Runs on the board

The Mahin­dra Ge­nio has just been up­dated with new safety kit and Euro 5 emis­sions. Let’s load it up and take it for a spin

Australian Transport News - - Contents - WORDS MATT WOOD

The Mahin­dra Ge­nio has just been up­dated with new safety kit and Euro 5 emis­sions

Ireckon I’ll al­ways as­so­ciate the sound of ra­dio cricket com­men­tary with the sound of ci­cadas in the trees and the clunk of a post hole driver. I’ve never worked out why my old man used to de­cide to fence in summer. The ground is like con­crete!

And that’s not tak­ing into ac­count blis­ter­ing heat and a cloud of friendly fl ies.

Re­gard­less, our trusty old one-tonne farm ute would al­ways sit within earshot, with the doors hang­ing open and the tinny AM ra­dio set to speaker- dis­tort­ing vol­umes.

The com­men­tary of Tony Grieg and Richie Be­naud and the clack of bat on ball would rat­tle out over the pad­docks.

Which, speak­ing of ob­scure crick­et­ing analo­gies, brings me to the In­dian man­u­fac­tured Mahin­dra Ge­nio. Avail­able in both sin­gle cab and dual cab, the Ge­nio has just been up­dated for Euro 5 emis­sions and this up­date has also seen the ad­di­tion of some more kit.

The line-up has also seen a lit­tle bit of a stream­line with the drop­ping of 4x4 models. This leaves off-road du­ties for the big­ger Pik-Up model.

And like so many mod­ern utes th­ese days, with the Mahin­dra Ge­nio you can’t fence and lis­ten to the cricket. If you leave the key in the ig­ni­tion on ac­ces­sory and the doors open, it will beep at you un­til you ei­ther start the en­gine or re­move the key. You’d think that a ve­hi­cle from cricket-mad In­dia would make the abil­ity for lis­ten to cricket com­men­tary at all times a pri­or­ity!

FORM AND FUNC­TION

The Ge­nio cer­tainly has a unique look. Many will gri­mace at its profi le, but there’s some func­tion to its form.

The com­bi­na­tion of a high seat­ing po­si­tion and short slop­ing bon­net makes for great vis­i­bil­ity; the cab profi le is very sim­i­lar to a cab chas­sis van, just on a smaller scale.

Un­der that slop­ing snout is Mahin­dra’s 2.2-litre in­ter­cooled 4-cylin­der tur­bod­iesel backed by a 5-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion. This power plant makes 88kW (118hp) and 280Nm of torque. There’s a choice of a stan­dard 2.4m alu­minium tray or an op­tional 2.7m tray. Pay­load for the sin­gle cab vari­ant is a de­cent 1200kg. Braked tow­ing is 1800kg.

This Euro 5 up­date has seen the ad­di­tion of elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol, auto start stop and hill- start assist and de­scent con­trol.

Given that it is pri­mar­ily aimed at ren­tal fleets, small busi­ness and those on the land, the Ge­nio is pretty well equipped for around-town du­ties as well as beat­ing around the boonies. There’s de­cent ground clear­ance on of­fer for farm du­ties and the stan­dard side steps pro­vide some body pro­tec­tion in the off chance you run over a stray tree branch or large rock.

The un­der-step LED cour­tesy lights that light up the ground un­der the doors are also a nice touch. No­body wants to step on a sleep­ing brown snake!

BOWL­ING ALONG

The 2.2-litre mHawk en­gine seems pretty mod­est on pa­per. How­ever, from be­hind the wheel, it’s ac­tu­ally quite a strong per­former. There’s a lit­tle lag on take- off but once the nee­dle ticks 2000rpm it turns on the power tap.

Mahin­dra is also claim­ing a de­cent 7.5L/ 100km fuel fi gure for the Ge­nio. Our cou­ple of weeks on the road saw fuel av­er­ages un­der 10L/ 100km, so it’s pretty fru­gal.

Not sur­pris­ingly, there’s a bit of jig­gle in the Ge­nio’s ride when empty. We also threw half a tonne of ce­ment in the back to see how it coped with a load and found it rode well with only a lit­tle lat­eral sway at high­way speeds.

The en­gine also en­joyed the load and hauled well. The 5-speed ‘ box shift s like a light truck, but this clearly isn’t a sports car. The ra­tios are well spaced to make the most of the en­gine’s out­put.

Driver and pas­sen­ger ac­com­mo­da­tion is com­fort­able enough. This in­te­rior is clearly made to cope with the grime of a work­ing day. How­ever, baffl in­gly, rub­ber floor mats are an op­tion and are a part of a pack­age that in­cludes can­vas seat cov­ers.

Stor­age is ad­e­quate and there’s quite a bit of room be­hind the seats if needed.

Al­loy wheels are also an op­tion, though given that this truck isn’t re­ally a show pony, I can’t see many cus­tomers tick­ing that box.

A Tradie Pack adds a Blue­tooth hands-free phone kit that also has a cou­ple of USB charg­ing out­lets.

Our test ve­hi­cle had this op­tion and while it worked okay around town, it didn’t cope with the back­ground noise of high­way speeds very well. STRAIGHT BAT Sure the Ge­nio is a bit agri­cul­tural and there’s not a lot of badge cred­i­bil­ity to be had. But, as a busi­ness ap­pli­ance, it cer­tainly seems more than up to the task of be­ing a light com­mer­cial beast of bur­den.

There are a few nig­gles with the Mahin­dra. For a start, the dash lights are very bright and have no dim­mer, which is dis­tract­ing when driv­ing at night.

The auto start/stop is ter­ri­bly slow. In fact, it’s the fi rst thing I turned off when I jumped in. If I owned it I’d have it dis­con­nected.

None of this is a deal breaker. How­ever, the big­gest nig­gle was the anti- car­jack au­to­matic door lock­ing. Once you get rolling, like many mod­ern ve­hi­cles, the doors lock.

But, when you go to hop out, the door doesn’t un­lock with the in­side door han­dle. You have to phys­i­cally lift the door lock but­ton next to your shoul­der.

Farm­ers, a tar­get mar­ket for this ute, will soon tire of this when stop­ping to open mul­ti­ple gates on a large prop­erty.

But th­ese nig­gles aside, the Ge­nio is a well-priced, tough, basic lit­tle work truck. It’s cer­tainly not a pas­sion pur­chase and lacks a lit­tle fi nesse com­pared to its pricier main­stream com­peti­tors.

Yet hav­ing spent quite some time with Mahin­dra prod­uct both on and off road in the past, it’s a de­pend­able op­tion for those who value cost- ef­fec­tive func­tion over form, and it plays a straight bat.

The Mahin­dra Ge­nio is priced from $21,990 drive away for the sin­gle cab and $25,490 for the dual cab.

“It’s a de­pend­able op­tion for those who value cost-e ec­tive func­tion over form, and it plays a straight bat”

Left: The Ge­nio o ers great vis­i­bil­ity and quite re­spectable ground clear­ance for a 4x2

Above: Not the most at­trac­tive ute on the mar­ket but there’s func­tion to its form

Clock­wise from top left: The in­te­rior styling may be an ac­quired taste but it’s com­fort­able enough with a de­cent amount of space; Hill-de­scent con­trol is a nice ad­di­tion to the Ge­nio; The in­ter­cooled mHawk en­gine per­forms bet­ter than the power gures would sug­gest. Euro 5 has seen the ad­di­tion of a DPF Op­po­site: The op­tional 2.7m tray pro­vides plenty of real es­tate for a load

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