This month is a celebratory month for the AutoCity Group: Celebrating 18 years of service this May, AutoCity’s General Manager, Johann van Heerden is proud of the passion and drive with which the AutoCity Group have provided product and service excellence since their launch so many years ago. One of the keys to the success of this Group, according to Johann, rests on the fact that there is an understanding of how important the act of buying a car is to the customer. That being said, this Dealership strives to go the extra mile for their customers by catering to their unique and individual needs.
The Dealer Principal of AutoCity Mahindra Heidelberg is the dynamic Douw Bezuidenhout, who has more than a decade of experience in the motoring industry. By bringing his passion and respect for the brand to the table, Douw leads with kindness and humility, and can rightfully boast about this Dealership that has been allocated a variety of awards for 2017, including the coveted Dealer of the Year award (for the second year in a row). With record months behind them, Douw and his team look forward to even bigger, and better things ahead.
Piérre Nel, the Sales Manager for AutoCity Mahindra Heidelberg, is proud of the fact that he can state that he has been with this specific dealership right from the start. Mahindra Heidelberg was launched in 2012, and was right there to witness it, and be part of what has grown the Dealership into success. Feeling a deep connection to the brand and the Dealership as a whole, Piérre exudes passion and devotion to a brand, the likes of which I have rarely seen before.
Always looking forward to meeting with other women in the motoring industry, I was afforded the opportunity to get to know Chané Engelbrecht, the Sales Representative for AutoCity Mahindra Heidelberg, who has dedicated the last 6 years to this Dealership, where her career in motoring all started. Showing a competitive and ambitious side, Chané strikes me as a natural saleswoman and has an inherent affinity to working with people. She upholds the value-for-money philosophy of the Mahindra brand, and is extremely well-versed on the brand as well as the vehicles she promotes.
The vehicle of the moment is the Mahindra KUV 1OO K8, the little sister of the bigger XUV 500. With a distinctive two-tone look, the KUV has a muscular bonnet, with an aggressively styled grille that almost seems to grin at you. There are sexy fin-like ridges that trail from the bonnet along the haunches that leave a significantly sport edge to the vehicle. With stylish roof-rails and protective cladding on the sides of the vehicle and on the wheel arches, the KUV has proud SUV roots.
Refined styling characterises the interior of the KUV; there is ample space for a smaller SUV-crossover, and the piano black inserts and blue mood lighting in the door-handles are a really lovely touch. The two-tone cabin throws a sense of funky, yet sophisticated elements into the mix, and was really well receive by my pre-teen children who loved the look. I laughed at my daughter’s assessment (as a future journalist, no doubt) that the KUV only pretends to be a large and bulky SUV but that it has simply been miniaturised or “squashed” a bit. I have to agree: the confidence of a big SUV is inherent to this vehicle but boasts the benefits of the more compact crossover variety.
The three-cylinder G80, m-Falcon engine has a multipoint fuel injection and dual variable valve timing, and provides a worthy 61kW of power and 115 nM of torque in the K8 variant. Developed in-house by Mahindra in both petrol and diesel options, this engine was specifically designed to produce high low-end torque, leading to strong and responsive power, whilst maintaining superb fuel economy.
The drive of the vehicle is thoroughly enjoyable. It handles really well around corners, and remains smooth and balanced, even in harsher terrain. There is a marked sense of practicality evident in the spacious boot which I particularly like: innovative under-floor storage space is available, as well as a nifty refrigerated glove-box and a whole variety of practical nooks and crannies for storing coins, keys and the like. Charger ports are available in the front and rear of the vehicle, for further driver satisfaction.
As I not always a fan of overly-teched dashboards, I find the KUV’s on-board technology well balanced and ideal for driver comfort and convenience. The infotainment system boasts a clear TFT display, and hosts Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity (which can be controlled from the multifunction steering wheel). Dual airbags in the cockpit, child safety locks and electronic systems that include ABS, EBD and Corner Braking Control is standard on all KUV variants. The time-delayed follow-me-home headlamps remain on long enough after leaving the vehicle to illuminate your steps as you move away from the vehicle, a thoughtful touch that I am quite impressed with.
Mahindra’s reputation, and my own perception of it, has been drastically altered during the last while where I have come to know the brand. Mahindra represents quality and incorporates high standards of excellent quality, which is evident in the vehicles I have driven and reviewed, not the least of which is this delightful, practical and elegant KUV.
Back on home turf, there is an anticipation about the KUV upgrade which is being released later this year with an all-new interior, which I can only imagine will be even classier. With excellent support from Mahindra South Africa, AutoCity Mahindra Heidelberg promotes a comprehensive spectrum of products and services, as well as a family-oriented team who display round-the-clock care and empowerment of their teammates. I have found this Dealership to be a pleasant and warm environment, where product specialists, attentive salesmen and women and dedicated managers seek to attend to the customer’s every need.
Follow the Dealership on AutoCity Group
Journalist: Desh Bechan
Reporter: Inge Stols
Editor: Belinda Anderson