There is no denying that I always loved the Mahindra TUV300. It did exactly what the car maker said it will. Built like a tank, they say. While I cannot vouch for the build quality (haven’t had a long term vehicle or heard about owners saying anything otherwise), the TUV300 does one thing better than the rest. That is gobble up roads. However, the TUV’s positioning was a bit awkward. It had an 85PS engine, then in came the NuvoSport and then a 100PS motor. There is now a fresh new TUV300 and has a plus moniker to it. Let’s check out what the Mahindra TUV300 Plus is all about.
It looks the same
Precisely the point. However, look behind the rear wheels and you will realise that the TUV looks stretched now. Gone is the sub-4m vehicle and there is 400mm more space behind the rear wheels. This is the reason why Mahindra says that the TUV300 Plus can seat nine passengers overall. The TUV300 can seat only seven. But, more on that later. On the design front, there is little distinguishing it from the regular TUV, except for perhaps the chrome over the fog lamps and the aluminium skid plate. The bigger 16-inch alloys wheels too are an indication. The eagle-eyed reader will also spot the mHawk D120 badge on the left fender.
Is there more space inside?
Sadly, no. The Mahindra TUV300 Plus uses the same wheelbase as the regular SUV (2,680mm) and hence there is no difference in the space at front or second row. The third row seating has improved though but seating four there isn’t possible. Unless they are children and specifically not yours. There are no seat belts at the back. What instead can be done is fold these seats and use the 696 litre of boot space to carry things. You can further tumble the second row and gain 888 litres of luggage space. All the occupants though sit higher-up and that is a good thing isn’t it?
You were talking about a bigger engine
The 2.2-litre engine is from the previous Scorpio. It boasts 120PS of power and 280Nm of torque. The gearbox is also a new 6-speed unit. I will be specific here by saying that though this gearbox feels nice in unhurried use, good luck toggling between first and reverse gear. Especially if you have to reverse or make a u-turn in dense traffic. Both the gears are placed quite close to each and other and there is no safety lock too. Donald, my photographer, gave up after trying the first and reverse ritual. However, it is not as bad as he makes it out to be. You get used to it.
What you will love though is the oodles of torque that this close ratio gearbox brings. 20kmph in third gear and this turbodiesel engine doesn’t protest at all. Heck, even 6th gear at 50kmph is possible. However, the downside is while the engine is smooth and less clattery than other diesels, it raises its voice on the highway. Do 120kmph and the engine note increases significantly. The engine is also not happy doing this pace. The Mahindra TUV 300 Plus can best be enjoyed at 100kmph on the highway or trundling around in town at the highest gear possible. Efficiency wise, the vehicle returned an overall of 13kmpl. The engine also offers an Eco mode that sort of dilutes the throttle response but not so much as the technology by other makers.
Also appreciable is the fact that engine start-stop isn’t as intrusive as the units offered by other makers.
Same absorbent ride quality?
Of course! The suspension components are double wishbone at the front and a multi link coil spring at the back. The Mahindra TUV300 Plus has the rugged feeling that you get from nearly all of the manufacturer’s SUVs/MPVs. The Plus just glides over potholes. It gobbles up the speed breakers for lunch too. In terms of handling, the vehicle does feel a bit top heavy and things are to be taken a bit lightly or more precisely corners be done at lower speeds.
NVH is of a high order and we appreciate the fact that ever since the first TUV, things have only looked up for Mahindra in this department.
Cornering lights, power adjustable mirrors, touchscreen infotainment system and a driver seat height adjust are few of the features offered with the Mahindra TUV300 Plus. In terms of safety, dual airbags and ABS with EBD are on offer for the P6 and P8 trims while the base P4 doesn’t even get this as an option. The arm rests for the driver and co-passenger as well as the illuminated glovebox are a nice touch.
The Mahindra TUV300 Plus price starts from Rs 9.47 lakh to Rs 10.86 lakh, ex-Mumbai. It competes with the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga in terms of price and utility. There are three trims on offer – P4, P6 and P8.
Things we love about the Mahindra TUV300 Plus
You sit higher than other vehicles, very good ride quality and torquey engine
Things we don’t love about the Mahindra TUV300 Plus
Missing features like auto closing mirrors, limited space on offer, engine runs out of breath quickly
Trivia: The Mahindra TUV300 Plus is looked upon as a replacement of the not-so successful Xylo. It however offers less features than the Xylo but is touted to be more rugged. It is likely that the rural population as well as the taxi segment will lap up the Plus trim.
Images by Donald Dsouza