’s a shame is that the Harrier also misses out on rear disc brakes, which is something you’d expect on an SUV that weighs upwards of 1.6 tonnes. The Harrier does, however, conform to India’s latest safety norms, with base versions equipped with dual airbags, front seat seatbelt reminder, speed warning system and rear parking sensors. Top-spec versions get six airbags and also see the addition of traction control and ESP with off-road modes.
Powering the Harrier is what Tata calls the ‘Kryotec’ engine. This mill is none other than the 2.0-litre Multijet II diesel engine that you’d find under the hood of a Jeep Compass, albeit in a lower state of tune. The Harrier also shares its 6-speed manual gearbox with the Jeep, though Tata uses a lower-geared final drive.
Stylish and richly finished dashboard uses different materials to great effect.
Thanks to a cabin that sits at just the right height, you walk into rather than climb aboard into the Harrier. And the large doors open to welcome you into Tata’s best interior to date. Top-spec XZ trim Harriers, like our test car, make generous use of leather (including on the door pads), the faux wood on the neatly styled dash looks convincing, the free-standing 8.8-inch touchscreen is sleek and even the metal-like element that splits the dash horizontally (à la the Nexon) appears premium. An all-digital instrument cluster would have taken things to the next level but even the informative part-digital (the speedo is analogue) display does its bit to up the ambience. Yes, there are some average plastics in the cabin but you have to hand it to Tata for the strides it has made in the department of perceived quality.
USB slots, both front and rear, are hidden from view and are irritatingly hard to access.
Drivers sit at a nice height in the Harrier, and the commanding seating position gives that feeling of being in something substantial – something that SUV buyers tend to appreciate. However, all’s not perfect. Over long stints, some of us found the large, lumbar-adjustable front seats excessively bolstered in the region of the lower back. And though there is a dead pedal, folding your left leg will result in your knee brushing uncomfortably against the centre console. A bigger issue is the sheer size of the external mirrors. They are large and create a blind spot large enough to cover SUVs, let alone two-wheelers. If there’s a model that needs the Audi e-Tron’s camera-based Virtual Mirrors, this is it. Even within the cabin, you’ll have a tough time locating the USB slots that are positioned out of view under the centre console. We also weren’t sold on the thrust control-like lever for the handbrake. You do learn to live with these things but they are irritants nonetheless.
Front seats are large and well-finished but there’s excessive lumbar support. Occupants seated at the back will have less to complain about. The seat is nice and supportive, there is an enormous feeling of space and you can easily stretch out, thanks to the ample legroom on offer. The cabin is also wide enough to seat three abreast with ease. On first acquaintance, you might think the Harrier misses rear air-con vents. But it doesn’t; it’s just that they are mounted on the B-pillars, and do a fair job of cooling the rear section of the cabin. The rear centre console is home to charging slots but, again, you’ll have to feel your way around to find them. There’s loads of room at the back and the rear seat is big on comfort too. In terms of storage for small items, the Harrier comes across as well thought out. There are large door pockets and the shelves incorporated on the ones at the back are a smart place to stow your phone. A large glovebox and cooled recess under the centre armrest also come handy. What’s also nice is that there’s more room in the luggage compartment than its 425-litre capacity would lead you to believe. The loading lip is high but there’s plenty of space for large suitcases. Top-spec versions get split and folding rear seats that take boot capacity to 810 litres. And before you ask, the spare wheel (16-inch) sits under the body and not the boot floor.
425-litre boot can hold big suitcases with ease. Loading lip high though.
The Harrier might share its 2.0-litre diesel engine with the Compass but the Tata can’t quite match the Jeep on outright performance. On the Tata, the engine makes 140hp and 350Nm (the Compass uses a 173hp and 350Nm version of the unit) and also has to lug nearly 100kg more of SUV. This should partly explain the big difference in their 0-100kph acceleration times; the Harrier takes 12.24sec to 100 while the comparable Compass 4×2 records a sub-10sec time of 9.97sec. However, the gap becomes much smaller when talking of the more relevant yardstick of in-gear acceleration. The Compass is only marginally quicker from 10-30kph in second, 30-50kph in third, 50-80kph in fourth and 80-100kph in fifth gears. The Harrier’s relatively low-geared final drive comes into play and also helps the Tata better the 300kg lighter Hyundai Creta through the gears.
Kryotec-branded engine is none other than Fiat’s Multijet II diesel. While performance isn’t electrifying, it is more than adequate. Drive modes also let you alter how the engine delivers its power. The efficiency-enhancing Eco mode curtails power and revs and makes the build of speed leisurely. The engine has more to give in ‘City’ and feels its freest and best in Sport mode. Power comes in smoothly and there’s a slight bump at about 1,800rpm. The Harrier gets to highway cruising speeds with ease but, at times, you do wish there was more punch in the mid-range; that strong surge on the Compass is missing here. The more powerful BS-VI-compliant version of the engine could address the issue.
