Mahindra has updated its KUV100 budget car offering by adding a “NXT” suffix to its name, introducing a value-for-money entry-level derivative and upgrading the higher end versions (the top-of-the-range T8 in particular).
Revisions to the KUV100 NXT’s exterior execution comprise a redesigned grille, LED daytime running lights, reshaped bumpers (with trapezoidal blacked-out sections and silver skid plates), fresh fog lamp surrounds, integrated turn signals, new-shape tailgate and spoiler, plus rear combination lights. It remains a quirky looking car, but the few tweaks do make it look a bit more "refined" and upmarket.
Also Read: Mahindra KUV100 G80 K8 (2016) Review
Keenly priced entry-level version
The range now begins with a petrol-engined K2+ derivative, which retails R134 999 and includes driver and passenger airbags, ABS, air-con, dual-pod information display in its instrument cluster, rear child locks, a gearshift indicator, front carpets and multiple storage spaces, including cup holders and rear-seat underfloor storage.
What’s more, Mahindra Finance offers a R2 199-per-month finance deal, with no deposit, 1 year’s vehicle insurance and special finance offers for graduates. With the new entry-level version Mahindra is clearly targeting high-volume cars such as the Renault Kwid and Datsun Go, but unlike the French and Japanese brands, the KUV100 NXT K2+ is offered with a decent safety specification, for which the Indian firm deserve a round of applause.
Notable changes to the top-of-the-range H8 derivative include an enlarged touchscreen infotainment system and revised climate control console.
Meanwhile, Mahindra has added better finishes to the interiors of higher-specification KUV100 NXT derivatives, such as new fabric upholstery, piano black detailing and a revised climate control panel (depending on specification level). K6+ and K8 derivatives have been beefed up with a rear armrest, cooled glove box, follow-me-home lighting function, remote keyless entry, speed-sensing door locks and 12V power outlets, for example.
During our test drive on some particularly bumpy stretches of road the KUV100 displayed impressive build quality – there wasn't a rattle or a squeak to be heard of from the interior fittings.
The most notable changes appear on updated flagship K8 derivatives, which feature new 15-inch dual-tone alloy wheels, flared wheel arches (with redesigned cladding) and re-profiled roof rails. On the inside, an enlarged 7-inch touchscreen (with Bluetooth, a USB port and audio, image and video playback) has been fitted, along with a new remote tailgate-opening switch, rear parking sensors and electrically-folding side mirrors.
Additional storage space is afforded under the front passenger seat, which is conveniently hidden from prying eyes.
As before, the KUV100 NXT is available with a choice of 1.2-litre 3-cylinder petrol and turbodiesel engines. The mFalcon G80 naturally-aspirated petrol unit produces 61 kW and 115 Nm, while its mFalcon D75 turbodiesel sibling generates 57 kW and 190 Nm. Both are matched with a 5-speed manual transmission. The K8 turbodiesel additionally comes equipped with a micro-hybrid system that switches off the engine when the vehicle is not moving and re-restarts it when the accelerator is pressed.
We drove the petrol-engined variant on the launch and it felt perfectly capable of keeping up in most day-to-day traffic situations, but as the outputs suggest, high-speed driving is not its forte. For overtaking at, or near the national speed limit, you'll need plenty of space and will have to gear down. Mahindra claims a fuel consumption figure of 5.9 L/100km for this engine, but during previous tests we achieved closer to 7 L/100 km (still a good real-world figure). Nevertheless, the tank is small (35 L).
With an above average ground clearance of 170 mm (which is more akin to that of small crossovers), plus claimed approach and departure angles of just under 22 degrees, the KUV100 NXT is well suited to traversing poor road surfaces. That said, the ride quality of our test vehicle did not impress – it was overly firm on poor surfaces and generally didn't feel settled. This could, however, be due to a specific problem on the test unit, as our previous experiences with the KUV100 highlighted a surprisingly supple suspension set-up for such a short wheelbase vehicle.
The KUV100 can seat 4 adults (or two adults and 3 children), and over and above the multitude of in-cabin storage spaces, the Mahindra’s load bay is said to be capable of accommodating 243 litres, which increases to 473 litres when the rear seats are folded flat.
One of the disadvantages of better-than-expected rear legroom is a smallish luggage bay, but there is reasonable utility space with the rear seatback folded forward.
In terms of safety, all derivatives are equipped with dual front airbags, plus ABS with EBD (although EBD is available only on K6+ and K8 variants, which additionally features corner braking control (CBC), speed-sensing automatic door locks, automatic hazard warnings and a security alarm).
KUV100 NXT (2018) price in South Africa
The range comes standard with a 3-year/100 000 km standard warranty, 2-year/50 000 km powertrain warranty and 3-year roadside assistance plan. K6+ and K8 derivatives additionally have 3-year/50 000 km service plans as standard. Service intervals are 10 000 km for all KUV100 NXTs.
|K2+ Petrol||R134 999|
|K4+ Petrol||R163 999|
|K6+ Petrol||R187 999|
|K6+ Diesel||R204 999|
|K8 Petrol||R199 999|
|K8 Diesel||R219 999|