After an awesome experience test-driving my first Mahindra last month (XUV 5OO), I was really looking forward to following this up with another visit to the fantastic Mahindra East Rand Mall dealership to check out their “big little” SUV, the KUV 1OO K8, this past week.
Much to my delight, there was a two-tone KUV waiting for me as I arrived. A very unique-looking vehicle, the KUV is styled with a muscular bonnet and aggressive, confident grille-elements that almost look like a smile. The fin-like ridges that follow from the bonnet, along the haunches and touching on the side mirrors give the car a sporty look that I really like, and really distinguishes it from the other cars on the road. With stylish roof rails and protective cladding on the sides and wheel arches, the KUV is a nod to its SUV DNA, much like the big daddy Mahindra the XUV 5OO.
The interior is lovely too, with refined styling and ample space for a vehicle in this class; with piano black inserts and blue mood lighting in the door-handles, the two-tone interior is a fantastic mix of sophistication and funkiness. Having loaded my family into the KUV, I couldn’t help but grin at my daughter’s assessment (as a future journalist, no doubt) that the KUV seems to be a large and bulky SUV that has simply been miniaturised or “squashed” a bit. The KUV certainly gives off the confidence, presence and attitude of a big SUV, with all the benefits of a compact, smaller vehicle. Not the least of which is the fuel efficiency.
Sporting a low fuel consumption rate despite a robust engine (three-cylinder G80 engine with multipoint fuel injection and dual variable valve timing), the K8 variant I am driving provides a satisfying 61 kW of power and 115 nM torque. The all-new mFalcon engine, developed in-house by Mahindra in both petrol and diesel options, is designed to provide high low-end torque, ensuring great responsiveness and superb fuel economy.
Thoroughly enjoying the drive of the KUV, I note it has great handling around corners and is smooth over rougher terrain, nodding back to its SUV ancestry. Its practicality extends to the spacious boot that also boasts innovative under-floor storage space, a cooled glove-box and a host of useful nooks and crannies for storing coins, keys and the like. There is even a charger point in the rear of the vehicle.
As far as comfort and convenience go, the KUV has accessible technology that is designed to complement and pamper the driver. The infotainment system has a clear TFT display and allows for Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, controlled at a fingers’ touch on the multifunction steering wheel. Safety is also paramount, with dual airbags in the front, child safety locks, ABS, EBD and CBC (Corner Braking Control) which comes standard in all variants. A cool feature I particularly likes is the time-delayed follow-me-home headlamps that stay on long enough after exiting your vehicle to illuminate your steps to your front door.
The KUV 1OO is a remarkable little vehicle, packed with attitude and features, with comfort and convenience also in mind that really make this vehicle stand out to me. Having had a second memorable and pleasant experience with Mahindra, I am left with a pleasant aftertaste of pride and excitement for what the brand has to offer – priced from R190 000 for the top of the range variant, even the price on this vehicle is fantastic!
By Desh Bechan