Mahindra NuvoSport review, road test
10th May 2016 12:15 pm
Read the Mahindra NuvoSport review, road test from Autocar India; Less than a year after the launch of its TUV300, Mahindra has launched another sub-four-metre SUV. We find out what's different.
When Mahindra launched the Quanto in 2012, it was easy to view it cynically as just a chopped-down Xylo – a quick and easy entry into the compact SUV segment, which was still in its infancy then. Was it an MPV or an SUV? The answer wasn’t very clear. On the other hand, you had to hand it to M&M for getting the job done with the resources available. Alas, it didn’t do well enough to stick around for very long. Then came the TUV300, which though a little rough around its very angular edges, at least felt like an all-new vehicle, and found its own niche in the compact SUV class. Now, less than a year after that, the Quanto is back with a new name – NuvoSport – a new face and all-new chassis too. It’s much more than just a facelift then, and that warrants digging deeper under its skin. In the process, we aim to find out just where it fits not only in relation to the competition, but Mahindra’s own model range as well.
It may be a compact SUV, but as we’ve mentioned before, it’s also a very heavy one, owing to its body-on-frame construction, so fuel economy, even in the ARAI test, is nowhere near what you get from a Vitara Brezza or an EcoSport. Our tests turned up 11.45kpl in the city and 14.16kpl on the highway for the manual NuvoSport, while the AMT version managed 10.68kpl in the city and 13.61kpl on the highway. The reason the urban figures are as good as they are is the engine’s effortlessness at low revs. The manual version has stop-start and an Eco mode that limits the engine’s revs, and that should improve those numbers slightly, but again, this is more beneficial in city driving.
Touchscreens are all the rage today, and the Brezza was the first to bring it to this class. The NuvoSport’s one is clearly an aftermarket unit from Kenwood. The 6.2-inch screen’s graphics are hard to read in bright daylight, and it’s angled almost downwards, making it harder still to use on the move from the high perch. The shroud it sits in seems like an afterthought and is not well-integrated into the dash. Though the unit is navigation-ready, the car has no maps installed, and unlike the Scorpio and XUV, no other car functions are included. Purely for audio and phone functions, it gets the job done, but nothing more.
At a price range of Rs 7.41-9.21 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the NuvoSport is priced bang on against the Vitara Brezza, although the base Brezza is cheaper and the top-spec is a bit more expensive. More interestingly, its about Rs 20,000 more than the TUV300, spec for spec and this is crucial. Mahindra says the difference between the two SUVs is that the TUV has a tough and rugged appeal, while the NuvoSport is a lifestyle vehicle. The simple fact is, theres a lot of overlap here, and it really begs the question, was there need for a second SUV in the same segment from M&M? Yes, the NuvoSport is slightly better equipped, slightly quicker, marginally more spacious, and some might prefer its look to the TUV300. But, its interior design and quality is a major letdown and it really doesnt add much else to the mix. The TUV300 created a niche, it was somewhat of a novelty, sacrificing some user-friendliness for toughness, which had its own special appeal. The NuvoSport aims to squeeze into the same niche, rehashing the same formula with little improvement and charging a premium for it. It aims a bit higher, and therefore falls a bit harder.