Mahindra KUV100 NXT – a new ride for the millennial

The facelifted Mahindra KUV100 NXT has officially gone on sale in India. The refreshed model comes with about 40 new updates and features which is why the company has rechristened it to 'KUV100 NXT'. Karthick Annamalai examines the claim.

Mahindra and Mahindra, the doyen of Jeep Manufacturing in India and the pioneering SUV manufacturer, was once the king of SUVs with its Bolero and Scorpio brands. At that time, the manufacturer declared that they would not venture into developing hatchbacks and sedans.

India’s love for the SUV, especially with poor road conditions is growing exponentially and this came as a shot in the arm for a manufacturer like Mahindra. Its crave for venturing into the mass market tochallenge the might of the Maruti Swift, and Hyundai’s Grand i10 / i20 led it to introduce a small compact small SUV – the KUV 100, which met with limited success. Now, Mahindra has thoroughly refreshed the vehicle to lift the sale of its small SUV and the vehicle even got a new moniker KUV 100 NXT to herald its arrival and differences from its previous avatar. We check out how much of a difference it really makes.

Design

The design has not changed in any remarkable way with the advent of the NXT, however, there are many subtle changes. The headlamp design is more upmarket and it retains the DRL. The front grille looks unruffled with chrome inserts and bumpers are redesigned with huge air dam and silver skid plates. 15 inch alloy and turn indicators mounting the external ORVMs are new to the side profile. Look closely, you will find the 25mm addition in KUV100 length, which enhances its ability to navigate through taller parking ramps easily.

Engine

Under the hood, the Mahindra KUV100 NXT retains the same engines. It continues to be powered by the 1.2-litre all-aluminium mFalcon G80 3-cylinder petrol motor that produces 82bhp of power and 114Nm of torque. Whereas, the oil burner will be a 1.2-litre 3-cylinder turbocharged common-rail diesel engine, named mFalcon D75, which develops 77bhp along with 190Nm of torque. Just like before, engines are tuned to extract more km per litre and focused on the driveability within the city where drivers are expected to spend most of their time.

Interiors and Features

The KUV100 NXT gets two interior shades to choose from–lower spec trims are finished in grey while higher trims get an all-black shade. Also, new is the 7 inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation maps from Mapmyindia. It is expected that with millennia’s love for ICE systems, this new system will tempt them to go for the K8 trim. However, absence of android and apple connectivity is a bit of a bother – you have to make an effort to make sense of the Mahindra Bluesense app ensconced on the system. Power folding mirrors with turn indicators, steering mounted audio control, remote lock/unlock for tail gate, driver seat height adjust and cooled glove box are other lovable features of the car.

Ride and Handling

Mahindra has tuned the suspension of KUV100 for better ride-ability. The suspension now gets a longer travel rate of 150mm for the front and 200mm for the rear, which ensures a comfortable ride over bad roads. However, this has an after effect too. On open roads, its bobbing lowers your confidence to attack corners. Additionally, Mahindra has made changes to the engine damping too to improve refinement levels.

Colours and Price

KUV100 NXT is available in two new dual tone colours - red & metallic black and silver & metallic black in addition to the single tone colours – orange, white,silver,grey, black and red. It is available in 10 trims and priced between Rs4,41,654 to Rs6,50,453 (petrol variants) and Rs5,41,695 to Rs7,42,886 (diesel variants). All prices are ex-showroom, Bangalore.

Verdict

Competing in the crossover-hatchback space, KUV100 had no real threat from Etios Cross and i20 Active but the advent of Maruti Ignis has unsettled the KUV100. However, itsoriginal competitor was the Maruti Swift and Hyundai’s Grand i10 with which it failed to compete well. Now, with the advent of the Ignis, the NXT will possibly have to make its next move soon enough for it lacks the finesse of modern and more upmarket hot hatches.


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