A wholesome product with sensible positioning, the Mahindra Marazzo is sure to shake things up in the MPV segment.
Ever since the spy shots of the Mahindra MPV U31 surfaced, there has been endless speculation about it. Some thought that it would rival the Toyota Innova Crysta, while others claimed it to be a successor to the Xylo. Well, it’s neither! Mahindra began sharing information about the car about a month ago, when they officially revealed its name at a press conference – the Marazzo. And since then the folks from Nashik have been keeping us busy. At the same press conference, Mahindra also revealed that it would be based on a new platform, have a new engine and, of course, sport an all-new exterior and interior. Mahindra has now shared all the details of this new MPV with us, including its pricing. The Marazzo is priced at ₹9.99 lakh for the base M2 trim and goes right up to ₹13.90 lakh for the top-spec M8 variant. Now that we have all the information we need, all that’s left is to get behind the wheel and see for ourselves if it is actually the gamechanger that Mahindra claims it to be.
According to Mahindra, the Marazzo’s design was been inspired by a shark. Well, it does have quite a few elements that support the claim. For instance, the front grille looks like a shark smiling at its prey, the 17-inch alloy wheels are shaped like a shark’s fin and the outline of the taillights remind you of a shark’s tail. Sure, the inspiration is real and one can see it, but, overall, it hasn't really translated into something unique and stunning. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Mahindra seems to have played it safe and has gone with an all too familiar contour – so much so that we couldn't help but notice its resemblance to the Xylo at the front and the Renault Lodgy at the back. In profile, though, it is very striking.
The interior of an MPV is of critical importance, for it's a decisive factor for most customers. And, with that mind, we must say that Mahindra has really nailed the Marazzo’s interior. Firstly, and most importantly, you'll be surprised with the magnitude of interior space in the car. It’s spacious, not just in the first two rows, but also in the third. A lot of this is the result of the 2,760mm wheelbase, which, by the way, is 10mm longer than the Innova Crysta. Now, you’d wonder how Mahindra has managed to pull that off despite the Marazzo being 150mm shorter than the Innova? Well, the Marazzo’s engine has been transversely mounted and sends all the power to the front wheel and not the rear. This ensures that the floorboard at the back remains flat – something that increases comfort in the 8-seat layout. For a car this long, passengers at the back often complain about inadequate cooling. Well, Mahindra has addressed this issue with a roof mounted air conditioner. As far as comfort goes, the seats are well contoured and amply supportive. In the top-spec trim, they’re wrapped in leatherette, which goes quite well with the overall interior and adds to its premium feel.
Moving on to the front, the dashboard is neatly laid out. The use of light-coloured materials all around, along with a large glass area, gives the already large cabin a very roomy feel. Taking centre stage is a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, with Bluetooth, navigation and Android Auto. Sadly, it misses out on Apple CarPlay. The instrument cluster is quite informative, but it's not the coolest thing to look at. The quality of materials all around is good, but the plastics on the lower part of the dashboard could’ve been better.
Given the family-oriented nature of the Marazzo, it has a number of storage compartments – a cooled glove box, a cubby hole at the top of the dash, six bottle holders along the sides (two in each row) and four cup holders up front. There are also three USB ports – but, sadly, only one for the second row. Second-row passengers do, however, get sun blinds.
The Marazzo is also high on safety tech. It gets disc brakes on all four wheels, ABS, dual airbags and ISOFIX as standard across all variants. Mahindra has gone a step up with the emergency call function that sends out a message to your selected contact in case of an airbags-deploying crash.
At 190 litres, with all three rows up, the boot isn’t quite big enough to fit the luggage of all seven passengers. But, a partially foldable rear seat means that there is the possibility of further increasing boot space.
The Marazzo has an all-new, 1.5-litre diesel motor from Mahindra – one that will make it to future products of the brand. It makes 121bhp and 300Nm. All of this torque kicks in at 1,750rpm, and a majority of it comes in at around 1,300rpm – making it very easy to drive in traffic. Out on the highway though, the Marazzo isn't as eager as it could’ve been – and a lot of that has to do with the 1.6 tonnes that the motor has to lug around. During our test, when loaded with luggage and passengers, the Marazzo took its time to gain speed – and this can get a bit frustrating when you want to make a quick overtake.
The highlight of the Marazzo, however, has to be its levels of refinement. The engine feels impressively smooth for the most part, and it’s only when the tacho climbs that the MPV makes its discomfort evident. The 6-speed manual transmission slots precisely and smoothly. In fact, it doesn't have that rubbery feel that’s typical of most Mahindra gearboxes. The clutch pedal is possibly the lightest on any diesel MPV out there – making it very comfortable while covering long distances, or even in traffic.
We drove the Marazzo on some patchy and rough highway sections, but it sailed through all of it with impressive ease. On some really bad roads, however, passengers at the back may get tossed around. Unlike the Xylo, which feels extremely bouncy over uneven surfaces, the Marazzo remains planted and stable. The soft suspension setup does result in a lot of body roll around bends, but, in all fairness, MPVs are meant for a relaxed drive with the family and not to bring out the Schumacher in you. That said, it does feel reasonably planted when pushed. The biggest disappointment of this otherwise impressive MPV is the lack of communication from the numb steering.
All told, Mahindra has really done well with the Marazzo. In fact, it won't be an exaggeration to say that it’s perhaps this is the best car that Mahindra has to offer. It has space, a refined motor and practicality working in its favour. But, most of all, it’s the way Mahindra has positioned the product that will make it tick. The Nashik-based firm has been smart is spotting the gap between the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and the Toyota Innova Crysta. With prices starting at ₹9.99 lakh and going right up to ₹13.90 lakh (ex-showroom), the Mahindra Marazzo hits that sweet spot with utmost confidence.
- Mahindra Marazzo
Engine: 1.5-litre / 4-cylinder / 16-valve / turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed Manual / Front-Wheel Drive
Power: 121bhp @ 3,500rpm
Torque: 300Nm @ 1,750-2,000rpm
Price: Rs. 13.90 lakh (ex-showroom)