Mahin­dra Marazzo

New peo­ple mover set to shake up the seg­ment

Auto Today - - Dashboard - PIC­TURES Gur­deep Bhalla

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

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