Mahindra KUV100 NXT Hatchback First Drive


Mahindra KUV100 NXT Overview

Saying that Mahindra cars are tough and rugged is like saying Irfan Khan is a fine actor, or that veg Biryani is essentially Pulao. It’s stating the obvious. However, it’s not every day that you come across a Mahindra offering that’s as small as a Maruti Swift or a Hyundai Grand i10, designed primarily for urban driving.

Its part hatchback-part pseudo SUV, and it’s called the KUV 100 and in case you missed it, Mahindra updated it late last year, giving it a new name (Read: KUV 100 NXT) and introducing plenty of improvements inside out. You might have read our review of the original KUV 100 from 2016. Here’s take two.

Mahindra KUV100 NXT Look

The KUV100 NXT mildly reworks its predecessor’s design. It’s still a polarizing styling package but slight tweaks like the twin pod headlights and new front grille make the new look cleaner. The front airdam has been restyled as well with the body coloured portion of the bumper flanking it on both sides. Even the fog lamps have been redesigned and blend into the face seamlessly.Look closely and you also find that the wing mirrors no longer have the ‘clenched fist’ design and now feature integrated indicators. These mirrors aren’t just electrically adjustable, but foldable too. The black body cladding has been beefed up to reinforce its SUV appeal and faux skid plates at the front and rear add to the rugged look. Even the 15-inch wheels have a sportier design and have the flash factor that you either love or hate.

Where the KUV100 facelift truly looks more mature is the rear. The tail light design remains the same but now gets a clear lens casing, making it look more modern. Like the front, the rear bumper’s body coloured portion takes up more space than before and the rear reflectors have been integrated in a smarter way too. The rear spoiler gets ‘Aero Corners’ too, which are essentially extensions to make the roof to rear windshield swoop smoother.Overall, the new look isn’t drastically different but small touches have helped the KUV100 facelift look more palatable. The dual-tone paint scheme, which gets the contrast black roof and pillars, looks quite attractive. To know more information on Mahindra KUV100 NXT visit Emikolo

Mahindra KUV100 NXT Comfort

The cabin has been carried over from its predecessor, which means we still have a spacious interior with good headroom, knee room and shoulder room in both rows. The grey upholstery is now black, which looks better and goes well with the piano black inserts on the dashboard. However, nothing has changed on the ergonomics front. The pedals still are off-set and the centre console fouls with the driver’s left leg. Sure, the front centre back rest doubles up as an arm rest, but the cup-holders are still set far behind. Visibility still isn’t great. Besides, the manual air-con control knobs are replaced by buttons, which I am not really fond of. The earlier ones were simpler and less confusing. Thankfully, the plastic air vents are of better quality now, but then again, the door latches still feel flimsy. The seats continue to lack contours for lateral support even if they provide good thigh support.

The biggest improvement, nonetheless, is the addition of a 7-inch touch screen system in place of the 2-DIN audio system seen earlier. The new one integrates USB, mp3 and bluetooth with in-built navigation, while also providing info on the car like fuel efficiency, DRL settings etc. It’s quick, easy to use and the touch response is good too. If only it provided support for Android and Apple CarPlay too. Otherwise, in terms of utility, the KUV still scores high for its unique under seat and rear floorboard storage options. Features like electronically foldable OVRMs, puddle lamps, switchable interior LED lighting, start-stop function to save fuel, power and eco mode, rear parking sensors, etc. are quite handy. Though the car gets ABS and dual airbags, it still misses out on push button engine-start/stop and a rear view camera.

Mahindra KUV100 NXT Gearbox

The KUV100 NXT can be had with either a 1.2-litre petrol motor with 82bhp/115Nm or a 1.2-litre turbo diesel with 77bhp of power and 190Nm of torque. For this test, we opted for the more popular diesel option with a 5-speed manual. While there are no mechanical changes whatsoever, Mahindra says they have upgraded the engine mounts for a smoother operation. Nonetheless, here’s what the KUV is like to drive.

Displacing 1197cc, this diesel engine is unobtrusive on idle, especially when you consider that it’s a three-cylinder unit. On the move, it remains fairly refined unless you rev it past 3,500rpm because at higher rpms it simply cannot match the inherent refinement of a 4-cylinder motor. Nevertheless, this engine is backed by a tiny turbo and thanks to forced induction; progress is nice and smooth right from idling rpm. Perhaps the biggest upside of using a small pressure turbo is the minimal amount of turbo lag and you can feel it in the KUV – the power delivery is linear with none of that noticeable spike even when accelerating hard. That said, the torque band is really narrow with the engine losing all of its gusto post 3,500rpm. As we found out, the best way to make strong progress in the KUV is by keeping the engine spinning between 2,000 and 3,000rpm.All in all, this diesel engine has a linear pull from low revs, which makes it ideal for city driving as you wouldn’t be making too many gear changes frequently. But if you have to, then the short-throw gearbox feels crisp and nice to use. The clutch, however, has a springy action and the pedal travel could have been shorter.

