We were lucky to have managed to get hold of one of the Mahindra Quanto SUVs for a review. One of the vehicles was available for an hour or so, time good enough for us to bring to your our initial impressions about the vehicle. Don’t miss out the pictures at the end of the review depicting all the features of the new compact SUV from Mahindra.
Design and visuals
As the whole world knows by now, the Quanto doesn’t really have much to write home about as regards aesthetics. In profile the vehicle makes you feel as if there’s something missing at the rear end. Clearly, our eyes, trained by now to see the ubiquitous Xylo, find a flaw on witnessing that stubby rear. The tail gate mounted wheel cover brings some visual respite by adding a dash of sportiness, but honestly, that’s not enough to cover up for the lack on balance in exterior dimensions. The Xylo’s windows have given way to small butterfly quarter panels, making it look like a hatchback from certain angles. The tail gate is distinctive though, with a different D-pillar and a new set of tail-lamps. Wheels have been downsized to 15” from the Xylo’s 16 inch and are shod with 205 / 65R rubber.
The front end has been taken from the Xylo. The bonnet has a more prominent set of creases and the grille now sits under a new lip as a differentiator. Apart from that, the Quanto doesn’t differ from its bigger brother till you reach its posterior. Now that fact may bereave the Quanto from having a character of its own, but it has saved Mahindra loads of money by helping them sharing the parts bin for the two vehicles. And the Indian carmaker, like always, has duly passed this benefit to the consumers by pricing the vehicle aggressively.
We won’t rate the Quanto too highly for looks, but with its Xylo genes, it was never meant to stun. It’s an okay design, which may be discounted given the value, versatility and utility the vehicle offers
Engine and gearbox
The Quanto is powered by the all new three pot 1.5 liter mCR100 engine with two –stage turbo. Peak power output is an impressive 100PS at 3750rpm, while peak torque of 250 NM is spread over a flat and wide band of 1600-2800rpm. This powerplant has been derived off the four pot 2.2 liter mHawk unit with a cylinder chopped off. With some help from a two-stage turbo charger and intercooler, the engine manages enough grunt to keep this heavy machine on the move without puffing or panting.
Three pot motors are typically known to be burbly and noisy in an incoherent manner. This engine, however is pretty well sorted. Turning the ignition key brought some noise to the cabin, but the sound was that of a smooth motor, no vibes worth complaining and the engine settled down further as the revs picked up. There was a bit of transmission judder to be felt at the shifter stick, but we’d still term this new engine smooth.
The most surprising element of the new powerplant is its incredible tractability. It can stay on the move at ridiculously low rpms, and begins gearing up for a pull from as low as 1000-1100rpm. Even at a ludicrously low 800 rpm, there was some splutter, some stutter but the engine didn’t stall. By the time you reach 1500 rpm, the engine is a position to pull reassuringly. The in-city driveability of the Quanto is going to be one of its biggest USPs, and would positively affect its day to day fuel efficiency too.
There are negatives to that ultra-good tractability too. The engine tends to run out of steam as it approaches its peak output rev mark of 3750 rpm. Power there on doesn’t come easy and you feel like bringing the revs down to save the mill the effort it’s making. The ascent to 100km/h isn’t sprightly either and takes about 18 seconds. The Quanto feels a bit huffy if you try to push the rev needle through gears. Making a dash isn’t the Quanto’s forte, it loves treading on in a relaxed manner and keeps you relaxed too by keeping the gearshifts to a bare minimum.
The engine is mated with a 5 speed 5MT320, indirect shift manual transmission, which apparently is an all-new unit. We found the shift quality on the Quanto marginally better than the Xylo, but it definitely isn’t the smoothest shifting unit around. The gates could be felt while shifting gears and there was a reasonable judder to felt in the palms, especially at low rpms.
The ratios seem to have been sorted to help the machine pick up from low revs and amble around at low speeds in high gears. This may have deprived the Quanto of a higher top whack and a racy character, but we would prefer it that way for a practical, rugged vehicle like this one.
We really think that Mahindra have pulled off a great job with the engine and transmission, and the tractability and practicality of this engine is good enough to put many a vehicles from international carmakers to shame. Add to the equation a fuel efficiency figure of 17.1 kmpl, and Mahindra really have something to pat their backs for.
Cabin space and comfort
Enter the Quanto and it shows you around the house of its bigger brother Xylo. The familiarity is striking to the point of being peculiar. As mentioned earlier, Mahindra have made liberal use of the Xylo’s parts bin to keep the costs at bay. This similarity also allows them to use the Xylo/Quanto assembly line to produce a mix of the two vehicles according to the demand.
The commanding view from the cockpit, with great all round visibility is a great plus. The front seats, the center console, the dashboard, the instrument cluster, everything is exactly the same as the Xylo, except for the colour scheme for the plastics and fabrics, which according to Mahindra is inspired by ‘Granite’. The two tone grey and beige dashboard has a black coloured 2 –din audio unit housed in the center console. It is capable of playing music via CDs, Aux-in jack and a USB port. The seats are grey with a yellow wavy pattern as contrast, which doesn’t look particularly good. Features inside include a digital trip computer, an array of telltale lights, 4 bottle holders up front, tilt adjustable steering and many more (listed in detail later)
The plastic quality is typical Mahindra – that of a hard and lasting variety. The plastics may feel tough to touch, but the cabin seems to have been put together to last. The finesse of an international machine is missing here, but the soaring sales of Mahindra vehicles are testimony to fact that we Indians can live with some coarseness in our car cabins as long as they last – and last the Mahindra cabins do. This one too will carry the family’s legacy forward, without a doubt. The way the fabric upholstery has been put into the panels and door handles however, is shoddy enough to be an eyesore in even the Quanto’s strictly average cabin.
