Mahindra KUV100 First Drive Review

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Mahindra KUV100 is the most promising car from the largest SUV maker in the country in a long time which will captivate first-time young buyers

SUV’s are trending in the market worldwide. A hatchback owner one day wants an SUV for the pride and joy that it delivers while riding and even when occupying the bigger half of the garage. The SUV’s has become the most dominant species in the automotive market leaving behind wagons, sedans, limousines and much more. For every segment it is possible to get an SUV done in the size and price bracket as Compact SUV’s are the thing of the town.

Ask Ford, Ecosport is the only volume car they sold until the Figo twins came out. Today, Mahindra has done it. After teasing for years, spied for even more years and being leaked again and again in terms of name, specs and much more, the launch took place at the birth place of the SUV itself, Chakan production facility of the company. We had a good look at the car and then got a short spin on the SUV too. We tell you what it feels like as you read on:

KUV100 Price:

Mahindra KUV 100 mFalcon D75 K6 plus 6 Str Rs 6,63,594
Mahindra KUV 100 mFalcon D75 K8 5 Str Rs 6,92,092
Mahindra KUV 100 mFalcon D75 K8 6 Str Rs 6,97,181
Mahindra KUV 100 mFalcon D75 K2 Plus 6 Str Rs 5,57,745

KUV100 Exterior:

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Mahindra’s team and Pininfarina have done a great job when it comes to designing this all new SUV. Front looks funky on the top portion as the headlights extend backward to all time high. They do look like sunglass frames which Mahindra explained as they go all the way back like glasses go all the way back to your ears. They have DRL in them to make them look in day or night. There is a mini Jeep inspired grill that connects both headlights.

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After that the Mahindra-ish design begins as it becomes macho with a protruding bumper with nothing on it till the rear where the air scoops come in. There are rectangle shaped fog lamps at the rear which are large and should be practical because they are big and look good at the same time. Rear is the best part of KUV 100, it is a bit flat, but the way the D-Pillar curves towards the rear give its a pronounced look.

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The double barrel tail-lamps and other the larger bumper make sure that there are some elements to hide that factor very easily without trying to hard. The rear door handle is mounted at the top to make it look cool (you read that first here when spy shots came). Overall, the design is attractive and almost pretty at the front and rear. However, the side profile just about passes the subtle line between being stubby as the best use of elements save the day such as the top mounted door handle, lines, creases and cladding.

Mahindra KUV100 Interior:

Yet again Mahindra’s strikes hard. The interior quality is even better than the very well received TUV 300 and XUV 500. The quality of the material is fantastic all around. The top of the dashboard has the unique texture to avoid reflection and yet it looks a well designed and thought thing that it looks like design element. Piano black finish and small vents in the center and sizeable larger vents at the side all sync together.

Space in the back is adequate when it comes to knee, leg, shoulder and head rooms as Mahindra has squeezed every bit out of the cabin because of the extra width it has. Dials, steering wheel, and center console are all new. Gear lever is mounted on the same center console which frees up space for sixth passenger.

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Space in the back is adequate when it comes to knee, leg, shoulder and head rooms as Mahindra has squeezed every bit out of the cabin because of the extra width it has. Dials, steering wheel, and center console are all new. Gear lever is mounted on the same center console which frees up space for sixth passenger.

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If you don’t want that you can fold it up again. Thanks to that, the handbrake has to be borrowed from the 1950’s and is a pull type one seen on the Chevrolet Tavera and Datsun Go recently. Cubby holes will be absent if you take the sixth seat as it replaces that. There is one industry first cubby hole below on the floor of the rear seat to keep anything you would like to keep as secret. Jokes apart, that one thing is serious attention to detail fact. Another cubby hole is under the front seat which can take a lot of knick-nacks. A/C works very well, infotainment system has basic connectivity options and lets you control all of that through an application on your mobile.

KUV100 Performance:

We test drove the 1.2 petrol engine that makes 85 BHP and 115 Nm of torque. All those numbers very low in rev range than its rivals, which makes it pick up the pace quite well and ends up providing good driveability in the city. The engine has a lot of plastic parts to keep things light and efficient along with keeping reliability intact.

Dual variable valve timing makes things easier as torque curve is properly broad. Top-end power isn’t its forte as it runs out of steam post 4500 RPM and at 5500 RPM, it gets vocal but isn’t harsh-loud either. Clutch throw is shorter and light. Gear lever falls to hand perfectly and throws are really smooth and surprisingly it works really well.
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Mahindra has done a great job with NVH and it shows, the redline is smooth and un-intrusive and doesn’t keep banging on the wall again and again. We can’t comment more on numbers or efficiency yet, but it has 18 kpl on the claimed number we think it should deliver 12-13 which is a hatchback standard thing now. It can deliver more if you use Eco mode and give those numbers if it runs in Power mode. Overall, the petrol will also attract audience this time for sure and diesel is already SUV favorite so no doubting that, we think its a good engine too.

Engine Options:

1.2-litre G80 Petrol mFalcon 1.2-litre D75 Diesel mFalcon
Power – 82bhp @ 5,500rpm Power – 77bhp @ 3,750rpm
Torque – 114Nm @ 3,500rpm Torque – 190Nm @ 1,750rpm
Transmission – 5-speed MT Transmission – 5-speed MT
Drivetrain – 2WD (Front-wheel drive) Drivetrain – 2WD (Front-wheel drive)

 

Mahindra KUV100 Dynamics:

Monocoque chassis brings out the smile on SUV’s these days when you hear that fact. When it comes driving this front-wheel drive mini SUV, it ends up exactly behaving like one. There is a bit of body roll, chassis is well controlled, ride quality is sophisticated and the SUV turns quicker and puts the power down in the corners as well and go actually be fun to ride.

However, smaller wheels and tyres means you are limited to the fun, just like the XUV has. Upgrade them with stock suspension and you will be surely delighted. The steering could do with more feedback, but since its light at low-speeds its adequate for our city street clogging junta who should find things easier and can continue to be lazy behind the wheel. Brakes are good, but in typical Mahindra fashion, pedal feel is cushy but the SUV sheds speeds very well. Overall, looks promising at the chassis is almost up to the mark.

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However, smaller wheels and tyres means you are limited to the fun, just like the XUV has. Upgrade them with stock suspension and you will be surely delighted. The steering could do with more feedback, but since its light at low-speeds its adequate for our city street clogging junta who should find things easier and can continue to be lazy behind the wheel.

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Brakes are good, but in typical Mahindra fashion, pedal feel is cushy but the SUV sheds speeds very well. Overall, looks promising at the chassis is almost up to the mark.

Mahindra KUV100 Review Verdict:

KUV is getting a new segment started and it has successfully launched a successful product in it. KUV 100 offers a lot of cool things with it, right from innovative styling inside out, features, cubby holes and space it offers. New engines seem top-notch too.

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However, they will have to pass the test of time in high fashion and we think mostly they should do because its 21st century and since Mahindra says they have tested it and started working on this project for four years. We will bring you a detailed road test soon on both engines so stay tuned for more as the KUV 100 continues to promise a lot more than even expected.

Pros –

  • Kool Styling
  • Interior quality, cubby holes and features
  • Space and ride quality
  • Neutral handling and value for money

Cons –

  • Could do with more powerful engines
  • Missing MID
  • Brake feel and small tyres

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KUV100 Video & Image Gallery:

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