Mahin­dra TUV300

A more pow­er­ful en­gine ad­dresses the TUV300’s big­gest draw­back

Evo India - - CONTENTS - (@BenGra­cias) Pho­tog­ra­phy: Ro­hit Mane Ben­jamin Gracias

IIF YOU FAC­TOR IN THE term ‘Com­pact SUV’, the TUV300 has a lot go­ing for it­self. Tall, rugged and im­pos­ing (rel­a­tively); it sits on a lad­der frame chassis un­like other com­pact SUVs and when it comes to go­ing off the road, its tight ap­proach and de­par­ture an­gles, high ground clear­ance and wad­ing ca­pa­bil­ity means off-road­abil­ity is only limited by the ab­sence of four-wheel drive. It is quite ca­pa­ble on tar­mac as well with good ride and sta­bil­ity. The only thing lack­ing was power. The 84bhp three-pot mo­tor was woe­fully un­der­pow­ered for a ve­hi­cle that weighed close to 1600 kilo­grams. Mahin­dra have now ad­dressed this griev­ance with a more pow­er­ful 100bhp mo­tor. The mo­tor now gains from light­weight ma­te­ri­als like alu­minium cylin­der heads and com­pos­ite ma­te­ri­als and has been mas­saged for more power and torque with a wider torque band.

On pa­per the re­sults seems promis­ing with a gain of 16bhp and 10Nm over the older mo­tor. The 3-pot mill main­tain­ing a flat­ter torque curve, peak­ing from as low as 1500rpm and stay­ing till 2800rpm. There is a stronger surge in power thanks to the way the twin-stage tur­bocharger de­liv­ers it. The twin stage turbo has two im­pellers on a com­mon shaft and has sep­a­rate valves di­rect­ing ex­haust gasses on the im­pellers to ac­ti­vate them. The smaller im­peller works at low revs to re­duce lag and fill the ini­tial torque gaps while the larger im­peller takes over at mid to high revs to pro­vide max­i­mum boost. This sys­tem mod­i­fies en­gine char­ac­ter­is­tics to be­have more like a petrol mill. The power de­liv­ery is lin­ear through­out and while you miss out on the shove as­so­ci­ated with tra­di­tional turbo mo­tors, you get a lin­ear surge with lit­tle to no turbo lag that should do well in low-speed city driv­ing. The is­sue here is that the bump up in power isn’t as no­tice­able due to the as­so­ci­ated kerb weight of 1590kg which is quite a lot for a com­pact SUV and high-speed high­way runs will be a bother. In ad­di­tion the mo­tor gets an AMT op­tion with op­ti­mised shifts and a creep func­tion.

On the in­side is the same au­then­tic SUV-es­que com­mand­ing driv­ing po­si­tion and well-ap­pointed cabin with two new up­dates. The rear seat gets more cush­ion­ing at the base for more un­der thigh sup­port though for my five-foot eight-inch frame it felt like it could do with some more. The sec­ond up­date is with the en­gi­neers do­ing away with the in­vis­i­ble man in the cabin and voice alerts limited only to seat­belt and hand­brake warn­ings. The ride is SUV-like with great bump ab­sorp­tion though it could do with a bit more sec­ondary damp­ing di­alled in, es­pe­cially at the rear as at slow speed, jud­ders as­so­ci­ated with small speed break­ers and rum­ble strips are felt by the oc­cu­pants. The body roll is well con­trolled with anti-roll bars at the front and rear and though it is hardly en­thu­si­as­tic round corners, the ap­proach­ing lim­its of the ve­hi­cle are sig­nalled well in ad­vance by the 15-inch Ceat tyres. The brakes have good ini­tial bite and the ve­hi­cle tracks straight un­der hard brak­ing.

The mHawk100 will come in two top-spec vari­ants. The T8 vari­ant will re­tail at `8.99 lakh while the AMT-equipped T8 is priced at `9.72 lakh. With added power, this TUV300 makes a bet­ter case for it­self as a com­pact SUV de­liv­er­ing an au­then­tic SUV vibe at an af­ford­able cost. As for the styling – you can make up your own mind on it.

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