2018 Mahindra Marazzo first drive review
The sub-20 lakh rupee car market in India is currently witnessing SUVs dominate every other form of the automobile. Customers are driving that trend, but the very trend also leaves buyers looking for a spacious and comfortable seven seater automobile with limited options. And the Mahindra Marazzo is a MPV that promises to meet the demands of these very buyers. The all-new Mahindra Marazzo in fact slots itself right in between two major players in the segment, the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and the Toyota Innova Crysta. Mahindra feels there exists a reasonably large niche between the two and also that the Marazzo is the perfect fit for it. Is it? We got our first taste of the all-new MPV at Mahindra's own test track near Pune to decide.
The Mahindra Marazzo enters the relatively nascent seven seater MPV segment and is well-specced while also coming across as a spacious, reasonably large vehicle
As much as sharks are dangerous, they can also teach us a thing or two about being quick, sharp and agile. And sharks are the inspiration for the Mahindra Marazzo's styling. But before you think, no, the Marazzo isn't just about razor sharp edges or an intimidating appearance. It is also about the roundness one associates with people movers. That said, bits like the fangs on its grille and shark-fin shaped spokes on the alloys do look aggressive. The grille almost looks like a shark baring its fangs in a smile, adding to the aggression, which is balanced well by the rounded edges of the projector beam equipped headlights, while LED daytime running lamps are positioned into the fog lamps.
The Mahindra Marazzo's grille gets a smoked chrome finish which looks upmarket
From the sides, the Mahindra Marazzo does remind a bit of the last generation Toyota Innova. The shark-inspired design on the doors adds character to the sides and looks good
The fangs also get a smoked chrome finish that looks classier than 'regular' chrome. There's a sharp crease on the doors that adds character to the sides and looks appealing. The Marazzo is well-proportioned from end to end and isn't overly large, despite being reasonably sized, particularly when viewed from the sides. I have to admit though that it is hard to ignore the fact that the top half, particularly the area between the shoulder line and roofline does remind of previous generation Toyota Innova. The chrome slat at the rear joining the tail lamp units is a little too thick though the tail lamp units look good, and of course, their design is inspired by shark tails. Mahindra has gone in for a vertically lifting tail gate as is the norm with the segment, which also adds to convenience, rather having the door open on either side.
The chrome slat at the rear that joins the tail lights is a little too thick, but the design of the tail lamps is certainly good
The Mahindra Marazzo's interiors offer an upmarket feel right from the word go. That's thanks to the variety of surface finishes used the top of the dashboard gets a matte grey finish, the patterns on which look different when viewed from different angles. The mid-section of the dash gets a gloss black finish with some interesting textures on the left side, which also look very appealing. The bottom half gets ceramic white strips which look slightly out of place to separate the black from the beige plastic panels beneath. The upmarket feel is accentuated further by the perforated beige leather seats and the overall effect is very pleasing. Also, the beige seats and beige coloured roof together help in offering a very spacious feel.
The use of different colours and textures on the dashboard makes for a very premium feel inside the cabin, as do the beige-coloured seats. Note how the top of the door panels - right next to the rear view mirrors - merges into the dashboard
The steering wheel and centre console look nice too, especially the glossy, 7.25 inch touchscreen on top of the centre console. The infotainment system features navigation, Android Auto connectivity, an eco-driving guide and vital information including tank range and the like as well. Apple CarPlay is expected to be offered later. There's two USB ports and a 12V socket for the driver and front passenger, while rear seat occupants get a common USB port, for charging only. There's an abundance of cubby holes, including a deep cavity right at the top of the dashboard, which is a little too high and needs you to reach out to pick something off it. The one right behind the gear lever is a little too low for knick-knacks on the other hand, but should be good as a bottle-holder.
The Mahindra Marazzo's instrument cluster gets purple coloured lighting which looks good with the black background
The driver and passenger both get arm rests, while the handbrake lever is a large, aircraft-styled unit. The shark inspiration continues inside the Marazzo too, as the door locks and handles are shaped to look like a shark fin. The top of the door panels are designed to merge into the sides of the dashboard, and for the purpose, the insides of the door panels are positioned higher than the actual window sill. The instrument cluster gets a black-purple colour combination too, and has a 4.2 inch multi-information display nestled between the tachometer and speedometer. The display lets you enable turn-by-turn navigation apart from offering vital information. Interestingly, it also integrates a stopwatch and a reminder for personal events like birthdays and anniversaries!
