Mahindra NuvoSport AMT First Drive

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Mahindra NuvoSport AMT First Drive - CarTrade

author image Ninad Ambre
Wednesday 27 April 2016

 The Mahindra NuvoSport is the latest compact SUV that replaces the sub-four metre Quanto. This SUV promises a sporty appearance, moving away from the Quanto’s MUVish looks. And, under the revised body shell is the new Scorpio’s platform. Additionally, apart from the modern style updates and new features, Mahindra is also offering an AMT gearbox in its automatic trim. So we took this variant out for a quick spin to check how efficient and convenient this transmission is.


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First up is the most vividly done part – the fascia. The black grille with vertical slats is in line with Mahindra’s new design language. The quirky looking eyebrow-like LED DRLs above the angular headlamps do add a bit of flair. Then, there is the air scoop on the tall bonnet and the neatly sculpted front bumper with a blacked out lower half. All this has brought out the much-needed transformation. Furthermore, the honeycomb mesh pattern and the silver faux bash plate add to the sporty aura.

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Moving on to the side, the Quanto resembling silhouette is well enhanced by the 16-inch five dual-spoke pattern alloys and black body cladding. Apart from the smoked tail lamps, the rear section is the same as the Quanto, reminding you of the chopped off Xylo look.  

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Due to the tall stance, you will need to climb onto the strong side footstep to enter the cabin. And once in the upright driver’s seat, you can adjust it for reach, recline and height (in two steps), eventually giving you a good commanding position. However, the overall ergonomics could have been better. The arm rest comes in the way while buckling up the seat belt. Also, the new 6.2-inch touch screen system is pretty big, but placed low and not inclined to towards the driver, making it inconvenient to use. Mahindra has tried enhancing the interior quality with some silver and grey accents, but it hasn’t worked well. The plastic quality is patchy and still looks cheap for its segment. Thankfully, the points lost for quality are made up by the practical cabin with oodles of space.

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The instrument cluster looks basic, but is clear and functional. Like in the Quanto, the multi-information display is also mounted up in the centre on the dashboard of the NuvoSport. We would have liked this MID to be incorporated in the instrument cluster, as it would prevent the driver from taking his eyes off the road. Otherwise, it nicely displays the speed, DTE, temperature, time and the automatic or manual modes. Although there is no reversing camera, you do get parking sensors with a display in the mirror that helps in parking the huge SUV easily. The second row of seats can be reclined, have good thigh support and are wide enough to accommodate three people comfortably. On the other hand, the third row of seats are impractical as they offer minimal shoulder room and no seat belts. The good part is that with these seats up, more than 400litres of boot space is available with a low loading height. And the middle seat can be further folded to liberate more than 850litres of space.

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The NuvoSport gets the 1.5-litre mHawk100 engine from the TUV300. This is tuned differently and delivers 100bhp of power and 240Nm of torque. As this AMT variant misses the power and eco mode, as in the manual trim, all of the power and torque is at your disposal all the time. Thankfully, there is no sudden outburst of energy or surge of power when you stamp the accelerator. Like in the manual version, there is minimal turbo lag, power delivery is linear, but the slower shift times make the automatic variant 4.44seconds slower than the manual in the 0-100kmph run. In the automatic mode, the gear shifts just above the 2,000rpm when driven in a dignified way. But, once you put your foot down, it allows you to rev till 3,500-4,000rpm, after which it changes gears on its own. Similar is the case in the manual mode as it up shifts post the 4,500rpm mark. With torque available from as low as 1,600rpm, the in-city driveability is good.

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In terms of ride and handling, the NuvoSport is better than the Quanto, but some niggles still exist. For example, the SUV still nose dives on braking and has a lot of side to side movement of passengers making them uncomfortable. The 1,675kg vehicle rides good at slow speeds, but at high speeds it does feel top-heavy. The brakes have enough bite, but lack feel and feedback.

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On the positive side, the NuvoSport is much better to drive than the Quanto, thanks to the new ladder-based platform. The soft suspension takes every terrain into its stride. So the NuvoSport is a good vehicle to tackle the Indian road conditions. The light steering helps manoeuvering the car in traffic and makes parking an easy task. Then the biggest advantage comes with the AMT gearbox, which adds to the convenience with clutchless gearshifts. Sure the gearbox takes some time to respond making one plan his moves especially before overtaking. However, this AMT transmission eases things to a large extent. It is a perfect tool for stop-and-go traffic.  

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Make Mahindra
Model NuvoSport
Fuel Diesel
Variant N8 AMT
Engine Capacity 1.5-litre
Max. Power (bhp@rpm) 100bhp @ 3,750
Max. torque (Nm@rpm) 240Nm @ 1,600
Gears  Five
Length mm 3985
Width mm 1850
Height mm 1870
Wheelbase mm 2760
Fuel Capacity (in litres) 60
Tyre size 215/65 R16
2 Airbags Yes
ABS with EBD Yes
AMT gearbox Yes
Cruise Control Yes
Touch screen music system Yes


Mahindra NuvoSport Competitors
Specifications Mahindra
Maruti Suzuki
Vitara Brezza
Variant N8 AMT Zdi+
Fuel Diesel Diesel
Engine Capacity 1.5-litre 1.3-litre
Max. Power (bhp@rpm) 100bhp @ 3,750 88.5bhp @ 4000
Max. torque (Nm@rpm) 240Nm @ 1,600 200Nm @ 1750
Gears  Five Five
Length mm 3985 3995
Width mm 1850 1790
Height mm 1870 1640
Wheelbase mm 2760 2500
Fuel Capacity (in litres) 60 48
Tyre size 215/65 R16 215/60 R16

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The Mahindra NuvoSport will appeal to people looking for a vehicle that has modern looks, spacious cabin, robust built and is easy to drive. At an ex-showroom price of Rs 9.10 lakh for the N6 AMT (ex-showroom New Delhi), it makes sense for urban buyers who would want to take away the burden off their left leg. But for people looking to go out on the highway more often, the manual version will be a better deal at an affordable price tag.

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Photography by : Kapil Angane

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