By Lebohang Kobeli/Khuleni on Wheels
Like our ruling party often claims that it is a broad church, we often view the “entry level” or A segment as a broad church. There are the good, the bad and the ugly. There are also affordable options and some options that have honestly outgrown the segment. There are also hatches, sedans and urban “SUVs”. The long and short of is that it is crowded. Notwithstanding this, there are couple of late comers that have come to the party and found some success. The KUV100 NXT has been one of them. Mahindra has launched a new model with additional new features and styling upgrades.
The new KUV100 NXT has a new grille, larger alloy wheels on the K8 version and redesigned tail lights. Upfront, the number plate now sits on top of a blacked-out bumper section. There is also a new silver skid plate. Further down the bumper, Mahindra has also created new blacked-out surrounds for the integrated fog lights, which are standard on the K8 version. The headlights are now equipped with LED daytime running lights. On the side, the wheel arches that now feature redesigned cladding. On the roof, the integrated roof rails have been redesigned to be more aerodynamically efficient.
Mahindra have retained some of the styling cues that have set the KUV100 NXT apart and endeared it with its following. This new generation will still feature fist-shaped side mirrors and the rear door handles in the C-pillars. What’s new is that the mirrors now incorporate the side turn signals.
At the back, the tail gate and rear bumper have been completely redesigned. The back door features deeper character lines that form around the new double-barrel back combination lights and a new electronic latch on certain models. Finally, there is a new is a rear spoiler which aims to assist with the aerodynamics.
Inside, the new KUV100 NXT has new fabric upholstery, piano black detailing on certain specification levels and a new temperature control panel on models fitted with climate control. The New KUV100 NXT now also has a 7” (17.8 cm) touch screen on the K8 version, which replaces the previous 3.5” display. This infotainment system is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port and audio, image and video playback. Other driver comforts that have been added include a new remote boot-opening switch, a new gearshift indicator display, Intellipark reverse parking sensors and electrically foldable side mirrors on the K8. Also standard are features such as power windows, tilt-adjustable power steering, air conditioning, central locking rear underfloor storage bins and foldable rear seat. Drivers requiring more will be pleased to know that in the K6 and K8 models, this list of features grows to include a rear row armrest, a cooled glove box, follow-me-home and lead-me-to-vehicle headlights, remote keyless entry, speed-sensing door locks and front and rear 12V power outlets. The New KUV100 NXT seats five adults and has 243 litres of luggage space, which can be increased to 473 litres, with the rear seats folded flat.
Although the KUV100 NXT is an entry level player, Mahindra have not compromised on safety and all version of the KUV are equipped with dual front airbags, child safety locks on the rear doors, ABS (with EBD available only on K6+ and K8 versions) and corner braking control. In addition, the K6+ and K8 versions also have speed-sensing automatic door locks, automatic hazard warnings in emergency situations and a security alarm.
Engines and drive
The KUV100 NXT is available with two three-cylinder engines both paired with a five-speed manual gearbox. The 1.2 mFalcon G80 petrol engine delivers 61 kW of power and 115 Nm of torque and the 1.2 mFalcon D75 engine makes 57 kW of power and 190 Nm of torque. In order to save you even more fuel, on the K8 specification level, the diesel model is equipped with a micro-hybrid system that switches off the engine when the vehicle is not moving and immediately restarts the engine when the accelerator is pressed. The engine makes little sound, which is quite ignorable. However, when on fourth and fifth gear at high rev the sound does get irritatingly noticeable. The refinement does feel slightly behind some four-cylinder comparisons.
Power delivery is very respectable, this accompanied with the available torque of 190Nm, helping the vehicle to pull away swiftly. The gear shift need is minimal making it easy to tail vehicles at long line traffic lights. Yet when on the high way or lengthy road drives the engine fizz decreases. The KUV100 makes swift progress to achieve above 100 km/h speeds. A lower gear shift will be necessary for quick overtakes. The five-speed gearbox feels smooth, providing easy use for short throws. However, it is the clutch pedal with its tight spring action, which will make it a tiresome job for your left leg on long drives or in traffic. Now, the KUV’s suspension has been tuned to be on the softer side. Good ground clearance takes in all uneven surfaces in its stride at low speeds.
However, side-to-side rocking does get persistent and at higher speeds the rear kicks out on harsh bumps. The vertical movement also increases, making the ride floaty. The ride doesn’t settle until it finds a flat stretch. The steering wheel is big for a compact car, lags a bit and feels vague. One can steer through a corner at low speeds, but at higher speeds, its entire dynamics undergo a change. The car understeers and the body roll becomes pretty evident at that point to the extent that it may make occupants feel uneasy. Thankfully ABS is available, but still the car is unlikely to stumble or slip under hard braking.
Pricing (including VAT) is as follows for the KUV100 NXT:
KUV NXT K2+ Petrol: R134,999
KUV NXT K4+ Petrol: R163,999
KUV NXT K6+ Petrol: R187,999
KUV NXT K6+ Diesel: R204,999
KUV NXT K8 Petrol: R199,999
KUV NXT K8 Diesel: R219,999
All models have 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. All vehicles have a 3-year roadside assistance plan.
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