The Mahindra Marazzo gets a reflector inside, which lets the driver get a full view of the entire cabin and all occupants
The driving position is comfortable, and the seat to steering wheel positioning feels good. The driving seat offers an excellent view of the road ahead thanks to the large glass area, as also the fact that you are sitting tall even at the lowest seat height. The Marazzo also gets a retracting reflector above the sunglass holder, at the top of the windscreen, which offers the driver the full view of the cabin and all occupants. One issue I faced given my height is that I found the inside rear view mirror too low, as it came right in my line of vision around left hand corners, and could have been positioned an inch or two higher. The gear lever is easy to reach though I felt throws could have been slightly shorter. At an inch under six feet, I am tall, but despite that and with the driver's seat to my position, the second row offered good leg and kneeroom, thanks to the Marazzo's 2,760mm wheelbase. You also have the option of sliding the second row seats back and forth, thereby helping improve leg and kneeroom if needed. We drove the seven seater variant which gets captain seats and arm rests for the second row, and the seats are comfortable indeed.
The aircraft-styled diffused air-conditioning vents in the Mahindra Marazzo offer excellent ventilation to second and third row occupants
What's even more impressive is that the third row wasn't uncomfortable either under thigh support isn't enough expectedly, but the seats felt comfortable enough to spend a couple of hours in the third row. One major highlight in the Marazzo's cabin has to be the air-conditioning system for the second and third rows. The Marazzo gets 'dual' air-conditioning vents at the back, meaning rear seat occupants could choose to have a direct blast or get a diffused blow from separate vents on the roof, thanks to Mahindra's patented surround cool technology. The day we drove the Marazzo wasn't particularly hot, but the cooling efficiency and the oscillating drafts of cold air from the vents did tell us the system will help in optimising cooling. Importantly, the roof-mounted vents and air-conditioning controls are designed to look good, while also not intruding into headroom. In case you were wondering, boot space is decent with the third row up and the boot cavity is also deep, which should help in loading more luggage. Third row seats can be flipped down easily, which liberates a lot of space. Third row occupants get individual bottle holders as well, which is a nice touch, though I would have liked an additional USB port as well, considering millennials are most likely to occupy the row.
Flipping third row seats down in the Mahindra Marazzo is easy and quick, and liberates a lot of luggage space
Engine and performance
The Mahindra Marazzo gets an all-new, 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel engine producing 122PS and 300Nm of torque and is mated to a brand-new six-speed manual gearbox. The engine was developed specifically for the Marazzo, though goes without saying it will be offered in future Mahindra models as well. I was instantly impressed by the fact that the engine doesn't have the typical diesel clatter even at idle, neither does it sound clattery on the go. The clutch pedal is light responsive, while shifts from the six-speed gearbox are positive and feel good, sans the rubbery feel we've seen on older Mahindra transmissions.
With a 122PS from the all-new 1.5-litre diesel engine the Mahindra Marazzo is never short on performance
Mahindra pointed out in product presentations that the engine produces its peak torque at 1,750rpm, but offers upwards of 170Nm from just 1,000rpm onwards which ensures acceleration from slow speeds is smooth and brisk. In fact, we tried taking off from standstill by simply releasing the clutch carefully, without giving any throttle at all, and the Marazzo rolled forward without any resistance or judders and didn't threaten to stall either. This should help a lot in bumper to bumper traffic and also help in reducing the load on the driver's left leg. Acceleration is brisk and the Marazzo is quick to build speeds and the engine also feels smooth throughout its rev band.
