Mahindra launches the TUV 300 in India priced between INR 6.90 and 9.12 Lakhs

One of the most frequently spotted models on test in Indian roads over the last year or so has been the Mahindra TUV 300. In fact, we have personally seen this Sport Utility Vehicle testing in the harsh mountains of Ladakh as well as in the plains south of Chennai. We were also the first automotive site in India to reveal the TUV 300 almost uncovered, thus revealing its design direction. Just when we thought we have had enough of it, Mahindra finally launched the TUV 300 in the Indian market last week.

Said to be inspired by a battle tank, the TUV 300 is a departure from the prevailing trend in vehicular design. In this age of swoopy and curvy designs with cuts and creases everywhere, the TUV 300 is refreshingly straight and boxy. The tall nose, flat hood, slab-sided profile and the upright rear with tailgate-mounted spare wheel imparts the TUV 300 with that much-needed SUV appeal. But, certain aspects of the design could have been much better. The headlights, for instance, doesn't gel too well with the otherwise squarish design while the rectangular wheel arches accentuates the gap between the body and the tires. Beefier rubber would have made a significant difference to the overall appeal of TUV 300. 

As we saw with the refreshed Scorpio and XUV 500, Mahindra is cleaning up their messy design language and the TUV 300 is yet another step in the right direction for the brand.

From the looks of it, the interiors of the TUV 300 appears to be the best effort yet from Mahindra. The interiors of the TUV 300 is a tasteful mix of biege and black plastic with the twin-pod instrument cluster and the hexagonal center console being the highlights. The top-end TUV 300 comes loaded with features such as automatic climate control, steering-mounted audio and phone controls, Mahindra's Blue Sense app, Bluetooth capability, keyless entry, static bending lights and USB/Aux-In supportability. Quality seems to have gone up too, with the TUV 300 appearing nowhere as crude as some of its stablemates like the Bolero and Thar.

For a change, an Indian automobile manufacturer is embracing safety! Not only does Mahindra claim the TUV 300 is capable of meeting the current Indian and European safety regulations, it also says the TUV 300 is ready for the future regulations coming into effect in India from 2017. Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and dual airbags are standard on the top variant but can be bought as optional extras from the base variant itself. Kudos to the product planning team at Mahindra for taking this small but significant step forward!

Powering the TUV 300 is a new 1.5-liter three-cylinder diesel engine dubbed 'mHawk 80'. Equipped with a two-stage turbocharger, this mill is capable of producing 84 horsepower and 230 Nm of torque. Mated to this engine is a 5-speed manual transmission. Jumping into the AMT bandwagon finally, Mahindra is also offering the option of an Automated Manual Transmission called 'AutoSHIFT' in the top two variant of TUV 300.

Prices for the base T4 variant start at INR 6.9 Lakhs while the top-end T8 variant with AMT retails at INR 9.12 Lakhs ex-showroom Pune. While the overall pricing is pretty bang on and offers good value for the money, the AMT variants are priced at a premium of INR 72,000 which is a whopping margin for what's essentially an hydraulic actuator.

Agreed, the design is polarizing. But with Mahindra playing its cards wisely, the TUV 300 looks boxy, is kitted well, can seat seven occasionally and is propelled by a frugal yet reasonably powerful engine. Will the car-buying public overlook some of its weird styling elements and embrace the TUV 300? Let's wait and see.

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