MAHINDRA TUV300 T8 SUV
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MAHINDRA TUV300 T8 SUV

Date: 23 Apr 2018 Author Type: Public Review
Author: Julian Lurie Edited by Liam Mothilall
Source: Julian Lurie
The new Mahindra TUV300 SUV was launched locally just a year ago and has done pretty well in the marketplace. Manufactured at Mahindra’s production facility in Chakan, Maharashtra in India, and having just spent a week with the new TUV300, I found it very different to any other Mahindra I’ve driven before. The press vehicle was the top-spec T8 M/T which is the only variant available in South Africa. According to Mahindra, the TUV300 T8 has been inspired by the design of a battle tank. It has a bold, rugged appearance and toughened high strength steel body that allows it to tackle any challenge. Its clean, chiseled lines are distinctive and purposeful, creating a shape that highlights its prominent shoulders, an elevated front end, short overhangs, 184 mm raised ground clearance, and an angular, purposeful silhouette.

The Mahindra’s Aesthetic highlights include; powerful bumpers at the front and rear, a front bull-bar, chrome-framed fog lamps, turning lights, stylish roof rails, side steps to help getting in and out the vehicle, a side-opening tailgate-mounted with a full size spare wheel and 10-spoke alloy wheels which on the press vehicle were shod with Czar Seat soft and low road noise 215/75R15 H/T SUV tyres. At the back, the D-pillar is blackened for a floating roof impression, and features conventional vertical tail-lamps, and a full size spare wheel mounted on the tailgate.

The spacious interior offers stylish and comfortable accommodation, with durable fabric upholstery for the front bucket seats and rear bench seat. The front seats have fold down arm rests, are adjustable by sliding forwards or rearwards, while the rear bench seat will seat three adults very comfortably but surprisingly there are only headrests for the two outer seats. However there is plenty of head- and legroom in the second row even for 6-footers. The steering wheel is adjustable for height only, but I found the set-up quite easy to find a comfortable driving position. Mahindra markets the TUV300 as a seven-seater, however the two third row jump seats fold down so the occupants will face each other, they are not comfortable, have no seatbelts, and perhaps preferably should be used as emergency seating when required. With the second row seats up, it has a boot volume of 384 liters, which is quite acceptable.

The fascia features piano gloss black detailing and brushed chrome-look surrounds. The clearly legible, circular instruments for speed and the rev counter are housed in a binnacle directly ahead of the driver, while the digital display for the trip computer is located between the two dials. A multifunction steering wheel offers audio and hands-free Bluetooth controls, while the center stack is also home to a double-DIN infotainment system, as well as the controls for standard air conditioning. The infotainment system includes Bluetooth connectivity for a convenient, safe hands-free drive, as well as music streaming and also has USB and analogue AUX inputs. As for build quality, Mahindra has improved tremendously. The plastics don’t look as cheap as in other Mahindra’s, and the texture feels good to the touch.

In terms of safety, the Mahindra TUV300 has airbags for the driver and front passenger, while the braking system comprises of ventilated discs in the front and drum brakes for the rear wheels, supplemented by the ABS and EBD. In the emergency stop from a 100 km/h, standing hard on the brake pedal brought the TUV300 to a complete stop, straight and true, in 3.4 seconds.

The new Mahindra TUV300 is powered by a 1.5 litre 3-cylinder mHawk 2-stage turbocharged diesel engine pushing out 74 kW at 3 750 rpm and 240 Nm of torque from 1 600 rpm, with drive to the rear wheels through a 5-speed manual gearbox. Although 74 kW doesn’t sound like a lot on paper, at no time did the TUV300 feel underpowered in fact quite the opposite. Fuel consumption is claimed as just 5.4 L/100 km, but over the period I had the TUV300, I averaged about 6.9 litres per 100 km, which is relatively low for a vehicle with a kerb weight of 1590 kg. However, I never tried it in ECO mode, where the figure would most probably have been closer. The fuel tank holds 60 litres. The clutch pedal feel is on the lighter side, has good length of travel and an easily predictable biting point, which makes for precise take-offs. In acceleration tests, changing gears when the speedo needle reached the 4 500 rpm red line, the TUV did the 0 to 100 km/h sprint in a leisurely 16.89 seconds after three gear changes.

From behind the wheel, visibility is good and most controls fall easily to hand, with the exception of the electric window buttons, which are in the floor console, rather than mounted in the doors. However, one does get used to it. Another fitting not appreciated is the irritating stop/start system which sometimes doesn’t start on its own causing a hold up at say a robot. Fortunately, it can be switched off but once you re-start the engine, it defaults to the “on” position.

Around town, the ride is good and thanks to the hydro-formed ladder-frame platform, the TUV copes very well with uneven roads and poor road surfaces. The steering is on the light side which is good for parking, and the small turning circle at 10.9 meters makes it easy to manoeuvre in tight places. The electric power steering is well weighted, light at parking speed; and the wheel itself is nice to hold, but like most electric systems, provides very little feedback.

Driving on the freeways, the Mahindra cruises quite comfortably at the 120 km/h legal limit with the motor revving at a low 3 000 rpm in 5th gear. While wind noise is well controlled in the cab, a small amount of engine noise does get through. For quick overtaking, you’ll need to drop down a gear or two with the loud pedal pressed to the floor, and you should get by. However, there is a fair amount of body roll at freeway speeds through tight twists and turns, but the car never felt like it would break away, and the ride is comfortable most of the time. On the gravel roads, the ride quality was pliant and reasonably comfortable. Given the tough setup and high ground clearance, it could go over nasty potholes and speed bumps without hassle.

My impressions on the Mahindra TUV300 are far better than I had expected. The looks of the TUV were liked by some and not by others, but that’s completely a matter of personal taste, but one does become accustomed to it in time. The build quality is a definite improvement over any low-end Mahindra we’ve seen before, and it does come well equipped in its category. The recommended selling price for the new Mahindra TUV300 SUV 5-speed manual is R229 995 which is a good few thousand rand less than the opposition, making it very good value for money. The price includes a 3 year / R 90 000 km service plan.
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