Mahindra KUV100 : Small car in SUV disguise

Mahindra KUV100 is targeted at customers who want an SUV feel in their cars but can’t afford a full- fledged 10 lakh+ SUV (like Scorpio). Priced between 6 to 8 lakhs on road, KUV100 is a small car but with an enhanced appeal of an SUV.

Mahindra KUV100

Looks and Design: Look wise KUV100 is a stunner. It has some unique design elements- from the front it sort of looks like a Range Rover Evoque. Headlight assembly goes all the way till A pillar incorporating the turn indicator and a badge that highlights KUV badging on one side and mFalcon (Engine name) on the other side.

The interior gets a slightly unique design-first row gets two and a half seats- the space between first two seats is provided with an extension that can seat a small kid. But no seatbelt for this half seat and if you seat someone there you can’t drive with ease. So this is best used as an armrest. Gear lever is moved on to the console and so is hand brake (which is of different design compared to other cars- Tavera gets a similar design hand brake- takes some extra effort to operate this).

The doors are taller- height is more than width. While there is adequate volume, interior does feel a bit congested- just like how you would feel in any small car, despite the tall SUV stance. Like Chevy Beat, second row door handles are in the window frame (cost cutting+ design feature)- little inconvenient and takes time to get used to.

The Drive:

KUV100 is available in both petrol and diesel variants. I drove the diesel variant. With about 77 ps, it is peppy enough at par with most diesel small cars and sedans. Top speed is reportedly rated at 140kmph. I could reach 100 without much discomfort. It was very comfortable to keep left arm on the armrest and change gears. KUV100 very much feels like a car to drive, not SUV. Diesel gets Power/Eco mode, high end variants get mood lighting, DRL and few other fancy stuff. ABS is standard in all variants, Airbag in higher variants.

There are lots of variants to suit different budget ranges – K2, K4, K6, K6+ and K8, and 5 and 6 seat configuration in most variants, prices ranging from 5.4 lakhs to 7.2 lakhs for petrol and 6.3 to 8.2 lakhs for Diesel, on road, Chennai. There are 7 colour options- the Aquamarine blue (first image in this post) looks cool while Flamboyant red and Fiery Orange are other two top selling colours. Diesel is rated for a fuel efficiency of 25 kmpl while petrol is certified for 18. Expect a practical fuel economy of about 18 and 15kmpl respectively.
What Renault has attempted with Kwid, Mahindra has tried with KUV100 but Kwid is much underpowered vehicle and doesn’t really compete with KUV. So KUV100’s target customers will be all those who would be buying a regular small car because they can’t afford an expensive SUV.

Should I buy one?

Now for 8 lakhs you can get a mid variant of Maruti Baleno or Ford Figo which are proper hatchbacks with good resale value, safety features and almost everything else you would look for in a small car. What could be the reason for someone to NOT to buy such cars and go for KUV100 instead? If you are smitten by its looks or if you are a Mahindra Fanboy or if you are super impressed by its mini-SUV positioning then you can go for KUV100. Mahindra’s packaging and pricing has been perfect. Please note that this is a new engine, new car- may take some time before all minor issues emerge and get fixed. (XUV500 had several small engineering issues that annoyed initial set of owners). It might be worth waiting for a few more months for feedback from initial set of owners to emerge on automotive forums. Already KUV100 has got lots of booking and runs 3 month plus waiting period.
-Shrinidhi Hande


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