The latest in a long list of sub four metre compact cars is the Mahindra Verito Vibe and it's more than just a Verito without a boot!
If you’ve been following the Indian automotive scene for the past few years, hatchbacks springing out of sedans or sedans springing out of hatchbacks isn’t really a phenomenon that will catch you by surprise. Whether you like it or not, taxation laws laid down by our government led to this sudden formula of having a hatchback and a sedan on the same platform. Any vehicle under four metres and running either a 1.2 litre petrol or a 1.5 litre diesel engine gets a excise duty benefit that is no mediocre sum.
The latest fad seems to be to cut down the boot from existing sedans to make them meet that length criteria and so we have cars like the Suzuki DZire and the Tata Indigo eCS as well as hatchbacks like the Toyota Liva that are absolutely practical machines taking advantage of those very taxation laws. The latest to join that fray carves itself out of the Mahindra Verito and has been christened the Verito Vibe.
It’s a relatively easier task to convert a sedan to a hatch and vice versa if the car has been designed that way right from the word go, but bear in mind the fact that the Verito Vibe traces its roots back to the Renault Logan and the gargantuan task that Mahindra’s R&D team had becomes eminent.
This is a car that was designed to be a sedan and any kind of chopping must have required some mammoth engineering skills. So while the manufacturer itself is calling the Verito Vibe a shortened sedan, debate is open on whether you’d like to look at it that way or just think of it as a hatch instead. We prefer the latter.
There isn’t any change from the Verito sedan as far as the front half of the car is concerned – it still has that very distinctive boxy front though the new grille and the recent upgrades the sedan got have given it a much sportier visual cue than before. Where the Verito ends and the Vibe begins is in fact from the C-pillar rearwards. The rear windscreen slopes back heavily and is flanked on either side by two vertically stacked tail lamps that the designers at Volvo will definitely recognise and be proud of. The details are what are most impressive and that is evident in each element of that tail lamp cluster as well – right from the high-mounted indicators to the brake lights.
Now all that is typical hatchback styling, but where the debate begins is when you take a look at the Verito Vibe’s boot lid. Adapting the Verito to a sub-4 metre length has meant that the rear windscreen remains fixed quite unlike any hatchback we have seen in recent times. Pop open the boot through the remote release beside the driver’s seat and the tailgate swings upward much like a sedan – without the rear windscreen attached. With the parcel tray fixed in place as well, there is no access to the Verito Vibe’s boot from the passenger compartment – again like a sedan.
Whether or not the tiny lip of the bootlid qualifies the Verito Vibe to call itself a small sedan is something you’ve got to decide for yourself, but like we mentioned, we’d much rather keep things simple and still call it a hatchback. The biggest upgrade in the cosmetic department that the Vibe gets over the sedan though is in the alloy wheel design that is available with the top end D6 variant which seems like its been picked straight off an expensive accessories list.