The all-new 1,497cc, four-cylinder diesel engine belongs to the mFalcon engine family (which debuted on the KUV100 in three-cylinder guise). This engine gets a new variable-geometry turbocharger that helps it achieve a peak power output of 123hp at 3,500rpm. Peak torque is 300Nm and is developed between 1,750-2,500rpm.
What’s noticeable right from start-up is just how refined this engine is. There aren’t any vibrations to speak of, neither through the pedals nor the steering wheel. Nor does the gear lever dance about like the one in the Innova. The engine uses a plastic cam cover, aluminium oil sump, low-friction pistons and an offset crankshaft, all to keep weight and vibrations low, and all this seems to have paid off. At low and moderate speeds, refinement is remarkable, and it’s only when the motor is spun beyond 3,500rpm that it gets vocal. Wind and road noise are well contained, and the vibration-free, hushed cabin truly impresses.
Ride comfort is the Marazzo’s strength. It flattens bad roads like they don’t exist.
The way it performs at city speeds is also commendable. It pulls cleanly off the mark, but doing so calls for careful modulation of the clutch and the throttle; we did stall it a couple of times. There is a bit of turbo lag but it’s quickly overcome as the engine picks up revs. The short gearing helps responsiveness and the big Marazzo pulls well from as low as 1,000rpm.
Once the turbo has spooled up, there’s a nice wave of torque from a little over 1,500rpm and it lasts
for a good 2,000 revs after. Though there’s no real surge in performance, the engine pulls well enough to close gaps in traffic and perform quick overtaking manoeuvres. Performance begins to taper once the revs cross 3,500rpm, and there’s no point pulling it beyond that to its 4,400rpm redline, as progress is slow and the engine sounds strained; it is best to upshift early to make quick progress. Flat-out, this MPV accelerates from 0-100kph in 14.47sec, which is not too much slower than the more powerful and torquier 2.4-litre Innova (13.11sec). Impressive then that, in fourth gear, the Marazzo accelerates from 40-100kph in 11.18sec, which is 0.8sec faster than the Innova (11.98sec).
Thrust-lever-like parking brake is more aesthetic than functional.
There’s an Eco mode on offer for those looking to maximise efficiency. Power is restricted to 100hp but there are two preset engine maps – one for partial engine load, which would typically be while cruising or in city driving conditions, and the other for full engine load, which provides the desired performance, useful in scenarios like overtaking. Going from 0 to 100kph is almost a second slower in Eco mode, and 20-80kph in third gear too is 1.4sec slower; 40-100kph in fourth, though, is identical between the two modes.
It isn’t all good news, however. While this 1.5-litre engine, with its 300Nm of torque, feels sufficient to haul this MPV’s bulk, as well as the weight of seven passengers, a larger, torquier engine would’ve felt more effortless (like the 2.2-litre mHawk). Also, when loaded up with passengers, it struggles on inclines, again due to the relatively small engine and its front-wheel-drive setup.
Dead pedal is placed too far to the left to be usable. The clutch pedal is positioned quite high.
Driving the Marazzo can best be described as light and easy. The steering is light and so is the clutch, although the travel is long. The gear lever is a bit too tall and the throws are on the longer side but here too, effort is minimal.