• Engine refinement and cabin insulation is so good; masks ...
    Engine refinement and cabin insulation is so good; masks speeds brilliantly while cruising.
  • Quality of materials used is top-notch. The Nappa leather...
    Quality of materials used is top-notch. The Nappa leather and quilting on the dash provide a truly luxurious feel.
  • Last row best for short journeys due to tight legroom and...
    Last row best for short journeys due to tight legroom and a dark ambience.
1 / 0
Rating 8 8

2019 Mahindra Alturas G4 review, road test

1st Feb 2019 8:00 am

An all-new generation of SsangYong’s flagship SUV, renamed and rebadged for India. But will India accept a Rs 30 lakh Mahindra?

  • Make : Mahindra
  • Model : Alturas G4

Mahindra broke the Rs 10 lakh price ceiling with the Scorpio, the Rs 20 lakh ceiling with the XUV500, and now, its research indicates that Indian car buyers are willing to pay Rs 30 lakh for a luxury SUV wearing a Mahindra badge. It takes a strong product to break these psychological price barriers and perceptions, and to breach the Rs 30 lakh mark and get the job done, the carmaker borrowed the second-generation G4 Rexton from its Korean subsidiary, SsangYong, and renamed it the Alturas G4. ‘Alturas’ was the name given because it connotes height, so can Mahindra’s new flagship take the brand to new heights?

2019 Mahindra Alturas G4 front static

To make a great first impression, Mahindra has loaded the Alturas G4 to the brim with premium kit and launched it at aggressive price tags of Rs 26.95 lakh (4x2 AT) and Rs 29.95 lakh (4x4 AT), making the latter a whole Rs 3 lakh cheaper than the top variants of its two core rivals – the Toyota Fortuner and Ford Endeavour. So we put it through an exhaustive test to find out if pricing is the only aspect it’s got going in its favour or if it is truly a well-rounded, premium SUV capable of grabbing a sizable share in the segment. 

The Alturas G4 is based on an all-new, body-on-frame chassis that uses a higher percentage of high strength steel, making it more rigid and also lighter than the older version. In fact, the Alturas G4 tips the scales at 2,050kg (4x2 AT) and 2,150kg (4x4 AT), making it as heavy as the Fortuner but lighter than the Ford Endeavour 3.2L by 144kg.

2019 Mahindra Alturas G4 headlamp
HID light spread is wide, but throw is limited. High beams are halogens.

When it comes to the all-important road presence, the Alturas G4 delivers it without any hesitation – this is a car that commands attention wherever it goes, thanks to its gargantuan dimensions (4.8m length, 1.8m height and 1.9m width). The only real change between the Alturas and the Rexton is at the front, where in place of a SsangYong grille there’s a Mahindra grille, and the fog lamps have been made a lot sleeker. The sides have some interesting design elements like the bold creases above the wheel arches and a prominent crease running across the doors. From the side, the Alturas looks really tall and dwarfs the large 18-inch wheels which appear a size too small in their chunky wheel wells. Moving to the rear, the Alturas looks quite bulky and the styling is a bit fussy. The Alturas gets LED daytime running lights (DRLs), which is standard these days, but what’s unique is that the LEDs in the tail-lamps too stay illuminated in the day. What sticks out like a sore thumb, however, is the ‘Alturas G4’ badge on the tailgate; it’s poorly executed and looks like some aftermarket stick-on.

2019 Mahindra Alturas G4 tail-lamp
In auto mode, LED tail-lamps work as DRLs and remain on at all times.

 

Walk up to the car with the key in your pocket and the outside mirrors unfold automatically – a cool touch. Getting inside the cabin requires you to take a huge step; after all, the lowest point of the vehicle is 244mm (unladen) and one needs to clear a few more inches of the high-set floor. Our test car was fitted with a side-step (available as an aftermarket accessory), which made ingress a bit easier. Most owners will have to opt for this accessory for the sake of elderly folk or children in their family. At the front, the electric driver’s seat automatically slides all the way back, like on some Lexus models in India, to make entry and exit convenient.

2019 Mahindra Alturas G4 sunroof
Sunroof feels too small on this large SUV. Sunshade is manual too.

What impressed us the most is the superbly appointed cabin and its genuine luxury feel. The dash is neatly laid out and the clever use of leather, piano black and some metallic bits is very tasteful. The tan and black theme on the 4x4 variant, the quilting on the dash fascia, the metallic highlights on the buttons and the overall touch and feel of the materials used is exemplary, almost from a class above. The steering’s shape is rather unconventional; it gets thinner in the 9-3 position and thicker in the 12-6 position.

