The long and short of it

K SHIVRAJ
Saturday, 1 September 2018

When compared with the TUV300, Mahindra TUV300 Plus has more  space at the rear but isn’t spacious enough for nine people.

The TUV300 Plus is a stretched version of Mahindra’s sub-four-metre TUV300. Measuring 4,440mm in length to be precise, the vehicle can seat nine people. With a more powerful 120bhp, 2.2-litre common-rail turbodiesel engine, the TUV300 Plus does not differ much in appearance from the model it is based on. 

Packing an extra 400mm, the vehicle, when viewed from the front is simply impossible to distinguish. If you look closely, then subtle changes like the tweaked fog lamp enclosure will draw attention. Walk over, and the 16-inch dia wheels will signal a change; the wheels of TUV500 are of 15-inch dia. Another change is the length, but the gain is not very prominent unless attention is paid to the portion towards the rear doors. Sharing its wheelbase with the TUV300, the vehicle has gained space at the rear. 

Cramped cabin space

Climb inside (the TUV300 is body bolted to chassis construction type), and the new seats will draw attention. They look a touch plush. The dash is a familiar sight and has the same touchscreen infotainment system that is found in the TUV300. The materials that make the interior of the TUV300 seem to have found their way into the cabin of the TUV300 Plus. They are not the most impressive. If there is good room on offer at front, the second row tends to lack somewhat in legroom. The upright backrest does not help either. There’s no dedicated air-con vents to cater to the second and third row occupants in the TUV300 Plus. Entry to the third row seats, which are essentially a set of longitudinally placed two foldable seats, is through the rear door. The high foot-step indicates that the third row will not be easily accessible to the aged or short people. There are no seat belts on offer for either of the longitudinal seats and  there is a distinct lack of legroom that makes it cramped for four adults to sit. At best, two adults can sit with the row in front folded. Fold either seat and 696-litres of luggage space is created. Fold the second row, and a massive 888-litres of storage space is available. 

Available in 3 trims

The TUV300 Plus is available in three trims — P4, P6 and P8. Flaunting good refinement levels, the vehicle moves away without hesitation. Some diesel clatter does manage to find a way into the cabin. The clutch is light and the gears of the six-speed manual transmission change without any complaint. What results in jerky shift at times is the long travel of the clutch. Also, with no ‘lock’ in place, it is easy to select the reverse gear instead of first as the two are closely placed. The steering is on the heavier side. The short gearing helps in city traffic but on the highway, the engine feels strained. This is felt even when cruising at speeds in the region of 100kmph. Also, the TUV300 Plus misses out on some modern day features like a reverse camera. 

Verdict 

The TUV300 Plus impresses with its ability to soak road irregularities and feels stable even at speeds in excess of 100kmph. Only the sharp undulations induce some vertical movement. 

Priced in the range of Rs 9.6 lakhs and Rs 11 lakhs, approximately, the TUV300 Plus excels in its ability to carry much more luggage at the rear due to its length. The vehicle is good for use in urban areas, where roads are bad for most months of the year. 

Pros: More powerful, ride, stability
Cons: Not spacious enough for nine people

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