Thanks to its compact dimensions, responsive diesel motor and good all-round visibility, the KUV feels right at home within city limits. However, the steering is poorly assisted – although light, it feels vague no matter what speed you are driving at. Add to that a slow rack and you end up making nearly four turns from lock to lock which makes driving cumbersome when parking. As for the suspension, Mahindra has tuned it purely for comfort and as a result, the springs and dampers are on the softer side. At low speeds, the NXT takes on bad roads with ease, delivering a comfortable ride even while going over bumps and potholes. At high speeds, things aren’t as comfortable due to the constant vertical movement and the floaty rear end. This is down to the softer set up which makes the whole car jump and bob at speed under full load.

Mahindra KUV100 NXT Riding

It’s only while driving out on the highway, you realise that the engine starts to lose its fizz post 3,500rpm. But once you get a hang of it and manage to keep the revs in the meat of the power band (2,000-3,200rpm), the KUV100 can make swift progress to achieve triple digit speeds. You will still have to shift to a lower gear to manage a quick overtake. The five-speed gearbox feels notchy, but is easy to use with the short throws. However, it is the clutch pedal with its tight spring action, which will make it a tiresome job for your left leg on long drives or in traffic.

Now, the KUV’s suspension has been tuned to be on the softer side. Since it also has a good ground clearance, all uneven surfaces are taken in its stride with ease at low speeds. However, side-to-side rocking gets prominent and at higher speeds the rear kicks out on harsh bumps. The vertical movement also increases, making the ride floaty. The ride doesn’t settle until it finds a flat stretch. Likewise, the steering is another aspect that sits firmly in the list of cons. It is big for a compact car, lags a bit and feels vague. It makes more than three turns from lock to lock which makes parking a tedious job despite having such a compact footprint. One can steer through a corner at low speeds, but at higher speeds, its entire dynamics undergo a change. The car understeers and the body roll becomes pretty evident at that point to the extent that it will make all the occupants feel uneasy. Thankfully ABS is available, but still the car doesn’t feel surefooted under hard braking.

Mahindra KUV100 NXT Safety

Mahindra has cut down on the number of variants and focused on offering safety variants directly. Like before, ABS with EBD comes as standard on every variant of the KUV100 NXT, and save for the base K2, all versions get dual front airbags too. The K6+ and K8 get speed-sensing auto-door locks, an anti-theft alarm and auto hazard light activation under panic braking or when the bonnet is opened. Exclusive to the K8 are rear parking sensors and ISOFIX child seat mounts.

Mahindra KUV100 NXT Price in Mumbai

Mahindra KUV100 NXT On Road Price is 5,64,599/- and Ex-showroom Price is 4,76,218/- in Mumbai. Mahindra KUV100 NXT comes in 6 colours, namely Flamboyant Red,Fiery Orange,Dazzling Silver,Midnight Black,Pearl White,Designer Grey. Mahindra KUV100 NXT comes with FWD with 1198 CC Displacement and 3 Cylinders with Maximum Power 82 bhp@5500 rpm and Peak Torque 115 Nm@3500-3600 rpm DRIVE TRAIN FWD and reaches 100 KMPH at N/A . Mahindra KUV100 NXT comes with Manual Transmission with FWD .Check for KUV100 NXT price in Mumbai at Tryaldrive.

Mahindra KUV100 NXT Bottomline

So there you have it, the improved and new for 2018 Mahindra KUV100 NXT. It’s always had plenty going for it, what with its spacious cabin, comfortable low speed ride, light controls and a long list of variants to suit a large crowd. With the new NXT version, there is no questioning the fact that Mahindra has made the KUV more desirable. The improved styling is somewhat more digestible than the original design and the added convenience of a touchscreen system, electrically foldable mirrors and the new AC panel is something that will bode well with potential buyers. Speaking of which, at Rs 7.50 lakh (ex-showroom) for the top-spec diesel variant, the KUV100 NXT isn’t cheap but for those looking to buy a spacious city car that can handle bad roads with ease, it is among the very few good options out there.

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