So, after endless spy shots, breaking palace doors and whatnot, the TUV300 is here and we have just come back from a long drive to decipher everything about this much awaited compact SUV. The TUV300 is a good product, but it needed to be, as after the Quanto which was nothing but a chopped up Xylo, Mahindra needed a solid hit and this one has all the right ingredients. Mahindra had promised a compact SUV onslaught and the first one is the TUV300 which competes with the likes of the Ford EcoSport, Renault Duster and others. TUV300 is available in seven variants and six colours.
Powertrain and Performance
The TUV300 gets a 1.5 litre mHawk diesel engine developing 84 bhp and 230Nm of torque. This engine is more advanced than its brethren as it uses a 2-stage turbocharger. A 5-speed manual is standard while you can also opt for the 5-speed AMT gearbox (AMT version has 81 bhp). The TUV300 drives much better than the Quanto with minimal turbo-lag which makes for a smoother driving experience. Do remember that this is not for speed junkies and then you will be fine as the engine feels strained at high rpms so it is best driven with gentle throttle inputs. Instead of outright performance, Mahindra have focussed on a better bottom-end response which you will appreciate in the city. The 5-speed manual is not slick though and the throws are long.
The TUV300 has an ECO mode which helps in increasing efficiency (official figure 18.49 kmpl) but at the cost of performance. There are other things that the TUV300 also does well in, like overall ride and handling plus refinement. Noise levels are well controlled aside from the vibrations from the gear lever. The TUV300 also has much better stability and body control than the Quanto and while it is no match for an EcoSport in the fun factor, it is massively improved here compared to other Mahindra SUVs. The high ground clearance also helps it tackle bad roads very well.
Build and Styling
TUV stands for tough utility vehicle plus the design has been inspired by a battle tank. While I cannot fathom the battle tank inspiration in the looks, tough it sure is. The TUV300 is anti-fashion and drifts away from the crossover trend with only ruler straight lines with a nod to a certain 90s American SUV. It sure has presence though and looks much bigger than what its dimensions suggest (Length 3995mm, Width 1835mm and Height 1839mm). The big grille, healthy ground clearance and that tailgate-mounted spare wheel gives the pukka SUV look which will be loved by all.
Inside its subtle and classy plus we think its the best Mahindra interior yet. Quality levels have been upped and its a pleasant place though there is some inconsistency in quality in some areas but still it is the nicest cabin yet from Mahindra. We liked the steering wheel plus the neatly laid out centre console. With a 2680mm wheelbase the TUV300 is very spacious with enough space for three to sit comfortably at the second row. The same cannot be said for the third row as though the TUV300 is a seven seater (5+2) but with two jump seats it is uncomfortable for long journeys. With those seats folded you will get 720 litres of space as with them its 384 litres.
In terms of features you have static bending lamps (you have an additional bulb which truns on when taking a turn), 2-DIN music system with Bluetooth, USB and aux, Mahindra Blue Sense app, intellipark reverse assist, voice messaging system, micro hybrid tech etc.
Let us get one thing clear, the TUV300 is on another level when compared to the Quanto and we see no reason why anyone would buy that. Plus we think the TUV300 in some areas is better than even the Scorpio! While being far for perfect the TUV300 as a package is the best Mahindra yet. Yes, while its looks are an acquired taste and it cannot match the EcoSport in some areas, there is no doubt that if you want a spacious and tough compact SUV then the TUV300 is your only choice.