Across India, the ‘Mahindra’ name is synonymous with tough and reliable SUVs that are practical and sturdily built. Dependable, comfortable vehicles that can handle the worst our roads can throw at them and keep going regardless. But in addition to their inherent toughness, there’s another reason why Indian buyers love Mahindra SUVs. Many of us like to live it large, often choosing to travel with extended groups of friends and family, and we need vehicles that fit our lifestyle. Mahindra SUVs offer go-anywhere capability, can tackle the roughest of terrain, and have generous dollops of space for passengers and luggage. These qualities, along with powerful performance, low running costs and a wide range of modern-day creature comforts – all of this at a very reasonable price – offer unmatched value for buyers.
The latest SUV to join the Mahindra line-up is the all-new Bolero Neo, which combines the best of two worlds; modern design and contemporary features, along with body-on-chassis construction for true go-anywhere capabilities. The Bolero Neo, which in many ways is a bridge between tradition and modernity, builds on the key strengths of the TUV300, but with enhancements that make it even better for the road. With lower ride height and retuned suspension, ride quality has been further optimised and comfort levels have been enhanced. The styling has also been updated and the Bolero Neo gets X-shaped Bolero family bumpers, signature grille and side claddings for even more visual impact. The first Mahindra Bolero, which was launched two decades ago, was a classic SUV that offered rugged build quality and dependability. The regular Bolero, frequently updated over the years, continues to lead its segment and will very much remain in production, since it has its own dedicated set of loyal customers. The Bolero Neo, on the other hand, is the more modern, more urbane sibling that has the same values, but added refinement, safety and performance parameters for newer generation buyers.
In terms of motive power, the Bolero Neo gets Mahindra’s proven 1.5-litre ‘mHawk’ diesel engine, which produces 100hp and 260Nm of torque, which makes for strong, tractable performance. With plentiful low-RPM torque, driving the Neo becomes very easy in tightly packed city traffic, while the 100hp provides a strong top-end rush for highway use. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard across all variants, and the Neo’s multi-terrain technology (MTT), which automatically detects wheel slip at low speeds and sends power to the wheel with better grip, gives it added off-road capabilities. Indeed, the Bolero Neo shares its chassis with the Thar and Scorpio, and its body-on-frame construction is perfectly optimised for rough, broken terrain and even moderate off-road use.
In keeping with the demands of younger, more tech-savvy SUV buyers, the Bolero Neo features a host of high-tech bits like a cruise control system, a driver information system, voice messaging, an electronic stop-start system that helps improve fuel efficiency, a reverse assist system for easier parking manoeuvres and even a ‘BlueSense’ mobile app, which allows the owner to keep track of the vehicle. The top-end variant gets alloy wheels, electrically-adjustable ORVMs and a 17.8cm touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity.
Coming to the all-important area of safety, the Neo boasts a long list of safety equipment that includes dual airbags up front, anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution (EBD), cornering brake control (CBC) and ISOFIX child seat mounts. The spacious, thoroughly modern interiors have been designed by the legendary Italian design house, Pininfarina, and feature high-quality plastics and upmarket fabric upholstery. There’s tilt-adjustable steering, height-adjustable driver’s seat and foldable second and third row seats, which allow boot space to be increased when needed.
Ex-showroom prices for this compact (sub-4m) 7-seater SUV start at Rs 8.48 lakh for the entry-level model, going up to Rs 9.99 lakh for the top-end variant. For added peace of mind, the Bolero Neo comes with Mahindra’s 3-year/1,00,000km warranty, with low maintenance and spare parts costs that are comparable to that of the simpler, more basic Bolero. Without detracting from the Bolero’s traditional values – rugged build quality, dependability, go-anywhere capabilities and powerful performance – the Neo has added style, comfort, safety and technology to the mix, taking things to a whole new level altogether. For demanding SUV buyers who simply aren’t willing to compromise, the Neo is an unbeatable value proposition.