Easy to drive

Saturday, 13 October 2018

The Mahindra Marazzo Multi-Purpose Vehicle is spacious and refined but could do with more power

Aiming at the Toyota Innova and the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, the Marazzo from Mahindra is all-new. Created by the Mahindra North American Technical Centre (MNATC) in Michigan, USA, the Marazzo is structured on a 2760mm wheelbase. Reflecting good proportions with a cab-forward stance typical of a Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV), the vehicle looks appealing. Sporting a short bonnet that tapers down to meet a large toothed grille and swept-back head lamps that looks a bit tiny against the overall proportion of the vehicle, the Marazzo looks quite unlike any Mahindra SUV or utility vehicle around. 

The LED imitating strips above the head lamps make an interesting design element, however, the head lamps do rob the Marazzo of some road presence. Marking the sides are creases on the front door, attractive 17-inch wheels, a rising waistline and smartly placed chrome highlights. Incorporating interesting design elements like the slashes above the wheel arches, and the dual-tone door mirrors that would feel at home on a coupe than an MPV, the vehicle is shorter and lower than the Innova. Wider, and with a longer wheelbase than the Innova, the Marazzo has its body bolted to a ladder frame.
Uncluttered interior
Using lightweight high-strength steel, plastic and aluminium in its construction, the Marazzo weighs 1650kg. Looking clean, uncluttered and spacious inside, the vehicle is fitted with a beige and black dashboard. Equipped with Android Auto, the 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is easy to use. With good visibility on offer at the front, sides and rear, courtesy the ample glass area, the seats of the Marazzo are large and supportive. The ones at the front get lumbar support adjustment and individual armrests. 

The bench seat slides as well as reclines. The portion on the left folds down to provide access to the third row. Featuring an overhead AC unit with ducts (on the sides as well) and blower controls, the Marazzo has good space to offer for third row occupants as well. With the third row up, there’s 190-litres of space on offer and 1,055-litres when the third row is folded. 

In terms of ergonomics, the USB slots at front are placed too low (below the gear console). With the front armrests in place it is impossible to access the cup holders. Without opening the rear doors, it is difficult to access the bottles in the door pocket holder. The steering wheel rim may feel thin and the gear lever may feel a bit high, but the Marazzo features an aircraft-style parking brake lever. 

The 123bhp, 1,497cc four-cylinder diesel engine with variable-geometry turbocharger is all-new. The engine supports a smooth take-off, however, the clutch does feel a bit edgy in the beginning. Displaying a bit of a turbo lag, it fades away as the revs climb and the turbo spools up. A wave of torque is felt above 1500rpm and stays till 2000rpm. The engine feels vocal beyond 3500rpm. If the shorter ratios (of the six-speed manual transmission) help in city driving, overtaking manoeuvres are performed with ease. 

Light steering
The use of eco mode results in a slight inefficiency. The mode is mapped for partial engine load and full engine load in scenarios like overtaking or when moving with full load. Feeling up to the mark under most driving conditions, the engine, however, does feel a little underpowered when the vehicle is fully loaded on an incline. The steering is light and offers good feedback. The suspension, consisting of double-wishbones at front with an anti-roll bar at front and with a twist beam at the rear, provides a good ride over a variety of surfaces. Around corners, it feels safe and stable. Body roll is evident, but never to the level where it gets uncomfortable. The brakes, having discs all-round, perform well.

Handling dynamics better than any other Mahindra vehicle, the Marazzo is well equipped with features like ABS, EBD, dual airbags, all-wheel disc brakes, reversing camera and sensors, rear wiper and washer, part-leather upholstery, rear air-con, climate control, projector head lamps with LED daytime running lamps, cruise control and more. Marking a significant step-up in design and quality compared to other Mahindra products, the Marazzo is spacious and refined. 

The engine could do with more power, and the ergonomics a bit more sorted. Overlook this, and the vehicle, priced between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 13.9 lakh ex-showroom, stands out as a modern MPV that is efficient and easy to drive.

Pros: Looks, fit and finish, spacious, refined, comfortable, kit
Cons: Could do with more power  

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