Visited Mahindra CAI showroom to have a look at the KUV hatchback.
Here's my brief preview: EXTERIORS:
1. Although looks awful in pics, the car looks much better in real except for the hideous front.
2. Rear looks sporty and likeable.
3. Side profile is messed up by the bonnet height and length. A bit more raked bonnet would have looked better.
4. Oh I still don't like the ugly and overdone front. Bumper looks like that of a truck.
5. The wheels are puny and 16 inchers would have done a bit of justice.
6. Alloy design is cool. Would look great if coated with matte grey or black. INTERIOR:
1. Although having a dominance of Grey and greige, Piano black and chrome touches make the cabin look better.
2. Dashboard and steering wheel are squished so closely on the firewall and windscreen.
3. Plastic quality for the most part is quite acceptable. Quality on top portion of the dash and door-pads are good while those lower down are not so good.
4. Greige on the dash-top could affect visibility in sunlight.
5. Gear-lever, mounted on the console is quite easy to access and the gear-shifts are crisp too!
6. However the unconventional layout of the console makes the AC controls a bit far away.
7. AC control knobs feel good. The AC vents are of good quality and each vent can be shut off as well. Power window and mirror buttons/ knobs are of good quality.
8. LOTS of storage spaces, cup/bottle holders and cubbyholes.
9. Storage compartment under the rear floor and the storage basket under the front "combined seat" are quite innovative and useful.
10. That storage basket is available only on the 6-seat models. It can easily hold 2 Tupperware 750 ml bottles.
11. Steering wheel quality is very good. But the wiper/light control stalks are of cheap quality.
12. Handbrake accessibility and functionality is fine for those who have driven the old MUVs,
13. Front seats have good cushioning and are comfortable. Though I would have liked adjustable lumbar support.
14. Height, recline and slide adjustment levers are well engineered and have good range of adjustment.
15. The steering wheel adjustment has good range too, but even the lowest position is quite perfect for most driving positions and I felt no need to move it further up. The highest position is too high.
16. Non adjustable seat-belts are not so good for this price.
17. The front middle seat is usable only by thin people or kids under 10.
18. The middle seat folds down to function as a lovely armrest it is very comfy. the angle can be adjusted too.
19. However with the middle seat upright, the rear seat feels claustrophobic, adding to the small rear windows. AC flow could become a problem as well.
20. The rear seats have good space with me in the driver seat. (I'm 5'10") They have good thigh support and shoulder support. However, the rear seat itself is flat and doesn't have adequate side contours.
21. Rear headrests are quite comfortable and soft.
22. Rear armrest is quite wide and comfy as well. Armrests on the doors are fabric padded and are comfy as well.
23. The front seats have a small cavity in them to improve visibility from the rear seat.
24. The front doors have quite wide opening while the rear doors aren't that wide. However it is easy to get in.
25. The overall flooring is FLAT, be it on the front as well as in the rear. 3rd person in the rear seat is not squeezed as much. STORAGE AND PRACTICALITY:
Adding to the abundance of storage places in the car, the boot is of a "respectable for hatchback" standards at 240 liters. However the loading lip is too high and the opening is narrow. So loading the boot as well as removing the full-size spare tire is not an easy process. BUILD QUALITY AND STRENGTH:
1. I was in for quite a surprise as I was expecting heavy doors and handle and the doors were quite very light. Lighter than those of my Ertiga.
2. Strength of the body panels and bumpers are comparable to those of the New Figo. Much lighter than those of the XUV. SAFETY:
standard on all variants. Dual airbags optional on all variants!
2. The middle front seat is quite very unsafe for anyone seated in it. The sales executive started justifying it's presence and safety like, "Most people don't wear seatbelts. It is approved by the govt. rules, blah, blah."
3. No airbags for the for middle passenger and only lap belt. So I don't recommend it to be used for seating people. Best used as a lovely armrest. PRICING AND VALUE:
Petrol models ranging from 5.2L to 7.05L.
Diesel models ranging from 6.2L to 8.06L.
There is nothing much unique about this car apart from the seating options. This pricing seems a bit high for the equipment and quality it offers. Going by the reviews, the engine performance isn't that great as well, so I don't think this will make a dent on the Grand i10 and the compact sedans. Other points:
1. Will be test driving both, the petrol and diesel models soon. Drive review will be online then.
2. Can't comment about the audio system quality as I didn't use it.
3. The boot of the Red display car wasn't opening. Probably jammed.
4. The Executive said that the wheels can be upgraded to 16" possibly. After-market of course. Attaching few pics:
SORRY FOR POOR QUALITY.