The Mahindra Marazzo uses double wishbone suspension at the front along with twist beam type rear suspension, and sits on a ladder frame, which helps in offering a stable, planted feel at highway speeds while also ensuring good comfort for occupants
We're told a lot of emphasis during engine development was laid lightening the engine components as much as possible, thanks to which the engine is quick to rev and relatively vibration free. I'd go as far as saying that the Marazzo's engine is among the smoothest from Mahindra yet. The tachometer needle was exactly at the 2,000rpm mark at a speedometer indicated 100kmph, which is optimum in terms of fuel efficiency and performance, and the engine also felt smooth, indicating that sustaining the speed for extended periods should be a comfortable affair too. That said, performance did taper out at 140kmph, which to be honest, is a lot itself for an MPV like the Marazzo. The 1.5-litre diesel is the only engine on offer currently, though Mahindra might add a petrol engine to the line-up in future, and also look at offering the option of an automatic gearbox.
Ride and handling
The Marazzo uses a body on frame chassis with a front wheel drive setup and a transversely mounted engine and Mahindra tells us this combination is being used for the first time in the world. Mahindra also claims the setup has its own advantages in terms of helping offer comfort and handling close to a monocoque chassis. What's more, the front and rear wheels have been spaced apart as much as possible to maximise interior space, which has also resulted in better weight distribution, thereby benefitting vehicle dynamics. The Marazzo uses double wishbone suspension at the front and a twist beam setup at the rear which enables a good ride, despite the ladder frame. To improve the ride quality the Marazzo also uses isolators between the wheels and suspension and also between the frame and suspension which help in absorbing shocks better. We're also told engineers focused on reducing unsprung weight, including lighter suspension arms to help improve the dynamics of the vehicle.
Expectedly, the Mahindra Marazzo does have body roll but you never feel out of control even when pushing hard around corners
All this engineering translates to a stable feel on the road, also ensconcing occupants in good comfort. The suspension setup ensures occupants are well-insulated from shocks and judders, while the ladder frame ensures the vehicle stays stable and taking a power nap in the second row while being driven at 100kmph is certainly doable in the Marazzo. There's barely any lateral movement as well, which is certainly likeable, but come around a corner and expectedly, there is a fair amount of body roll thanks to the soft suspension. The roll is more pronounced when seated at the rear, though things never go out of control and the Marazzo felt perfectly stable even when chucked hard into the fast bend at Mahindra's test track.
Visibility from behind the wheel is excellent thanks to the large glass area as also the fact that the driver sits tall, even at the lowest seat height
The Marazzo also feels stable making quick directional changes or switching lanes at speeds. I liked the Marazzo's steering as it feels light, be it at standstill or when making directional changes. It also offers a rather precise feel along with good feedback, despite the Marazzo's size and weight. Braking performance is impressive as well I slammed the brakes from 100kmph and the Marazzo was well-behaved, staying stable and without pitching forward too much. Bite from the disc brakes all round (offered as standard across variants) is good, though brake pedal travel could have been lesser.
The Mahindra Marazzo comes across as a well-packaged, well-priced people mover that should appeal to family car buyers looking for a seven-seater MPV
The Mahindra Marazzo impresses a lot, on several fronts. The design is appealing to say the least, while interiors boast of the upmarket feel that someone looking for a premium seven seater MPV would want. Build quality is good too and so are fit-finish levels, though the latter could be half a notch better. More importantly, Mahindra has specced the Marazzo well and it comes equipped with a host of features and equipment, while the seating all round is comfortable and spacious, which is what a family car buyer would want. What's more, the Marazzo gets dual airbags, disc brakes all round and ISOFIX points as standard which speaks a lot about the focus on safety.
Pricing though introductory is good, as the base M2 variant has been priced at Rs 9.99 lakh ex-showroom India, while the fully-loaded M8 variant retails at Rs 13.90 lakh. These are prices for the seven seater versions, and the respective 8-seater versions will cost an additional Rs 5,000. The pricing slots the Marazzo just above the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, while undercutting the bigger, more powerful and spacious Toyota Innova Crsyta by a significant margin. The Mahindra Xylo did well in its time, but the MPV segment has moved on since the days of the Xylo with buyers wanting more style, space and comfort along with higher equipment levels. And the Mahindra Marazzo certainly ticks all those boxes.
Also see: Mahindra Marazzo image gallery
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