Engine refinement was a serious issue on our pre-launch drive of the Harrier but the good thing is that Tata engineers took the feedback to heart and there has been a noticeable improvement in the production cars. In fact, one of the reasons for the production delays is because of the NVH tweaks carried out retrospectively. The engine is now quieter and the vibrations coming through the pedals are more subdued. However, it’s still not as refined as we would have liked. Idle is grumbly, the engine sounds buzzy after 2,000rpm and you’ll even hear a clunk from the driveline ever so often. The 6-speed gearbox doesn’t operate with the same slickness as it does in the Compass but it is light enough. Thankfully, the Harrier clutch isn’t heavy or snappy like the Compass’, and is actually quite convenient to modulate but you need to give it a wee bit of ‘gas’ to avoid stalling the engine. Also, we can’t help but wonder how much better the whole experience would be once the Hyundai-sourced, smooth-shifting torque converter 6-speed automatic gearbox eventually makes its way onto the Harrier.
The Tata Harrier has robust underpinnings and you can feel as much when you drive over broken roads. The combination of a long travel suspension and chunky 65 profile tyres that absorb much of the initial shock make light work of the largest of potholes. There’s little road shock at the steering too and the overall sensation is of being in a vehicle that’s built to take a beating. What’s more, the Harrier doesn’t feel out of place in the rough either. There’s more than ample ground clearance and, so long as you don’t get too adventurous in tricky terrain (it is front-wheel drive only after all), the Tata will not disappoint. Top-spec versions get hill descent control and there’s also the much publicised three-mode Terrain Response system that alters ESP settings on the Harrier. The latter system seemingly does its work covertly because we didn’t notice much of a difference at the wheel between Normal, Rough and Wet modes.
Large dial controls Terrain Response. On offer are three modes – Normal, Rough and Wet.
The Harrier also makes for a good high-speed cruiser. It feels confident at triple-digit speeds and, again, the excellent bump absorption plays its part in taking the edge out of poorly paved patches. There’s a good enough feeling of connect at the steering wheel too, but the way it weights up is a bit inconsistent and doesn’t feel as precise or fluid as the Compass, which corners with more poise. Also, there’s a bit of whine from the power steering pump at full lock.
High-speed ride quality is a highlight. You can maintain a fair clip even on poor surfaces.
Where the Tata doesn’t feel quite as special is in town. The steering requires some effort to twirl and you are always aware you are piloting a big car. A Hyundai Creta simply feels much more manageable in city confines, for instance. Not helping matters is the fact that rear visibility on the Harrier isn’t the best and what makes life particularly tough are the massive blind spots created by the elephant ear-sized outside mirrors. Also, at low speeds, the suspension can’t completely smoothen out surface imperfections. There’s a degree of lumpiness to the ride (more so on concrete surfaces), and the movements are far more pronounced at the back.
The Harrier fared quite well in our braking tests, coming to a halt from 80kph in 27.83 metres. Braking force is strong and there’s good grip too, though more feel at the pedal and a sharper bite would be welcome. Tata should consider upgrading the brakes with the rear discs in the future.
Compare the Harrier’s fuel economy to its price rivals and the numbers might not impress. However, for what is a fairly large and heavy SUV, efficiency is pretty respectable. In town, in City drive mode, the Harrier returned 9.8kpl. Relaxed cruising out on the highway in City mode saw the number rise to 14.2kpl.
While middle-spec Harriers feature 7.0-inch touchscreen units, the top-spec XZ gets a larger 8.8-inch touchscreen-based infotainment system. The latter is the smoothest unit we’ve seen from Tata yet but it’s still not the slickest in the business. Android Auto is standard (Apple CarPlay comes soon), and what’s nice is that the screen also lets you access the car’s functions when the smartphone interface is on. However, with connectivity being the buzzword now, Tata will need to upgrade the system soon. The Harrier XZ’s JBL sound system comprises four speakers, four tweeters and even a subwoofer. Sound quality is good, not exceptional.
8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system.Top-spec Harriers get part-digital instruments. High-res screen houses tachometer and MID. The Tata Harrier is available in four variants. Base XE trim versions (Rs 12.69 lakh), oddly only available in white paint, get the safety basics of dual airbags and ABS, but only few comfort features like power windows, power steering, tilt and telescopic steering and projector headlamps. The XM (Rs 13.75 lakh) adds in a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, steering-mounted audio controls and drive modes. The XT (Rs 14.95 lakh) is a more appealing package, with 17-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, a rear-view camera, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, push-button start, auto headlamps and wipers, auto climate control and electrically folding mirrors. However, if you want the most frills (and safety equipment), you’ll have to stretch and go for the XZ (Rs 16.25 lakh). Exclusive to the Harrier XZ is a larger 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a nine-speaker JBL sound system, part-digital dials, leather upholstery and a 60:40 split rear seat. It’s also the only one with xenon headlights, Isofix child seat mounts, six airbags, ESP, hill descent control and hill hold control. Exterior mirrors are oversized and create massive blind spots.
With its Land Rover-derived platform and Fiat-sourced engine wrapped in a confident and new-age Tata design, the Harrier promises the best of all worlds. And for the most part, it delivers. The striking look will be the hook for many but the Harrier’s positives extend to its spacious cabin, tough build and excellent high-speed ride.
There are a fair few ergonomic guffaws, long-term reliability is unproven as yet and, at few places, the Harrier feels rough around the edges too. The absence of all-wheel drive will be missed by only a handful of off-roaders but the lack of an automatic will be a deal breaker for many and should have been an option right from launch. Still, see what you get for the price and it’s hard not to feel you are getting more than your money’s worth.
Tata’s reinvention started with the Tiago and Hexa. And just like the Nexon did two years ago, the Harrier takes the process into a higher gear.