The second bench is reminiscent of the Xylo’s middle row too, but doesn’t provide half the comfort. While the legroom is reasonably good for a sub-4 meter car, the backrests don’t recline and offer a rather upright seating stance. Compare this to the Xylo’s ‘Happy Legs’ seats, and you almost feel enraged for a moment. There is space only for a single bottle for the second row occupants, between the front two seats. You do have the tray tables though to rest your snacks on, with space for a coffee cup too. The door panels don’t have a bottle holder, though they have map pockets. There are no rear A/C vents, though the third row gets its own reading lights.
At the extreme end, the two jump seats offer barely enough space to rest your bum. The facing seats are extremely upright for your back, and could not be used for long journeys. Facing, two passengers at the back bench would be perennially cursing each other with their knees constantly rubbing. Enough space for a weekend trip is released though once you fold the seats up.
Ride and handling
The Quanto shares the wheelbase with the bigger, heavier Xylo. This, along with a belief that Mahindra may probably have worked on the handling aspect for this one made us believe that the compact SUv would be a substantially better handler than its elder brother. We were right and wrong. While the reduced weight has made the Quanto feel slightly stiffer and less wallowy than the Xylo, it still is a far cry from being an able, balanced handler. In fact the slightly stiffer suspension has made the rear feel bouncier at slow speeds. We would rather have the Xylo’s cushy ride than gain this marginal lead in handling. We hope that the bounciness settles down to an extent once the vehicle is loaded properly though.
Around the corners, the Quanto felt slightly better poised than the Xylo, but there still is a lot of body roll, thanks to the heavy weight, high center of gravity and a body on ladder frame construction. The composure of a monocoque is missing, but Mahindra prefers to term the body on ladder frame construction as a USP for the vehicle’s go-anywhere capability. We wonder how that’s a valid point without a 4×4 transmission system.
The steering wheel isn’t featherlight as one some other cars, but is light enough for even females to operate without having to have one Mary Kom’s forearms. The Quanto is ideally suited for steady 100km/h highway cruise, the occasional venture into the not so challenging off-road terrains and even the stop start city traffic – it isn’t however suited to be piloted by a fervent car nut around a snaky patch of tar.
Features, variants and price
The Quanto is available in four variants C2, C4, C6 and C8. All the variants are powered by the same 1.5 liter mCR100 engine. Here’s a detailed feature list of all the variants
C2 – (Rs 5.82 lakhs)
C4 = C2 + (Rs 6.35 lakhs)
C6 = C4 + (Rs 6.86 lakhs)
C8 = C6 + (Rs 7.36 lakhs)
Summing it up
It’s pretty simple. Mahindra have delivered a diesel SUV for a price for which some companies don’t sell a hatchback. Sure, there are downers such as less than average handling, a little lack of refinement, unsophisticated interiors and oddball looks. Most of the flaws mentioned there have been lifted off from the bigger Xylo, which, by the way, is a big success, which in turn means that people know, and have accepted those flaws in a Mahindra vehicle for some reason. And that reason is that the virtues of Mahindra vehicles far outweigh their vices. They are tough, they are spacious, they are frugal, they are easy to maintain, they are backed by one of the largest sales and service network in the country, and most importantly, rupee-for-rupee, they totally outclass any other offering from any other carmaker by a mile. And that, my friends, is a reason enough for plenty of people to go in for this brawny little beast.
Engine- Common Rail, BS IV
Power- 100PS @3750 RPM
Torque- 243Nm @1600-2800 RPM
Front Brakes- Disc
Rear Brake- Drum
Transmission- 5 speed manual
Front Suspension- Independent double wishbone, coil springs with anti roll bar
Rear Suspension- Five bar link, coil springs
Turning radius- 5.4m
Tyre- Tubeless 205/65R15
Fuel Tank capacity- 55 ltrs
Ground Clearance- 180 mm
Click Images to enlarge
Wiper / Light stalks are on the right side for most Indians’ driving habits
Small crevice below the A/C controls to store small articles
USB slot on the decent sounding Nippon system
Blacked out exteriors for the headlamps taken from the Xylo
Wheel cover for stepney on tail gate
6-spoke alloy wheels
Foot board for easy ingress to first and second row
Body coloured two-tone ORVMs
A small bungee cord net below the final set of seats for storage
Rear wiper / washer fluid storage in tail gate
Additional tools under the floor mat in boot
Jump seat folded
Reasonably good boot space with both rear seats folded
Cover for toolbox compartment in boot floor
Toolbox compartment opened
Hardly any space in the back seats. Very little head and knee room
Foot board for easy ingress for the rear seats too
Middle row offers reasonably good knee room. Backrests are not adjustable though
Bottle holder and power outlet for second row occupants
Steering wheel doesnt have audio controls even on the top end C8 variant
Music system buttons are soft to touch. 2 Din unit offers good utility
Dashboard is a replica of the Xylo’s, except for the color
Front reading lamps
Glove box offers decent storage
Front armrests can be folded back
Height adjustable driver’s seat
Front door panel
Power window switches
Gearshift feel not too great, but better than Xylo.
Micro Hybrid Start – Stop actuator button
Various Driver Assist System readouts
Some more images: