What happens when Eicher and Polaris get together to create an affordable mobility solution for the Indian market? Well, you get something that’s rather unusual, but at the same time very capable and efficient. Say hello to the Multix!
It’s been around two years now since Indian automaker Eicher, owners of Royal Enfield, signed a 50:50 JV with American manufacturer Polaris, who are exceptionally brilliant at producing some of the best all-terrain vehicles on the planet. Both companies teamed up to begin development on a brand new vehicle for the Indian market. The idea was to make it affordable and highly capable vehicles. Because the majority of Indians do not live in cities, and are unfortunately not offered the best infrastructure, the focus was to create a vehicle that would carry large families across tough terrain, and also be efficient and have utility for small business owners. That’s how the Multix was born.
As Eicher Polaris insists, the Multix is a 3-in-1 vehicle. And what that essentially means is that it can be used for business use, for families, and for generating power. The vehicle was purpose built to be usuable by families, and business owners, but it’s also got a third use, and that is to generate power. With its X-Port feature, the Multix can generate electricity, introducing unprecedented flexibility and utility to the businessman’s life. It does this with the help of its engine and you can connect it to a generator or use it to power a water pump. This will be especially important in rural areas.
The overall design is very unique and it’s a compact yet sturdy vehicle. The Multix seats a family of 5 with ease. It’s incredibly comfortable at the rear and offers lots of space. It takes on the roughest terrain comfortably and is built to protect against impact. There are two variants of the Multix. One is the MX, which gets doors, and then there is the AX+, which gets no doors or windows – sort of like a golf cart. We got to drive both for a while at the Off-Road Adventure Zone in Delhi, and I have to say that it was very impressive to drive.
The MultiX uses a tiny 650cc single cylinder diesel engine. It’s also mated to a 4-speed manual gearbox. As you would imagine, the engine is rather crude and it’s not BS-IV compliant just yet - but it will be soon. It definitely vibrates a lot and isn’t very well refined. But, it does the job fine if you are in rural areas. It takes a while getting use to the heavy clutch and the position of the gear knob, but you will get the hang of it quickly. The engine gives you around 9.5bhp and 27.1Nm of torque from as low as 1500rpm. The gear rations are very short, and you will probably not be able to go faster than 55kmph when on a proper road.
Comfort levels in the driver seat is also not the best, but then you get what you pay for. The Multix is very easy to drive and thanks to its high ground clearance of 172mm and the Pro-Ride independent suspension system, it’s very capable on bad road surfaces. We tested the Multix on all kinds of off-road obstacles and it performed very well. It offers an incredibly smooth ride when off-road - even better than most other hatchbacks, and sub 4-metre sedans would. It’s also got a very nice turning radius of just 3.93 metres.
The Multix’s body is also highly durable and damage-resistant. The vehicle might use poor quality materials from an aesthetic stand point, but its tubular frame is built to withstand most hits, bumps and bangs. The robust inner frame also keeps passengers well protected.
For the price, it certainly is quite an interesting vehicle. It offers loads of space for passengers as well as for storage and loading. It certainly has high utility for small business owners and farmers, and it can also be used to ferry around people in rural areas, or even where there are no roads at all.
We didn’t get a chance to see how the Multix performs on tarmac or on city roads but, I am sure it will probably be able to be used for daily commutes in smaller cities as well as in rural areas. The Multix is fully road legal – even the AX+ variant with no doors – so it can be used anywhere and everywhere. It’s a first of its kind product and Eicher Polaris is going to setup independent dealerships for this vehicle. Prices for the Multix start at Rs 2.32 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi.