Mahindra TUV 300 Expert Review

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Introduction

Mahindra TUV 300
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The design grabs a lot of eyeballs. The massive size, prominent body lines, and the wide bonnet work well to make sure people take notice. The interiors are certainly better than what Mahindra used to offer earlier at the same price point (with the Quanto). Comfort is aided with a wide array of features, ranging from the roof lamps, storage trays and cup holders, to the power windows, Bluetooth connectivity and steering mounted audio controls. It gets a torque-loaded diesel motor and an optional AMT too.

Pros
  • Cabin space. Generous amount of legroom and headroom in the first two rows.
  • Dual airbags along with ABS and EBD available across trim levels.
  • At 384 litres, it has segment leading cargo volume.
Cons
  • 1.5-litre engine lacks refinement. Sounds crude, also runs out of breath at highway speeds.
  • NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) levels aren't the best. Lot of vibrations can be felt through the pedals and gear lever.
  • The third row jump-seats aren't very comfortable. Best suited to small adults or children.

Stand Out Features

  • BlueSense technology on the integrated music system. Essentially converts the phone into a BT remote for the system.

    BlueSense technology on the integrated music system. Essentially converts the phone into a BT remote for the system.

  • MicroHybrid tech is a segment first. Helps improve efficiency.

    MicroHybrid tech is a segment first. Helps improve efficiency.

CarDekho Verdict

We'll put it this way - if you need a roomy compact SUV for 5 people and their luggage, the TUV300 is a great option. It has a few chinks in its armor with a slightly low-rent build quality and a mediocre engine compared to its arch rival - the Ford Ecosport. However, in offers the most space in the segment, has an imposing design that no rival can match and can take on bad roads so well, you wish it came with 4x4. 

 

Exterior

Mahindra projects the TUV300 as a tough and rugged vehicle. The styling is said to be inspired from a battle tank. It doesn’t get any more butch than that, does it?

Sitting at the centre of the front is a wide 5-slat grille with chrome inserts to add a premium touch.  Perched on either side of the grille are square-ish headlamp clusters. We wish Mahindra gave the TUV300 daytime running lamps. More so, considering the cheaper KUV100 has them! Foglamps are tucked away in the bottom half of the bumper. The foglamps too get a chrome surround. As you’d expect from a Mahindra, the face has been aggressively styled. It definitely grabs attention for both; the right and the wrong reasons!

The square shaped wheel arches make for an old school design approach. It does look rather quirky. What it also does is leave a large gap between the arch and the wheel. 

On that note, the TUV300 could have done with a better set of wheels. The 15” alloys look rather small and out of place on a car where everything else is so big and bulky.

The sidesteps in black add a functional element to the look, and this goes along with the black ski racks at the top.

The beefed up effect of the rear portion brings some balance to the overall look. While this is the most conservatively designed profile of the car, we like it for its sheer simplicity. The slim wraparound tail lights are decent in design, while the spare wheel is offset towards the right side of the tailgate. 

Interior

The cabin of the TUV300 is a mix of beige and black, with some dull silver thrown in. While it isn’t the best quality from the Mahindra stable, it does just fine for the price point. The space is enormous, and the cabin proportions felt exact. Taller/heftier members of our team had little to complain about during the drive.

The all new dashboard layout is marvellous in our opinion, and Mahindra has perfected its beige-black combination with this particular model. The centre region is coloured in black, while the upper and lower halves are beige.

The black design stretches all the way into the front console, extends around the instrument cluster and envelops the steering wheel as well. The centre console is laid out in a simple yet, eye catching manner. We personally feel that it is one of the best looking fascia designs in a Mahindra. The piano black finish for the console adds some zest to the look, and the silver garnish looks nice as well.

Positioned at the top of the console are two AC vents, and right below them is the 2 DIN audio system that comes with Bluetooth, AUX and USB connectivity. The buttons to the radio are spread around the small screen.

At the bottom of the fascia, you have three large AC knobs with chrome surrounds. A 12V power socket along with a USB and AUX-In port have been integrated in front of the gear lever, and resting between the front seats are cup holders and other storage options.

Power switches for all four windows are also hosted in the console area between the seats, while a small storage pocket is present behind the hand brake. We personally felt that these small pockets wouldn't hold anything substantial, but you could find them useful for keeping spare change or your keys.

Look up at the roof and you'll find a cabin light console that resembles that of the Scorpio. Also included here are swivel lamps and a Bluetooth mic. Talking about the inner comfort, we were quite satisfied with the ergonomic build-up of the seating. The front passengers get the benefit of the individual armrests, while headrests for all of the seats further ramp up the comfort. 

