The Mahindra KUV100 was launched in India just under 2 years ago, and even though it took on entry hatches, it was positioned as Mahindra's smallest SUV in India. Sales over the first six months were pretty impressive with an average of almost 5000 units a month. But post that the numbers started to drop and the car did not receive the success Mahindra hoped it would. Since Maruti Suzuki launched the Ignis and the Hyundai Grand i10 facelift has also arrived. Those cars have upped the game by offering new and improved styling, a host of smart and intuitive features and better safety equipment, and they are still getting better numbers. So Mahindra needed to act fast and what we now have is the KUV100 NXT.
It is rather unusual that you get a facelift so soon after a car has launched - after all it has just been 21 months that the KUV100 first came to the market. The NXT isn't just a tweaking, but a significant face-lift. Now it is in the front that you see it straight off. The slightly awkward grill has gone, and now the grille extends much deeper. The headlamp cluster is also new and you get new DRLs. The cluster has become a little darker, and it also ends at the fender without the glass element stretching all the way back along the hood. The face still looks overstyled but is certainly less so than before and makes the car look a touch larger. The black cladding along the wheel arches is a lot fatter now, and emphasizes that whole SUV credential that this car is going for. Integrated indicators in the side mirrors, new alloy wheels, updated taillights and a new NXT badge round off the some changes. The biggest change though is the toning down of all the creases you had in the metal along the side and on the rear. It's a lot softer now and makes the car look mature by comparison. Another subtle addition is the small extension panel attached to the C-pillar, on either end of the windscreen, which Mahindra says is a design suggestion from Pininfarina.
Mahindra has also worked on the cabin of the new KUV100 NXT, especially the dashboard and interior panels. The car gets a new centre console, which looks much nicer and contemporary. The biggest addition though is the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes with Bluetooth and AUX-IN connectivity along with navigation, and it also shares vehicle details like mileage, service history and more. Sadly though it neither gets Apple CarPlay nor Android Auto, which is a bit of a bummer considering that all the cars in this segment get them. You also get a nice carbon-fibre-like texture on the top of the dashboard and the door panels that add to the premiumness of the all-black cabin. A similar pattern can be seen on the fabric upholstery, complementing the design.
Some elements have been carried over from the previous model like - the joystick-like gear lever, three-spoke steering wheel, dashboard-mounted parking brake lever and the six-seater layout with under seat storage compartment, which is now standard across variant. But, if you prefer the five-seater option, Mahindra still offers them but as made-to-order.
On the safety front, ABS comes as standard on all variants, while dual front airbags are offered from the K2+ variant and above. Other features include rear parking sensors, ISOFIX child seat mounts, and more.
Mechanically it remains completely unchanged and is still powered by the mFalcon twins - the 1.2-litre G80 petrol engine with a 5-Speed gearbox, and the 1.2-litre D75 oil burner (also manual).
Neither get an AMT option despite the intent from Mahindra to get one in. The facelift would have been a good time to do frankly. Having said that, Mahindra has announced that, it will be launching the AMT version of the car in the first half of 2018.
Now with the KUV there used to be a lot of road noise that use to come from the tyres into the cabin, and overall there used to be a lot more vibration and harshness coming from the engine bay as well. Both those areas have been worked on. The engine mounts have been completely reworked so you don't get as much vibration or noise as you used to earlier, which does make the car seems a lot more refined than before.
Suspension and ride quality are still pretty decent and the car can handle the undulations on the road without much stress. But try to take a sharp turn around corners and you'll see that KUV100 NXT still has some roll. In terms of pricing, the KUV100 NXT starts at Rs 4.39 lakh and goes to Rs 7.42 lakh ex-showroom Delhi, and compares well with the key rivals.
Mahindra KUV100 NXT vs Rivals Price Comparison
|Mahindra KUV100 NXT||₹ 4.39 lakh - ₹ 6.51 lakh||₹ 5.39 lakh - ₹ 7.42 lakh|
|Maruti Suzuki Ignis||₹ 4.56 lakh - ₹ 7.01 lakh||₹ 6.28 lakh - ₹ 8.08 lakh|
|Hyundai Gradnd i10||₹ 4.59 lakh - ₹ 6.86 lakh||₹ 5.70 lakh - ₹ 7.37 lakh|
The KUV 100 NXT is an improvement on the car for sure. But it is still far from being the segment best. It's quirky and does attract with its SUV appeal. Mahindra should see some renewed success with the facelifted car - though should start to think about better connectivity interfaces like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and more to also appeal to the younger, more urban buyer.