It’s no secret that Mahindra’s reputation here in South Africa is not perhaps where it would like to be, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of interest in them. It is for this reason I was so looking forward to test driving my very first Mahindra in the form of the KUV100 NXT K8.
If it is SUV styling you after, then this A-segment player will certainly please you. It is now bolder with its new grille, larger alloy wheels and redesigned tail lamps. The raised ground clearance will also appeal to those who might enjoy ramping the curb every now and then.
The upgrades continue inside where you will also find a rather spacious cabin. The seats are comfortable and you will certainly be more than impressed with the long list of standard specification which includes Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, reverse parking sensors, electrically foldable side mirrors, electric windows, air conditioning, central locking, and speed sensing door locks. This is the top of the range KUV100 NXT so if you don’t need all of these and want to save a buck or two, you can opt for one of the other models in the range. With six models in the new KUV100 NXT range, there is bound to be a Mahindra for every taste and budget.
You also have a choice of two three-cylinder engines. The petrol engine produces 61 kW and 115 Nm of torque whereas the turbodiesel, which was under the bonnet of my test unit, delivers 57 kW and 190 Nm of torque making it really punchy and perfect for around town. It even shows some punch on the highway.
Now for the bad news. I found a few too many issues with this car that I would not be able to overlook. First of all, the stop start system is far too intrusive. It is also temperamental and the car doesn’t start quickly enough on take-off. It can make for some embarrassing moments at a robot or stop street. I was not able to turn it off, even though I had taken it out of Eco mode. Another is the twist and pull handbrake lever. If you are on an incline you need to pull with all your might to ensure that car doesn’t go anywhere. The infotainment system is a bit outdated and could do with an upgrade. This should be in the pipeline so make sure you chat to the dealer about this if you are interested in purchasing a new KUV100 NXT. And lastly, setting one for the airconditioning could be considered setting three in any other car, there is no “gentle breeze” option, so prepare for that.
I am being quite hard on this car, but at a cost of just under R220 000, the competition is stiff. The Suzuki Swift or Volkswagen Polo Vivo would be a far better option. However, like I mentioned, standard specification is lengthy and the cabin is spacious. I also enjoy the raised driving position. For those who want the SUV-styling that the competition might not offer, then this might just be the car for you, but ensure you take it for a test drive before you make your final buying decision.
All models feature a full 3-year / 100 000 km standard warranty plus a 2-year / 50 000 km powertrain warranty. All K6+ and K8+ models also have a 3-year / 50 000 km service plan as standard. Service intervals for both the petrol and diesel models are 10 000 km and all vehicles have a 3-year roadside assistance plan.
PRICING FOR THE KUV100 NXT:
K2+ Petrol R 134,999
K4+ Petrol R 163,999
K6+ Petrol R 187,999
K6+ Diesel R 204,999
K8+ Petrol R 199,999
K8+ Diesel R 219,999