Over the years, Mahindra has established itself as an SUV specialist. With a line-up that includes everything from a rugged and utilitarian Bolero to a plush and modern XUV500, Mahindra wants to make sure there’s an SUV for every kind of customer. With the NuvoSport, Mahindra will be looking to plug the gap between the KUV100 and the TUV300. The NuvoSport is essentially a re-styled version of Mahindra’s first sub 4 metre SUV, the Quanto.
The NuvoSport is a sub 4 metre compact SUV, based on the Quanto, which in-turn was based on the Xylo. However, it now shares it's platform with the new Scorpio. The design is a last ditch attempt at salvaging the Quanto and is typically Mahindra (read: quirky).
The most noticeable change is the updated face. The Xylo look alike fascia has been ditched in favour of a more aggressive and ‘in your face’ styling. The split headlamps are sure to grab some attention. The daytime running lights form an ‘eyebrow’ over the main lamps, which we think looks rather cool. The updated bumper brings some brawn to the profile. Mahindra has stuck to the tried and tested formula of using matte black appliques and a silver skidplate for the SUV look.
The side and the rear remains relatively unchanged. Changes that immediately catch the eye are the updated 16” alloy wheels and the new tail-lamps. Other than these, the NuvoSport remains identical to the outgoing Quanto.
While the interiors look identical to the Quanto in terms of design, Mahindra has infused certain modern elements to keep it up to speed with the times. It gets a new black and grey color palette which looks rather dull. We’d have loved to see an all-black interior or maybe even a beige and black combo.
Updates to the interior include a new 6.2-inch touchscreen audio system with Bluetooth, USB and FM support. The system is the exact same Kenwood unit found in the Ssangyong Rexton SUV. The controls for the air-conditioning system have also been replaced with circular knobs. Mahindra could have included an automatic climate control for the price. Both, the Vitara Brezza and the Ford EcoSport offer automatic climate control. The steering is now identical to the one on the TUV300 and features mounted controls. The steering can be adjusted for rake.
The NuvoSport continues to be a 7-seater, just like its predecessor. Only the TUV300 gets a similar 5+2 seating arrangement. Space in the first two rows are more than adequate, with legroom and headroom being generous. The jump seats in the third row are best left to kids. You can even fold the jump seats down and recline the second row. This will be a boon on those long road-trips.
Speaking of road-trips, the boot is rated at 412-litres. It can be further extended by using the 60:40 split on the rear bench. Tuck the rear seats away altogether, and what you get is 850-litres of space. There are plenty of storage spaces around the cabin too. For instance, there are a couple of cupholders near the gear-lever, bottle holders in the doorpads and even a nifty sunglass holder.
Overall, the NuvoSport does feature a really practical interior. It scores high on space and equipment offered. However, quality isn’t the best around. The Vitara Brezza and the Ford EcoSport both feel better built.
The engine is the same as the one on the TUV. However, it runs a different tune with better specs on paper when compared to the TUV. The change is not really astronomical. The engine has been badged the mHAWK 100. With 100bhp and 240Nm on tap, it is the most powerful compact SUV on sale today. The engine has an eco option where the engine is toned down to 73bhp & 180Nm of torque that keeps the fuel economy in check. The Ford Ecosport comes in a very close second at 99bhp/215Nm.
In terms of the all important fuel consumption, the NuvoSport’s ARAI efficiency stands at 17.45kmpl.
The torque kicks in at a relatively low 1600rpm. This help get a move on in bumper to bumper traffic. The other thing that will assist you is the relatively light clutch.
The other option is to pickup the NuvoSport without a clutch as it is on offer in an AMT (Automatic) variant. As most AMT’s are plagued with the issue of delayed shifts, we weren’t surprised when the issue appeared in the NuvoSport too. Don’t drive the NuvoSport too enthusiastically and it will keep you happy.
Braking & Handling
What is one of the biggest improvements is the ride & handling. The NuvoSport’s chassis is based on the Scorpio.
When compared to the Quanto, the NuvoSport sees improvement in terms of dynamics. With an updated suspension, the body roll is now in check and the car inspires a lot more confidence when compared to its predecessor.
The noise levels too are an improvement. The engine is smooth and the amount of noise filtering into the cabin is in check.
As to how the NuvoSport takes on the rough surfaces and speed bumps that you face on a daily basis, we’re going to hold our verdict till the point when we get our hands on it for a comprehensive drive.