Where do I even begin? This is not going to have a happy ending – but I swear, this little buggy has some redeeming features and I’m hell bent on sharing them with you. Later.
But first, just look at it
It’s sort of cute, to a degree. Visually, it does a bad job of straddling the line between Mogwai and Gremlin, a tall box which I’ve named Kate, as in K8, as in just one of the many nomenclatures on its boot.
Even the headlamps have the word ‘Falcon’ etched into them. The newly revised front-end now features a seven-slat grille and the stylists really tapped into their inner Lexus with bejewelled rear lamp clusters. Both front and rear bumpers now incorporate silver skid plates, because I suspect they’d like us to think it a rival to the likes of the Ford EcoSport. Which it emphatically isn’t, despite what appears to be a significantly raised suspension at 170mm.
The bodywork is rendered in two-tone thanks to a blackened roof, good call as it helps subvert that tallboy profile. They even made the effort to hide the rear door handles into the C Pillars. In each gaping chasm of an arch you’ll find a diamond-cut 15-inch alloy hoop – this is the range topper after all, while derivatives below must make do with 14-inch steelies.
So, it comes with LED daytime running lamps, foglamps and folding mirrors. But what happens when you venture inside and take it onto the open road?
In and about?
Perch yourself atop its material covered pews and you’ll encounter a few things. Such as the somewhat raised viewpoint, good. The gear lever sprouting from the dashboard, weird. The cabin is by far the least convincing aspect of the little Mahindra, feeling altogether odd whilst being adorned with a few modern conveniences and faux premium accents.
Oddball ergonomics? Check
Like every other attribute of the KUV, it isn’t terrible – just different and somewhat dated. Sure, you get a seven-inch infotainment screen, Bluetooth (and other) forms of connectivity, parking sensors at the rear, steering wheel mounted controls and remote locking.
Swing her ignition into life and you’re met with the familiar thrum of a three-potter. Rev it up, point it down some road and you’ll encounter a noisy din and handling that feels top heavy, and due to the sail-like profile suffers from being shoved around by cross winds. Maximum outputs of 62kW and 115Nm means top speed is rated at a maximum of 140kph. Good - because going faster than that would be terrifying.
Okay, let’s wrap this up
When I eventually dipped into its catalogue I was pleased to see that a KUV100 could be had as cheaply as R134,995. Suddenly, I was much more forgiving of its low rent interior, its oddball ergonomics and agricultural underpinnings.
But then I saw that this particular model cost R199,999. Two hundred thousand rand? For this? I can literally think of no reason to buy it. Sorry Mahindra, you’re not helping India in the race against against China.
Look, it exhibited zero faults or failures in the time I had it, so that has to count for something. But I can’t ignore that there are a ton of cars for this price and under that I can say the same thing about. Sorry Kate, it’s not me, it’s you.
Mahindra KUV100 NXT G80 K8 Spec:
|Engine ||1.2 litre, 3-cyl petrol|
|Gearbox ||5 speed manual|
|Top Speed ||140kph|
|Average Fuel Consumption||5.9l/100kph|
Includes a 3 year/50 000 km service plan (with intervals pegged at 10 000 km)
More about Mahindra
Mahindra remain the only manufacturer other than
Chrysler that can lay official claim to the original Willy’s Jeep legacy
with their Thar – hence the seven-slat grill. It’s worth remembering
that they’ve not been manufacturing passenger cars for all that long,
2007 marked their first attempt at a passenger car with the Renault
Logan – remember that one?
We did however love their Scorpio Pikup
very much, you can read more about that one here - Mahindra S10 Pik Up Review - 2.2 MHAWK 4x4 Double Cab