Written by: Charles Molefe
As this was my first official test vehicle, I have been pondering how to start my review of the Mahindra TUV 300. So here goes…
Mahindra is a brand that has been on our shores for a long time. Over the years it has produced a plethora of models and has removed any doubt about its support and interest in the South African market. As a brand, it has been very active in the marketing spheres and is not one to shy away from a challenge, much like their cars.
I was handed a set of keys to the TUV 3 double 0 from Mahindra South Africa. This little SUV is supposed to take on the task of being a compact SUV, competing with the likes of the Honda BRV, Ford Ecosport and Renault Duster, it really does have a tough time ahead of it but I do believe that the mighty Mahindra does have a couple of tricks up its sleeve.
I guess this is where opinions may vary, is it handsome, ugly, or down right hideous? Personally, I need a little longer to come up with a solid opinion. The styling is different, after all, it is meant to mimic a battle tank, which it does.
The interior is, well, different. If beige had an ambassador, it would be the TUV 300. The comfort levels of the interior can seriously put up a strong fight to the established brands.
Being able to seat seven passengers is a great convenience, happily swallowing grocery bags and the equipment we had to lug around. The little SUV has its spare wheel latched on the boot door which allows your passengers to have some additional breathing space at the rear. Off to a good start then, the TUV does well in bringing out its full metal jacket appeal.
Arguably the most comforting aspect of this vehicle is the surprising voice when you start the car, welcome to your tough and stylish TUV 300, a good party trick for the unsuspecting passenger. Additionally, when setting off without buckling up, the gentleman kindly reminds you, “please buckle up to have a safe ride”; a better reminder than the constant blaring chime you get in some other vehicles. The thing about the resonating voice reminded me of my early childhood, it sounded like a parent warning a child to be extra cautious. It works, I immediately buckled up and prepared for the road.
For the tech junkies the TUV 300 comes standard with Bluetooth integration, USB and handsfree phone connectivity. The TUV’s handsfree kits is very user-friendly and arguably the easiest system on the market to use. Upon initial configuration, a copy of your phonebook contacts is uploaded into the vehicle’s memory, this makes accessing your contacts a breeze and assists you in keeping your eyes on the road. Additionally, the car is equipped with two 12V sockets for the other gadgets you may need to juice up.
Equipped with power electric windows all round and auto drive away lock function, these small functions come in handy when you least expect them.
Engine and performance.
The TUV is powered by an mHawk100 1.5l Turbodiesel engine which produces a spirited 74.57kW and a class leading 240 Nm of torque. You are not going to be breaking any speed records.
The 0 – 100 km/h mark is reached in a steady 16.4 secs. I will have to caution you though, overtaking can be a pretty adventurous task, slip down a gear stomp the loud peddle and pass your obstacle with ease, yes, there are cars that can complete this task with little to no effort but the question is, how much more are you going to pay?
If you are looking at saving a decent amount of diesel, a useful feature that will contribute to the reduction of your carbon emissions footprint is ECO mode. This feature seems to shut down a cylinder or two and feels as though it goes into limp mode. But worry not, while you are limited to 4000 RPM, you can quickly revert to normal mode, and full power is available. But with so little of it, I wondered if it was really of any use. It may be useful in heavy traffic to reduce consumption but with so many impatient road users you may be in for a honk or two. I understand that reigning in the horses is a great help in sparing resources but I think the TUV tried too hard. I ended up deactivating ECO mode as overtaking became nearly impossible to do.
Lastly, the engine auto start/stop functionality. This technology can be found in a number of other vehicle manufacturers, it serves to increase fuel economy and reduce carbon emissions by temporarily switching the engine off whilst you are waiting for the traffic light to turn green. Having this feature in the TUV was a surprise, I had mistakenly envisioned that such technology is reserved for the higher echelons of the motoring world. I will add that the system does need some refinement; a faster response time to pulling off would make it perfect and ensure a peaceful ride.
All in all, there a few quirks that I think could be ironed out by Mahindra. But this tough, economic and spacious little tank punches well above its weight and is priced so well that the closet rival is north of R20 000 more. Would I personally part with my hard-earned money? Yes, I would, it’s not often you can transport seven passengers, equipment, groceries and a moody troop of children in such comfort for a reasonable price. I will always be cheering for this little underdog, it holds its own for a whole lot less and to a prospective buyer you will not be disappointed.
ABS & EBD.
Steering-mounted audio & phone controls
Anti-theft warning system.
Infotainment system with display screen, 2-DIN audio, Bluetooth, USB, AUX
Voice messaging system (VMS)
Airbag – driver & front passenger
Warranty and service plan
Warranty 3 Year / 100,000 km
Service plan 3 Year / 90,000 km
Service intervals 1st Service 10,000 km, thereafter every 20,000 km
Roadside Assistance 3 Year / 100,000 km.
7.0 / 10