Meet the all new KUV100 which is, possibly, the most important car ever launched by Mahindra simply because of the fact that this new car is targeted at the hatchback space. With this compact crossover, Mahindra wants to invade the small car space and grab large chunks of market share. The KUV100 is as new as it gets with a new range of engines fitted along with a new monocoque platform. So will the KUV100 lure away hatch buyers? Read on.
Powertrain and Performance
The KUV100 gets the new mFalcon engine family which will power future new Mahindra products also. In the KUV100 you have new 3-cylinder motors which are extremely efficient yet offer decent performance. The petrol G80 engine makes 82 bhp and 115Nm of torque. First up the petrol is quite decent in its performance but its refinement is more impressive and while it may not be rev-happy or be particularly exciting, the performance on offer is satisfactory. On the whole it offers smooth power delivery and for city use, which is what these cars are aimed for, it is ample. The diesel though impressed us more. The numbers are 77 bhp and 190Nm of torque. The diesel D75 offers better bottom-end punch and is more fun than the petrol. There is more performance available and of the two engines we like the diesel a lot. Plus compared to competition the refinement for this capacity size is superb. The diesel also gets two modes namely Power and Eco though Eco mode bogs the engine down.
There is no AMT option yet so a 5-speed manual is standard. What is unique though is the dash mounted gear-lever which frees up space and its location is terrific plus it is great to use with also precise shifts on offer. Clutch is light also. In terms of ride and handling, the ride at low speeds is good especially compared to other cars in its price point. There is lots of body roll though along with a bit of wind noise creeping in. The steering is good with being extremely light and easy to use. In terms of efficiency you get 25.32 kmpl in diesel and 18.15 kmpl for petrol.
Build and Styling
Styling is the biggest draw of the KUV100 without doubt. It is not subtle with its many complex layers but it stands out among the sea of hatchbacks for sure. The front is the best part with its muscular design. Unlike the TUV300, there are a lot of curves and slashes. The unique large wraparound headlamps catch your attention then you see the Evoque like grille plus some SUV design elements like roof rails, skid plate and cladding give its presence. It measures 3675mm in length with a ground clearance of 170mm. The rear and side is in contrast to the front. It is softer and more hatch/crossover like. The rear door handle is on the rear window just like the Chevy Beat along with the nicely designed tail-lamps. The massive wheel-arches do make the 14 inch wheels look very small.
Inside the cabin impressed us a lot. It looks and feels more premium than its rivals with class best space on offer. The design is more interesting than the TUV also with the dash mounted gear-lever, position of the controls and the steering wheel. You get a lot of features like mood lighting, Bluetooth, steering controls, electrically adjustable ORVMs, follow-me home headlamps, cooled glove box etc. ABS with EBD is standard with option of dual airbags on all variants except top-end of course. Space is excellent and rear seat legroom/headroom is very good. On option is a six seating arrangement with three at the front. You can also use the 6th middle seat for an arm-rest. We say it is strictly for short journeys and also for children. The KUV100 has a 243 litre boot which is expandable to 473 litres.
With a starting price of Rs 4.4 lakh, no doubt the KUV100 offers a lot of value, especially in terms of its styling, features and space. Plus it is also very efficient and the engines offer decent performance. In other words the KUV100 offers everything you need from a hatch along with the desirability factor of an SUV. The top-end diesel is 6.7 lakh and we think the KUV100 is the start of a new chapter at Mahindra plus very much being a nightmare for other hatchbacks.