Currently, most automakers are concentrating on building new small SUVs that are just under four metres long. This is one of the quickest-growing segments, and most manufacturers are now working on it. Mahindra, on the other hand, had other ideas. The company did introduce the TUV300, which is a compact SUV with an SUV below it. The KUV100 is the smallest passenger vehicle ever produced by Mahindra. We take the tiniest Mahindra for a ride and report back on how nice it is.
Although the KUV100 is advertised as an SUV, it is essentially a beefed-up hatchback that will compete against the Maruti Suzuki Swift, Hyundai Grand i10, and the newly released Ford Figo. As a result, it features a monocoque chassis, a transversely placed engine, and front-wheel drive. However, because it is required to be referred to as an SUV, the KUV100 has a high ground clearance of 170mm. However, it isn’t particularly enormous. It is the shortest in its class, measuring 3675mm in length. It also has the shortest wheelbase at 2385mm. The KUV100, on the other hand, is the tallest at 1655mm (with roof rails).
The front of this pumped-up hatchback features a streamlined front grille, a buff bumper, and huge pulled-back headlamps with LEDs embossed with the KUV100 logo. Because of the short greenhouse area, the side profile appears aggressive. The rear door handles, dubbed Chevrolet Beat, are similarly integrated into the rear window panel. The back, on the other hand, is less forceful, looks more appetising, and is reasonably current. Pearl White, Aquamarine, Dazzling Silver, Flamboyant Red, Fiery Orange, Designer Grey, and Midnight Black are the seven colours offered for the KUV100.
The interiors of the Mahindra KUV100 are well-designed. The flowing dashboard design pattern is simple, but it’s one of a kind in its category. The new Mahindra steering wheel on the KUV100 is attractive and comfortable to use. The instrument cluster is simple to read and even has a driver information system with a gear-shift indicator. With AC vents, a simple in-dash music system, vertically stacked AC controls, and a gear shifter alongside, the centre console has a modest appearance. The materials’ fit and finish, as well as their appearance and feel, are good, but the construction quality could have been better.
The KUV100 has two seating configurations: one with five seats and the other with six. The six is a 3+3 seater with a bench-style seat in the front, but the five-seater has true bucket seats. The driver and passenger in the former have three-point seat belts and airbags (airbags are an option unless you decide for the top-of-the-line K* variant). The front-middle passenger, on the other hand, is denied both; there is only a lap belt and very little legroom.
The area in front is adequate for two individuals. And with three abreast in the back, things don’t get too crowded or uncomfortable. Of course, the KUV100’s class-leading breadth helps. It also has a lot of headroom due to its height. In addition, the KUV100 offers a well-designed cabin with plenty of storage, smartly placed cup and bottle holders, and storage under the seats. The boot, with 243 litres, is, nevertheless, a tad on the tiny side. It also features a large loading lip.
One area where the Mahindra KUV100 excels is in features and equipment. The top-of-the-line K8 boasts the most features. Dual airbags, ABS with EBD, keyless entry, in-dash music system with Bluetooth, USB and aux connectivity, steering mounted audio controls, electrically folding mirrors, daytime running LEDs, puddle lamps for all four doors, micro-hybrid technology, Power-Eco Mode (only for diesel engine), power outlet in the second row, ambient lighting, foldable rear seat, and even ISOFIX child seat mounts are all standard features.
Driven by Results
The KUV100 is equipped with two identically sized engines. The petrol engine, the mFalcon G80, is a three-cylinder 1.2-litre aluminium unit. On both the intake and exhaust sides, it has variable valve timing. At 5500rpm, it produces 82bhp and 115Nm of peak torque at 3500rpm.
It isn’t the most refined of engines. At idle, it vibrates a lot, and it doesn’t really start pulling until 4000rpm. As a result, getting the best performance out of it necessitates a lot of effort. The power delivery, on the other hand, is linear and should be suitable for city driving if you aren’t in a rush. It has an ARAI-estimated fuel efficiency of 18.15 kilometres per gallon.
The diesel engine is the mFalcon D75, which produces 77bhp at 3750rpm and 190Nm at 1750-2250rpm. The D75 is a touch noisy, as is usual with diesels. However, power delivery is linear and useable once again. Once the turbo spools up, there’s no significant kick, and this one, like the petrol, should operate nicely in the city. Both engines are paired with a five-speed manual transmission with short, snappy shifts. The clutch travel is also limited, which isn’t always a good thing.
In terms of handling, the Mahindra KUV100 isn’t the quickest in its class, but that was to be expected considering the KUV’s height and weight. The brakes, on the other hand, were excellent, and the steering wheel was light enough for city driving.
The KUV100 is a one-of-a-kind vehicle that offers high ground clearance and an SUV-like posture at this pricing point. It has decent engines, is easy to drive, and the fit and finish isn’t poor by any means, even if it isn’t the best in class. But it’s the fact that ABS is standard on all trim levels that really sells the KUV100. Even so, it is very reasonably priced. It’s a fantastic value for money deal. The K8 is the greatest option, but if you can’t afford it, the K6 is a solid value alternative.