The vinyl and fabric mixed upholstery quality is acceptable. The steering wheel inherits the standard Mahindra design that you can easily spot in other vehicles of the brand including the Scorpio and XUV500. The shiny emblem of the company rests at the focus of the wheel, and audio controls have been incorporated at the left. 

The chunky steering wheel is nice to hold. For the top end variants, there is a silver garnish on the lower side of the wheel, which adds an upmarket touch. 

In front of the steering wheel, the instrument cluster houses the tachometer and the speedometer, and when you take a closer look, it feels as though the company never falls short of chrome. The dials have a chrome touch too.

Performance

1.5L Diesel

The TUV300 gets Mahindra’s mHawk80 motor. The engine is a 1.5-litre, 3-cylinder unit developing 84bhp of power and 230Nm of torque. Mahindra updated the SUV in 2016 and it can be bought with the same engine in a more powerful state of tune as well (100bhp and 240Nm). We tested the mHawk80.

The engine comes along with a 5-speed manual transmission. When you take the machine out for a spin, you get the feeling that this engine prefers to cruise comfortably at lower speeds. The motor's performance peaks at around 100kmph, and begins to taper-off after that. It can manage highway speeds well, but don’t expect hair-raising performance.  

 

Ride and Handling:

Mahindra struck us as the company with a sound understanding of India's roads, and the right chassis designs to tackle it. The TUV300 has been designed for the rough stuff and offers great bad road ability. However, the handling isn’t great. Whatever you do, don’t treat this like a hatchback. It isn’t nimble and rolls about a lot, with no real feedback from the steering. Take corners with caution and stick to sane speeds and you will be alright.

The ride quality is strictly average. The large ground clearance means that it does tackle broken roads well. However, it also tends to get rather bouncy - especially for the rear seat occupants. The hydraulic steering is fairly light and makes maneuvering the baby-Mahindra quite easy. However, if you've experienced an electric steering set-up in models such as the EcoSport, you will find this one to be slightly heavy at parking speeds. Overall, the steering is quite balanced, although the precision could definitely be improved.

Safety

We’re quite impressed with the safety parameters that the vehicle employs. Safety features shared by all the variants include a collapsible steering column, side intrusion beams, a seat belt reminder lamp, an auto door lock function as well as a digital immobiliser.

Dual airbags and ABS can be opted for irrespective of the variant you choose.

Variants

  • Diesel
Variants Features Price
T4 Power windows, AC with heater, Power and tiltable steering, 7.68 Lakh*
T4 Plus [ In adition to T4 ] Body colour bumpers, ABS with EBD, Driver and co-driver airbags, [ Variant T4 price ] + 35,997 =  8.04 Lakh*
T6 [ In adition to T4 Plus ] Body coloured ORVMs, Infotainment system display, Keyless entry, [ Variant T4 Plus price ] + 30,871 =  8.35 Lakh*
T6 Plus [ In adition to T6 ] Driver and co-driver airbags, Mounts for child seat, Anti theft warning, [ Variant T6 price ] + 25,698 =  8.61 Lakh*
T8 [ In adition to T6 Plus ] Front fog lamps, Follow me home lamps, Driver seat height adjuster, [ Variant T6 Plus price ] + 61,178 =  9.22 Lakh*
mHAWK100 T8 [ In adition to T8 ] Powerful engine, Silver accents on AC vent, Intellipark reverse assist, [ Variant T8 price ] + 8,016 =  9.3 Lakh*
T6 Plus AMT [ In adition to mHAWK100 T8 ] Automatic Transmission, All features of T6 Plus AMT, [ Variant mHAWK100 T8 price ] + 4,302 =  9.34 Lakh*
T8 AMT [ In adition to T6 Plus AMT ] Automatic Transmission, All features of T8, [ Variant T6 Plus AMT price ] + 61,396 =  9.96 Lakh*
mHAWK100 T8 AMT [ In adition to T8 AMT ] Automatic Transmission, All features of mHAWK100 T8, [ Variant T8 AMT price ] + 4,425 =  10.0 Lakh*

There are seven variants and the entry-level T4 and T4+ come with very nominal features. This includes a tilt adjustable power steering, manual AC, manually adjustable outside mirrors, power windows at the front and rear, and a roof lamp. Next, the T6, T6+ and T6+ AT come with a rear defogger, rear wiper and washer. Also present is a 2 DIN infotainment that comes along with AUX, USB and Bluetooth, and the Mahindra Blue sense smartphone app. The range topping T8 and T8 AMT come with all the bells and whistles. They’re also the only variants that you can have the 100bhp engine with. Exclusively seen here is a driver information system, a voice messaging system along with keyless entry. You also get a height adjustable driver's seat, armrests and lumbar support for the front occupants. 

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*Ex-showroom price

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