2019 Mahindra Alturas G4 sunroof
3 memory settings for driver’s seat and outside mirrors.

The seats are draped in fine Nappa leather and are extremely comfy – the cushioning is right, support is great, and the front pair even get a very useful seat-cooling feature. And because these are high-set seats, the driving position is almost throne-like, with the driver getting a commanding view of the road ahead, towering above all other cars on the road. However, driving through narrow, crowded lanes will require special attention as the SUV’s high bonnet and rounded edges could obstruct the view. It’s at such times that the front parking sensors come in handy and so does the 360-degree camera.

2019 Mahindra Alturas G4 rear AC vents
Independent blower controls are located in third row.

The Alturas G4 has the longest wheelbase in its segment, but cabin space, at least visually, doesn’t appear to be as generous because of the darker colours used. What further robs that sense of space is that, unlike the Ford Endeavour, which gets a massive panoramic sunroof that floods the cabin with light, the Alturas G4 gets a much smaller window. Pull out the measuring tape and the Alturas’ middle row scores well. Leg-, head-and knee room are ample and the seat is very comfortable in terms of cushioning and support. Unlike in the Endeavour, the seats don’t slide fore-aft, but they do recline to very comfortable angles. The kerbside seat has the 60 percent split, so passengers who sit diagonal to the driver will appreciate how the position of the armrest changes along with the backrest angle.

2019 Mahindra Alturas G4 automatic
W (Winter mode) prevents wheelspin; useful in low-traction conditions.

A surprising omission on such a premium car is that the middle passenger gets only a two-point lap belt and not a three-point restraint. Also, strangely, the middle row makes do with just air-con vents whereas the third row gets a dedicated blower with an independent control unit.

2019 Mahindra Alturas G4 dashboard
Tasteful mix of wood, quilted leather and metallic bits. Ambient lights add a premium touch at night.

Unfortunately, the third row hasn’t been given the same priority and will prove to be uncomfortable for anyone who has to spend long hours there. Firstly, to get into the third row, the middle row seats need to be folded and then tumbled – it’s a two-step process. The rearmost seat itself is placed almost on the floor, which means adults will be sitting in a knees-up position. There’s insufficient legroom all round and what makes matters worse is the extremely tiny quarter glass that cuts your view out. The nicely angled backrest, however, does add a degree of comfort.

2019 Mahindra Alturas G4 4WD
Switching from 2WD to 4WD as simple as twisting a knob. Gets low ratio for trickier terrain.

 

This new-gen Alturas G4 gets an all-new D22DTR 2.2-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine, making 181hp and 420Nm of torque. Power is transmitted to either the rear wheels or all four wheels through a 7-speed automatic transmission (torque converter), sourced from Mercedes-Benz.

Start this motor and it settles into a rather silent, petrol-like idle. And it’s not just the engine that’s really refined, the sound insulation overall is very good, so passengers are cut off from outside noise too. On the highway, the Alturas G4 is so silent, and so well insulated that it masks the real speed you are cruising at. It’s only when this engine is spun beyond 2,500rpm that it becomes vocal but the diesel drone never gets too harsh or intrusive.

2019 Mahindra Alturas G4 side action
You’re always aware of road conditions. The ride remains busy with constant body movements.

Performance is again surprisingly good and the Alturas whisks you to serious speeds in a fuss-free manner. Compare it with the Fortuner or Endeavour and you’ll swear that they respond far better initially, thanks to their low-end grunt. The Alturas G4, however, responds and accelerates just as quickly, but because power delivery is very linear, it doesn’t give you the same ‘pinned to the seat’ sensation. Put your foot down and the engine is quick to respond and there’s always power available on tap. The powerband lasts from roughly 1,700-3,000rpm and the engine isn’t a particularly free-revving unit and it maxes out at 4,100rpm before shifting to the next gear. The 7-speed Mercedes automatic  transmission works nicely in sync with this motor and masks all traces of turbo lag. It isn’t quick to respond and can feel lazy, but, for the most part, it does the job rather well. There isn’t a Sport mode and you don’t get paddleshifters. It offers a Tiptronic mode that can be activated via the small buttons on the gear selector, which isn’t the most convenient of locations.

