New people mover set to shake up the segment
Frankly, I’ve never fancied Mahindra’s wildlife inspired designs. There’s something about the busy design of the grille that takes attention away from the bodywork, making it a prominent focal point. Much in your face and not so in a pleasing way. The current iteration of the XUV 500 looks much more soothing to the eyes with a cleaner, more symmetrical grille. The shark playing protagonist in the Marazzo’s design story on the other hand, has taken a more attractive silhouette. The grille, still prominent, is smaller and complements the fluid shape that’s come out as a brainchild of Pininfarina, Italy and Mahindra Design Studio. Cleaner lines, rounder shape, yet athletic in its appearance, the Marazzo’s design is decidedly attractive.
That’s just the outer appearance. Time is spent inside the car and the Marazzo scores on a variety of aspects with its interior design. The engine’s layout and front-wheel drive set-up helps maximize in-cabin space. Climb aboard and a spacious, airy cabin draped in light greys and contrasting blacks, greets you in an ambience that reflects a glint of premium. None of the fancy wooden this and brushed aluminium that for the Marazzo as it sticks to the basics and makes use of plastic in varied textures and shapes. Soft plastics also get a miss from the dash but that has been compensated with material that seems like it’ll age well and is robust enough to last the life of the car. Yet, the interior is another example of how simplistic designs can be visually appealing and comfortable. The driver holds a chunky steering and can easily shift gears despite the presence of an armrest. Thoughtful placement makes the armrest a boon for long cruises while not hindering driving actions. The unconventional centrally mounted air conditioning setup for the second and third row occupants did an impressive job of cooling the cabin quickly. Then again, minor misses in the cabin were a tad disappointing. The omission of a door lock/unlock button, the absence of a start/stop button, lack of lane changing function on the indicator stalk, no height adjustment for the seat belts, no support
for Apple CarPlay these are all small exclusions but ones that add to the driver’s convenience and will possibly be seen in the first facelift in its production cycle.
Marazzo’s overall dimensions measure more than the Maruti-Suzuki Ertiga and a tad smaller than the Toyota Innova and the Tata Hexa. It finds its closest rival in the Renault Lodgy but has some cards rolled up its sleeves to leave it behind. Mahindra claims best-in-class shoulder room in the first and second rows while also boasting a low step-in height. Sitting inside, the MPV definitely feels roomy with enough space to spare between the front seat occupants. Individual seats in the second row on our top-spec M8 trim amplifies the feeling of in-cabin space while the third row bench, could seat average heighted adults but in reduced comfort. A bench in the second row should see three adults seated abreast comfortably.
The anticipation however, was of the part where the right foot meets the throttle pedal. The more popular Mahindra’s that I’ve driven have been powered by the 2.2-litre engine. Given the generous dimensions of the Marazzo and the 1.5-litre engine, anticipation soon turned to apprehension. Although, driving the MPV came as a breath of fresh air. Firstly, the engine is surprisingly refined. It is smooth and quiet, unlike the Mahindra’s
of yore and even better than the 1.5-litre unit in the TUV300. This is a new engine thus explaining the improved characteristics. Silent while idling with minimal diesel clatter, the engine maintains its quite running even while on the go. Shifts are smooth and the gears positively slot into their gates. The engine is surely eager to build up revs, credited to the lighter internal components but not many revs mind you, as the engine starts running out of steam as early as 3,000rpm beyond which it feels strained. Push it towards 4,000rpm and it won’t be hard for one to tell that the time to shift up was long gone. Nevertheless, the engine easily manages to cruise at three digit speeds and that’s primarily what you’re looking at as highway quality improve by the day and speed limits have reached 120kmph (the Eastern Peripheral Expressway around Delhi NCR is a prime example). Moreover, it’s the kind of refinement along with the sound insulation of the cabin that adds to the delight of driving the Marazzo. 121bhp and 300Nm of power outputs feel more than enough to haul the MPV’s 1.7 ton kerb weight.
Mahindra has opted for a transversely mounted, front-engined, front wheel drive format riding on a ladder frame. This setup has ensured impeccable road manner for the Marazzo. Despite its long 2,760mm wheelbase, the MPV turns into corners with ease and even goes through traffic with the grace of a sedan more than an MPV. It is extremely easy to manoeuvre into tight parking spaces thanks to the tight 5.25m turning radius. The ride quality is another talking point as it greatly complements the handling with excellent absorption ability, gobbling away the nastiest of roads that the monsoon had dug up.
DESPITE ITS LONG 2,760MM WHEELBASE, THE MPV TURNS INTO CORNERS WITH EASE AND EVEN GOES THROUGH TRAFFIC WITH THE GRACE OF A SEDAN MORE THAN AN MPV
Dubbed D15, the engine uses lighter components for better, smoother performance while also keeping noise and vibrations in check
1. The overall layout, colour combination and use of materials in the cabin feels premium. 2. Aircraft-inspired handbrake lever is a bit too big and could have been easier to operate
A unique air distribution system disperses air equally across the cabin as cooling was quick and effective even after the MPV stood under direct sunlight. An 8-seater version sees the 2nd row captain seats replaced with a bench