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Mahindra Quanto : Road Test
If there ever was a magic number for the new generation it’s got to be ‘4’. The mantra today is most definitely about squeezing out the most that you can from a limited size whether it’s your workforce, your cellphone or your car’s engine. With the 4-metre length criteria set by the Indian government for a hefty relief in excise duties in place almost half a decade ago, everyone is now scrambling to fit into that space.
But these aren’t vehicles that have an ambition to be small – these are cars that deliver big, but want to squeeze out that much more from the regulations and quite literally at that. So you’ve got sedans that are chopping their boots smaller and hatches that are extending themselves to within millimetres of the magic length value. But now, there are also MPVs that are looking to fit in and depending on how well that bit is taken care of, it could either be brilliant or a disaster. The Quanto is exactly such kind of a car and at the outset opinion seems divided on whether it is a mutated tall boy hatch or a big people mover that’s been given the longitudinal squeeze. To clear the air though, it’s neither.
When it comes to segmenting and categorising the Quanto, it’s a tough job and so we didn’t really bother much with the massive hatchback moniker or even the mini-SUV tag that Mahindra has bestowed upon its latest creation. It isn’t really Mahindra’s fault either that they’re calling this a small Sports Ute – the Niagara of nonsense that passes by in our country in the name of sportiness is probably unmatched considering that everything from a fancy paint job to a ‘NOS’ sticker on the flanks makes a vehicle ‘sporty’.
But what the Quanto really does is carve out a niche segment of its own and identifies the need of a population that has been ever been on the lookout for a car that is small on the outside but cavernous within. To actually go ahead and displace a quarter of the Xylo from the rear to make such a vehicle available to the masses is most definitely gutsy but not really too much of a gamble going by the number of Quantos already out on Indian roads today.
The only hitch with the whole masterplan that can be identified is whether the Quanto can cut it on an emotional level with the hatchback buyer given its rather utilitarian roots. Then there’s also that issue of it having been homologated as a seven-seater – how useful are those fold-away benches at the back? These are questions that had been haunting us ever since the Bossman drove the Quanto just as it was launched and that’s exactly what we set out to put straight.
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