One of the most unheralded of cars on the Indian market has been the Renault / Mahindra Logan which was supposedly the French car maker’s gambit to do a low priced emerging market car. While the aim was laudable and the car immensely practical and having major strengths all around, it however came at a time when the Indian consumer was waking up to style and convenience and didn’t want plain jane stuff. In fact, the deliberate method to play down style was very apparent in the Logan and sadly tripping on this one singular count meant that so many shunned what was intrinsically a very very good car.
It didn’t help matters then when Renault and Mahindra couldn’t agree on a new joint venture to take their partnership forward and this disagreement saw Mahindra taking over the Logan project completely. Of course the plant at Nashik produces the car but not its drivetrain and the supply agreement with Renault stands intact for the project which is pretty much an attribute of the vehicle.
It was evident that the car needed a make-up and the first thing Mahindra did once they had this car in their eco-system was to begin to give it a makeover and the first thing to do was change the name and the identity the car had acquired. Logan was out in favour of the Verito and though the bit of badge engineering got things off the ground, not much could be read into it till the first major face-lift which is both stylish and also functional with most of the strong points remaining intact.
The completely redesigned front and rear end treatment has enhanced the looks of the vehicle. The front grille is crisp and in sync with whatever was possible at the lowest of outlays and with a new bumper cum air dam plus newly designed headlamps, the dowdy look of the original has been banished.
The rear end also sports the same crisp theme and what is even more impressive, on initial early looks, is the fact that put-together quality seems to be of an even higher order. The shut lines are far more uniform and overall the taut body structure seems to have got the sheen it didn’t have as a high value, low cost proposition in the past. Overall the car is very sturdy and there seems to be no flexing of the structure which more often than not ends up in an orchestra of squeaks and rattles you never paid to hear!
The interior has also been spruced up quite a bit but more in a user friendly manner than anything else. The cabin was always a virtue of space and comfort, with very comfortable seats at both ends and with newer positioning of door grab handles and the switches for the window winders, the convenience aspect has been enhanced. The overall quality of the materials is also of a high order though I think that if practicality has to be of the essence the choice of lighter coloured upholstery needs to be rethought. However, this is a herd mentality situation for the OEMs and light beige bumps up the oomph quotient so maybe one is on thin ground here!
That said, the engine and transmission is a proven and reliable combination delivering adequate thrust with pocket soothing returns on the mileage delivered. Power is there as and when you want, where you want and that too with a rather frugal drinking habit. There is excellent fuel economy for the taking even for a throttle happy person like me. Capable of cruising all day long at 110-120km/h, it also helps that the car has very precise yet easy steering with excellent feedback and when you couple this to the ride quality and the good stability it affords through corners and such given its performance, it makes a very compelling argument for consideration.
So there you have it, a step up but certainly not the last on the ladder. There is more to come from the Verito package including the sub four-metre offering but what was earlier an honest no-nonsense machine has now been backed by a more stylised suit it is wearing. No need to ruffle them up by flexing your muscles when you can do so just with common sense. And that exactly is in the WYSIWYG mode to borrow from the Apple Mac way of easy clarity – what-you-see-is-what-you-get!
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