The TUV300 is Mahindra’s all-new compact SUV that’s designed to take on successful models such as the Ford EcoSport. Mahindra knew that, in order to compete against modern rivals, it would need to develop a brand new product. As a result, Mahindra’s third generation ladder frame chassis underpins the TUV300. And the new 1.5-litre, three-cylinder engine makes its debut in this new Mahindra compact SUV.
Also brand new is the design of the Mahindra TUV. While it is polarizing – you either love it or hate it – we found that more people were attracted to the design than not. Its chunky design cues, along with the boxy profile, give this SUV a scaled down butch stance. And, of course, measuring under four-meters in length entitles the new TUV300 to lower taxes – making it quite affordable for a compact SUV.
Step inside the cabin, and you instantly realise that Mahindra has worked to give the interiors of the TUV300 a modern look-and-feel. The dual-tone dashboard is an all-new unit, with a black centre section – while the majority of the panels are beige, which keeps the interior light and airy. The piano black finish around the dual-DIN stereo and central air con vents further compliments the new interiors. The quality of materials used is good, and the cabin is a nice place to be in – not least because of the ample knee, head and shoulder room. The TUV is a seven-seater SUV on paper, although in reality the third row jump seats are not the most comfortable and are best reserved for short trips.
The 1.5-litre engine in the TUV300 develops 84bhp at 3,750rpm and 230Nm at 1,500-2,200rpm. Gearbox options include a five-speed manual transmission and a five-speed automated manual transmission.
The powertrain is very refined at low to medium speeds. Power delivery is good and NVH is kept in check. The turbo kicks in at 1,500rpm. The mid range of this engine is where all the power is, and this is where the vehicle is happiest. Revving it beyond 3,500rpm gets fairly noisy, and although the engine will rev past the 4,250 mark, it feels quite strained at those speeds.
Ride comfort in the TUV is good, and it can tackle our poor road conditions with ease. Of course being an SUV, there will be some body roll while taking corners at speeds. On the whole though, the set-up feels a little too soft – the body control in the Scorpio, for instance, is far better than on the TUV.
All in all, though, it has to be said that the Mahindra TUV300 is a promising offering in the compact SUV segment. It’s refined under normal driving conditions, efficient, well equipped, practical and affordable all at the same time.