Flat-out performance is impressive, with the Alturas G4 taking 11.24sec to reach 100kph, identical to the Endeavour 3.2, but keep your foot pinned to the floor and the Alturas hits 160kph almost a second sooner. Performance in-gears from 20-80kph and 40-100kph in kickdown are 6.41sec and 8.62sec, respectively – figures that are near identical to the Endeavour 3.2.

The Alturas G4 is a hardy, body-on-frame SUV, and with a raised ride height for India and a generous 244mm (unladen) ground clearance, this SUV isn’t shy about taking the broken path. Ride quality, however, isn’t its forte and there’s always some body movement felt on less-than-perfect roads. The larger bumps are taken well, but road shocks aren’t as well damped as in the Ford Endeavour or even the Toyota Fortuner. Over expansion joints, it tends to pitch a bit more than usual.

2019 Mahindra Alturas G4 second row
Space is huge, seat is nicely contoured and backrest reclines to comfy angles.

On a winding section of road, the Alturas’ tyres start squealing in protest well before the suspension (or driver) is anywhere near their limit. Body roll for such a tall car is quite nicely contained but you can’t hustle this gargantuan SUV around bends and you have to treat it with respect. The steering has a disconnected feel and doesn’t give much road feedback, except for some unwanted kickback felt over mid-corner bumps. It also doesn’t offer the same directness or feedback as the Ford’s unit,
 but the good thing is that it feels light at low speeds and the relatively tight 5.5m turning
radius is very handy when parking.

In our testing cycle, the Mahindra SUV returned 8.50kpl in the city and a respectable 12kpl on the highway, significantly better than the Endeavour 3.2’s 7kpl and 10.30kpl, respectively. What gave the Mahindra an advantage over the Ford is its lighter kerb weight and the additional 7th gear, which allows it to cruise at lower revs, crucial for fuel efficiency on a highway.

2019 Mahindra Alturas G4 360-degree camera
360-degree camera comes in handy on off-road trails and while parking in tight spaces.

 

The 8.0-inch touchscreen has a nice display, but the system is a bit slow to respond. The interface isn’t very user-friendly, but the presence of physical shortcut buttons below the screen helps. While satellite navigation is missing, maps can be used via either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. The international version gets a 10-speaker Infinity audio setup, which didn’t make it to the Indian version. We’re happy to report though, that in terms of sound quality, the six-speaker setup is very good with a crisp and clear sound output.

2019 Mahindra Alturas G4 infotainment

Mahindra has kept it simple with just two variants – a 4x2 AT and 4x4 AT. Both variants get features including Nappa leather seats, LED DRLs, projector headlamps, LED tail-lamps, 18-inch alloys, ventilated front seats, dual-zone climate control, third-row air-con blower, tyre pressure monitor, cruise control, touchscreen, ESP, hill-start assist and hill-descent control. Our pick of the range, however, is the 4x4 AT variant. Apart from the four-wheel-drive hardware, the additional Rs 3 lakh gets you kit like a 360-degree camera, nine airbags, driver-side seat memory, a 7.0-inch coloured instrument cluster, Xenon headlamps, LED fog lamps, sunroof, ambient lighting, auto headlamps and rain-sensing wipers.

2019 Mahindra Alturas G4 ventilated seats
Segment-first cooled front seats. However, even in its highest setting these aren’t very effective.

 

The Mahindra Alturas G4 is an impressive SUV that punches above its weight. It may not have the badge value of its rivals but as a product, it offers far more. Firstly, its towering dimensions and tough-looking design give owners the street cred they want. Then, the interiors take things several notches above its rivals; the first and middle row are really comfy and it gets a laundry list of features like cooled seats, a 360-degree camera, nine airbags, many of which are segment-best. Also hugely impressive is the best-in-class level of refinement, and when it comes to performance, the Alturas is no slouch. Where the SUV does fall behind is dynamics; it doesn’t feel as much of a driver’s car as the Ford Endeavour and it can’t match the Fortuner for off-road prowess.

However, as a car to live with every day, it does a great job. It’s a good highway cruiser and in town, too, it’s not as intimidating to drive as the Endeavour or the Fortuner, to which the Alturas is a credible alternative priced at Rs 26.95-29.95 lakh (ex-showroom, India). The Alturas is fantastic value for money and a good way of keeping Mahindra loyalists within the brand. 

