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Mahindra NuvoSport – Old wine in new bottle?

Snapshot: Mahindra hasn’t given up on the Quanto just as yet. With an all-new chassis, engine and name it hopes buyers will come flooding into showrooms.

Before you dismiss the NuvoSport as an updated version of the Quanto, here is a list of the changes on the car. The engine is new (shared with the TUV 300), the chassis is all-new and shared with the Scorpio and it has plenty of new kit as well. So in essence this car is Mahindra’s way of ensuring that if you don’t like the rough and tough styling of the TUV, you will certainly like the more urban looks of the NuvoSport and shop at their dealership without going anywhere else. Well that’s the plan atleast.

Exterior

The front end is much bolder than before and really does make this car look striking and stand out in a sea of compact SUVs out there. The large bumper split into two sections gets a honeycomb mesh in it and also helps to raise the bonnet line very high. The squarely shaped head lamps as well as the LED eyebrows over them, give it plenty of appeal and a macho, no nonsense look – something that most SUV lovers will like.

The bonnet now gets an air scoop, which feeds air into the new top-mounted intercooler.

The side profile is very similar to the earlier Quanto, which is understandable as most of the body panels are the same. The rear end is similar looking as well except an all-new wheel cover.  

Interiors

The interior remains largely unchanged from the Quanto. There is an all-new 6.2-inch touch screen on the top variant which is new. The steering also gets controls on it for the audio system as well as the cruise control on it. The oval and semi-circular theme is just about average to look at in terms of styling but the quality is as good as the Ford EcoSport, which sells at the same price. Seat comfort is good though in both rows. Since it is a wide car you can genuinely sit three abreast at the back and the flat floor board means that whoever is sitting in the middle has place to keep his feet.

Special mention must be made of the high-set seats on this car. You will be towering the like of the Ford Ecosport as well as the Toyota Innova when driving the NuvoSport.

The last row gets two jump seats, but they are best for average sized adults because taller adults will have their heads rub against the roof line.




Engine, performance and gearbox

This car comes with the same 1.5-litre three cylinder diesel engine that also does duty on the TUV. This engine develops 100bhp and 240Nm of torque, which are the best in the compact SUV space. Along with a 5-speed manual Mahindra will also give you an AMT-automatic gearbox.

Refinement levels are good, especially when cruising. The engine though feels a bit lazy below 2,000rpm. Even though it does rev easily to its redline of around 4,500rpm, its best to keep it between 2,000-3,500rpm for best progress. The AMT gearbox is also very lethargic to throttle inputs and even in manual mode hesitates to shift gear instantly.

The best way to drive this car around is by feathering the throttle once you have decent speed rather than pounding the accelerator pedal hard. The NuvoSport prefers to be driven in a sedate manner.  

Ride and handling

The NuvoSport is nowhere as near as dynamic as either the Ford EcoSport or the Maruti Brezza.  The steering is heavy but doesn’t have too much feel and there is plenty or body roll when you enter a fast corner. The tall height also doesn’t aid matters.  

The suspension along with the chunky tyres though manages to annihilate even the worst of potholed roads with ease.

Features and safety

You get two airbags on offer. The car also gets an Eco mode where the engine develops lower power to aid economy. The car also comes with cruise control as well as steering mounted controls for the stereo.

Summary

Overall, the best part about the car remains its tall imposing SUV stance as well as the high-set seats and large and roomy cabin. While it may not be perfect, the AMT-automatic version makes a strong case for anyone wanting to buy a compact SUV with seven seats. 

Images by Mohd. Nasir

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