The interior of the Verito Vibe is unchanged from the sedan – if you’ve sat in a Logan, you’ll already know how much space and comfort is on offer. It is also one of the few hatchbacks that can truly seat five adults in comfort. The layout of the controls is carried over from the sedan, meaning that the power window switches are placed on the driver’s side door, the dials are clear and informative, and everything is where it is supposed to be, well within reach of the driver.
I still would like telescopic adjustment for the steering system, considering there is so much legroom. This would make it a shoo-in for tall people who drive themselves. The plastics look and feel a little on the hard-wearing, low-cost side, but it is a big step ahead from what was originally on the Logan. There are innovative storage spaces like the bottle-holder above the glovebox and the cubby-holes between the front seats, but it lacks adequate storage space for the rear, something that should be addressed considering this is a car that will be looked at very closely by backseat occupants.
Coming back to the front of the car, the center console houses an audio system that is quite capable – it even has iPod connectivity – but it simply doesn’t look the part. Audio quality is merely okay, not the best in class.
The air-con controls are quite different to what we’re used to in the class, and the chrome accents for the controls add a premium look to them. The recirculate and heater buttons have surprisingly good tactile feel – they feel very different from the controls mounted on the steering column. There is no climate control available, but the air-con is more than capable of handling the hottest day of summer with full occupancy in the cabin.
The seats are very supportive and well bolstered for comfort over long drives, but Mahindra has opted not to offer a rear armrest – again, something that would have elevated it significantly because of that large rear bench. The boot is not as large as the cavernous 500+ litres of the sedan, but it is a 330-litre boot. The reason it cannot offer as much boot space as its rivals lies in the measurements of the cabin – it has the longest wheelbase (and therefore seating room) of the bunch, and therefore boot space has had to be sacrificed to get under the 4-metre length required for a tax benefit and a competitive price.
It isn’t the small space figure that worries us; the Vibe is truly a sedan – despite the appearance of a hatchback, the bootlid is just the vertical metal bit and it is hinged below the rear glass. This makes it difficult to get heavy or big objects in and out of the boot. I wondered how the spare wheel would fit – and discovered that it is hung under the boot floor like in a Xylo, Innova or Tavera. Changing a wheel might not be the most pleasant experience with the Vibe, especially in the monsoon, if you have to access the spare tyre from under the boot floor on the outside.