PRICE Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Ex-showroom - Delhi Rs 29.95 lakh (4x4 AT) (ex-showroom, India)
Warranty 3 years/1,20,000km
ENGINE Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Fuel Type / Propulsion Diesel
Engine Installation Front, longitudinal
Type 4 cyl, turbo-diesel
Cubic Capacity (cc) 2157cc
Bore/Stroke (mm) 86.2/92.4mm
Compression Ratio 15.5:1
Valve Train 4 valves per cyl, DOHC
Max Power (hp @ rpm) 181hp at 4000rpm
Max Torque (Nm @ rpm) 420Nm at 1600-2600rpm
Power to Weight Ratio (hp/tonne) 84.18 hp per tonne
Torque to Weight Ratio (Nm/tonne) 195.34 Nm per tonne
Specific Output (hp/litre) 83.91 hp per litre
TRANSMISSION Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Drive Layout Four-wheel drive
Gearbox Type Automatic
No of Gears 7
1st Ratio/kph per 1000 rpm 4.377/9.637
2nd Ratio/kph per 1000 rpm 2.859/14.75
3rd Ratio/kph per 1000 rpm 1.921/21.95
4th Ratio/kph per 1000 rpm 1.368/30.83
5th Ratio/kph per 1000 rpm 1.000/42.18
6th Ratio/kph per 1000 rpm 0.82/51.44
7th Ratio/kph per 1000 rpm 0.728/57.94
Final Drive Ratio 3.31:1
BRAKING Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
80 - 0 kph (mts, sec) 28.75m, 2.88s
EFFICIENCY Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
City (kpl) 8.5kpl
Highway (kpl) 12kpl
Tank size (lts) 70 litres
ACCELERATION Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
0 - 10 kph (sec) 0.52s
0 - 20 kph (sec) 1.04s
0 - 30 kph (sec) 1.59s
0 - 40 kph (sec) 2.48s
0 - 50 kph (sec) 3.40s
0 - 60 kph (sec) 4.67s
0 - 70 kph (sec) 6.04s
0 - 80 kph (sec) 7.49s
0 - 90 kph (sec) 9.28s
0 - 100 kph (sec) 11.24s
0 - 110 kph (sec) 13.49s
0 - 120 kph (sec) 16.05s
0 - 130 kph (sec) 19.28s
0 - 140 kph (sec) 23.01s
1/4 mile (sec) 17.42s
20-80kph (in third gear) (sec) 6.41s
40-100kph (in fourth gear) (sec) 8.62s
MAX SPEED IN GEAR Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
1st (kph @rpm) 39kph at 4000rpm
2nd (kph @rpm) 59kph at 4000rpm
3rd (kph @rpm) 90kph at 4100rpm
4th (kph @rpm) 129kph at 4200rpm
5th (kph @rpm) 177kph at 4200rpm
6th (kph @rpm) 153kph at 3000rpm*
7th (kph @rpm) 143kph at 2500rpm*
NOISE LEVEL Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Idle (dB) 41.3dB
Idle with AC blower at half (dB) 53.8dB
Full Revs, AC off (dB) 53.8dB
50 kph in 4th gear AC off (dB) 57dB
80 kph in top gear AC off (dB) 62dB
BODY Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Construction Five-door, body-on-frame SUV
Weight (kg) 2150kg
Front Tyre 255/60 R18
Rear Tyre 255/60 R18
Spare Tyre 255/60 R18
SUSPENSION Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Front Independent, double wishbone with coil-springs
Rear Non-independent, multi-link with coil-springs
STEERING Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Type Rack and pinion
Type of power assist Hydraulic
Turning Circle Diameter (mts) 11m
BRAKES Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Front Disc
Rear Disc
Dimensions Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Length 4850mm
Width (mm) 1960mm
Height 1845mm
Wheel base 2865mm
Front Track (mm) 1620mm
Rear Track (mm) 1620mm
Rear Interior Width (mm) 1500mm
Ground Clerance (mm) 244mm (unladen)
Boot Capacity (Lts) 240-1806 litres
INTERIOR Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Cruise control Yes
Driver Seat Adjustment Type Electric
Heated / Cooled Seats Yes
Seat upholstery Leather
HVAC type 2-zone climate control
Touchscreen 8.0-inch
Sunroof Yes
Boot operation Electric
EXTERIOR Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Headlamp type Xenon
Automatic headlamps Yes
Rain sensing wipers Yes
360 degree camera Yes
SAFETY FEATURES Petrol Petrol AT Diesel Diesel AT
Airbags 9
ESP Yes
2019 Mahindra Alturas G4 review, road test
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