It’s safe to say that the Mahindra Marazzo was the surprise of this year’s ‘Best of 2018’ test. While I had driven it previously – and had been hugely impressed by it – my colleagues saw it in the flesh for the first time during this mega test. And it was clear very quickly that the Marazzo would do quite well this year.
The most impressive feature of the Marazzo is the space it has on offer. On our track day, we used it extensively to ferry a full load of seven passengers, and not one of them complained of insufficient room. Frankly, it’s a result of smart packaging and bold development from the designers at Mahindra. Unlike some of the other vehicles in the segment, the Marazzo is front-wheel drive with a transversely mounted engine – and this gives it two advantages. First, more space in the cabin – the wheelbase of the Marazzo is longer than the Toyota Innova Crysta, even though it’s shorter in length. Second, a lower floor makes ingress and egress much easier. Adding to the comfort factor is the roof-mounted air-conditioner that keeps the cabin cool, even in the third row.
With the Marazzo, the Nashik-based automotive manufacturer has made considerable improvements in terms of quality too. The interior feels built to last, and the quality levels are up to the mark. Plus, the Marazzo has two bottle holders in each row, four cup holders up front, three USB ports, a cooled glove box and sun blinds for the rear windows – all of which make the Mahindra Marazzo a really practical vehicle.
The amount of work that’s gone into developing the new 1.5-litre motor is clearly evident in the way it behaves. At start-up or, even while driving, the engine feels remarkably refined. There are hardly any vibrations or clatter that you would expect from a diesel motor. The engine makes 300Nm of peak torque, more than half of which kicks in as low as 1,000rpm. This makes it exceptionally easy to drive in the city, as well as on the highway. The short ratio 6-speed gearbox ensures that the Marazzo pulls cleanly from the word go. A light clutch action and slick shifts – much unlike the usual rubbery Mahindra gearboxes – further make the driving experience quite relaxed. The only downside is that no automatic transmission is offered at present.
On the road, the combination of a well setup suspension and 17-inch wheels, with 215-section rubber, endow the Marazzo with a superb ride. Even when driving over uneven roads, the Marazzo doesn’t feel bouncy or unsettled. In fact, even when pushed on the track, the Marazzo felt very composed and controlled.
Above all, though, Mahindra has nailed the value for money quotient with the Marazzo. It slots just above the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and comfortably below the Toyota Innova Crysta – a gap that was waiting to be filled. Packed with features, a refined motor and acres of space, the Marazzo, without a doubt, deserves a spot in the ‘Best of 2018’ category.