…like a body-on-ladder SUV that thinks it’s a ballet dancer. We know Mahindra made huge improvements in the new Scorpio in areas like chassis, suspension and braking. And, that learning can be seen on the TUV300 as well. Moreover, because the TUV is lighter, and it has a more squarish footprint, this sub-4m SUV feels better still around a series of bends; it is more composed, lighter on its feet when making direction changes, and more stable and less wayward under hard braking. The steering feels more alive and sharper too.
But, among its class of cars, the TUV300 is still found wanting; I guess, there’s just no getting away from all that weight that comes from being a ladder-based SUV. The TUV300 rolls around - at times excessively - when driven hard around corners. And, because it has a blocky tread pattern, grip levels aren’t great either, especially in the wet.
But, the body-on-ladder construction has its advantages too. For one, having such an SUV means, one doesn’t have to bother with the potholes, the speed breakers, the waterlogged underpasses, or the end of the world, the TUV just sails through it all. It is hardy; it smothers almost everything in its way; and even though it has an underlying stiffness to its ride, not to mention, the jiggle characteristic of body-on-ladder construction, the TUV300 still makes for a planted and pleasing ride.
As with the TUV300’s ride quality, its engine - the 1.5-litre, three-cylinder diesel with 84bhp and 230Nm of peak torque – is agreeable too. It is refined for a three cylinder, and quiet. It has good low and mid-range torque which makes driving in the city a breeze. It doesn’t require frequent gear changes, for it pulls without hesitation even from as low as 1,400rpm.
Moreover, there’s hardly any turbo lag; the power delivery and throttle response is linear; and the TUV300 has a light, progressive and easy-on-the-calf clutch operation.
However, unlike other Mahindra engines, this one seems a bit weak when it comes to packing in performance, especially towards the top. In fact, if you like driving quickly, prefer quick overtakes, or even a healthy top speed, the TUV just won’t do it for you. Not only does the engine lose steam by the time it hits 3,500rpm, it also gets noisy. The best way to drive this Mahindra then is to short shift, and ride the mid- range.