Mahindra Quanto : First Drive
Smart thinking thy name is the product development team within Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. Starting off with the sound building block that is the Xylo, the wily folks at M&M have done the deal to carve out an under four-metre seven-seater mini-MUV and pushed it head long into confrontation with the large-size hatchbacks. And with an all new three-cylinder 1.5-litre engine and a sorted ride to offer the much needed alternative to the ubiquitous large hatchbacks which constitute the largest selling segment in the Indian car market, Quanto-nomous is how it has turned out to be, states Adil Jal Darukhanawala after a short opening stint behind the wheel of India's newest compact MUV
Get alerts on new cars reviewed by ZigWheels
Ever since the talk began about a small sized SUV from Mahindra and Mahindra, it was always about a mini-Xylo and in this mix-up of terminology, MUV and SUV, I think many lost out on the fact that while M&M is better known for UVs, with a growing number of SUVs in its portfolio, the Xylo was its most modern MUV and stays thus to this day. However, right from the design stage this vehicle had been the subject of a load of planning across the spectrum. Not just the engineers and the designers plus also of course the bean counters but more importantly the product planners were seeking to see how they could get two or three models from the Xylo base. The imperative was to think and play smart given the investments made and this approach showed an all new facet of the company – its intent to grow up and think like any main stream MNC OEM. Albeit with a difference, of course!
And it is this differentiation that has seen the new vehicle, termed the Quanto, come up as an all new fresh face to all those who have their eyes on a large hatchback yet could be lured by the myriad pleasures of an individualistic all-Indian offering. In the process as you get to see the form and the proportions, it has also emerged as Mahindra’s very own tall boy but better placed on its wide 1500mm track (front and rear) and 2760mm wheelbase – dimensions its shares with its larger and elder Xylo sibling. However it is in the manner that the rear end portion has been lopped off and as many distinctive elements of the original Xylo retained while yet giving the Quanto a nearly different wholesome identity that this vehicle stands out to maybe spawn yet another new segment in the Indian car market. Also Read: Mahindra Quanto launched; prices starting at Rs 5.82 lakh
Form follows function!
Let’s first get to grips with the form and then let the function follow. The most obvious trait of the original Xylo was in its body-on-ladder configuration, an area which has been at the base of it all since the original Jeep CJ3 from 1954. However, the Xylo broke new ground in the ladder-type chassis being an all new development and much of this has been adhered to in the Quanto barring off course the shortened rear portion. Much of the suspension bits are as they were on the Xylo, the double wishbone independent set-up in front and a five-link set-up employing coil springs at the rear. These bits have been further tuned and re-calibrated given the nature of the vehicle, its intended application and load, the lighter engine up front, the different tyres and also the weight distribution. However, the clever bit is all about the sheet metal and how effectively the same side door frame from the front fender onwards till right behind the C-pillar has been employed in toto thereby saving big on any new tooling outlay for the same.
The bonnet is a straight lift from the Xylo as are all four doors though the vehicle doesn’t give that aura on first look. The smallish and almost triangulated rear quarter window makes a for a nice wrap around package integrating the vertical tail lamp cluster on the D-pillars and the large rear windshield. Probably the most distinctive element of the Quanto part from its stance is the fitment of the spare wheel on the tailgate and thereby hinting at its maker’s DNA to some extent. The pronounced wheel arches, the character strake just below the belt line running from front to rear (wrapping across the tailgate as well and on to the other side) plus the full length floor boards on either side are again familiar accents but they do work well with the overall proportions and form.
Maybe the biggest disappointment of the Quanto, in case we are mentioning design and style is the near identical front end which clearly symbolises the Xylo. For an all-new car, given the complete mastery of their cause, Dr Goenka’s team has maybe faltered in not giving it a whole new identity up front where it matters. However to take the good doctor at his own word, he did inform me that the plan was always to craft a mini-Xylo and therefore the design language to the original was adhered to. It was however only in the last few months as they neared series production did it dawn on them that maybe they could treat this as an all-new product and position it differently from the Xylo. However, to have delayed the launch was an impossible aspect while the time to craft a whole new front end was inadequate but the product development team is already working on not just a completely new front end but also a few more bits which should make the Quanto stand out on its own even more emphatically. Also Read: Mahindra Quanto Special Coverage
That said, the toothy grille (almost Korean-inspired might I add) seems to be a speciality thrown in to link the Scorpio to the Xylo and on to the Quanto but this tenuous link has maybe run its course and it could just be the last manifestation as such on a Mahindra as we move forward. However, the overall proportions of the Quanto are far more pleasing than that of the Xylo I might add and while pictures might not bring it to life in a punchy manner as it does in the flesh, it nevertheless makes a case for itself as a terrific alternative to the large hatchbacks dotting the Indian car landscape. The stance is everything and with virtually next to no body overhangs front and rear, the adherence to the stylish six-spoke 15-inch wheels shod with slightly smaller section tyres (205/65-R15 instead of the Xylo’s 215/75-R15) helps give it a more planted appearance which also hints at subtle muscle and strength which no hatchback has been able to muster. Also the ratio of glazed surfaces to sheet metal works out well in an equitable manner on this car and this further underscores the well defined tall boy look rather than an ungainly glasshouse on a meagre base.
Readers' opinions ( 42 )
by ET Photography: Kunal Khadse
Mahindra may make some of its models meet any of...
The Tata Pixel concept that Tata Motors showcased at the 81st Geneva Motor Show is a revolutionary...
Luxury car maker BMW is thinking to re-enter in Indian bike market with high end bikes.