Mahindra South Africa is broadening its model offering in the country with the introduction of an innovative newcomer that combines the manoeuvrability and agility of a small hatchback with the raised stance and versatility of a compact sport utility vehicle (SUV).
The Mahindra KUV100, which makes its SA debut this month, is a compact SUV that targets buyers of conventional small hatchbacks, but adds the rugged personality, taller stance and all-round versatility more usually associated with SUVs. Built on an all-new monocoque platform and designed in-house with contemporary urban crossover styling cues, the KUV100 sports a design language that is unique.
It links compact, athletic dimensions to aggressive styling. The contrasting cladding of the integrated bumper, and a front scuff plate all confirm the KUV100’s rugged personality. Top-of-the-range models come standard with daytime running lamps. The KUV100’s SUV character is further reinforced by the presence of standard roof rails, and a sporty rear spoiler on all models. Contrasting wheel arch cladding and sill garnishes provide further visual muscle, as does the raised stance of the newcomer, thanks to a 170 mm ground clearance.
The 14-inch wheels are shod with 185/65 R14 tyres, selected for their slightly taller sidewall profile and wide tread. Combined, the relatively high ground clearance and taller tyre profile should prove beneficial on SA’s many gravel roads and potholed road surfaces. Short overhangs front and rear result in an approach angle of 21,99 deg, a departure angle of 42,77 deg, and a ramp-over angle of 21,39 deg, again underlining the SUV design and character of the KUV100.
Combined with suspension travel of 150 mm at the front and 200 mm at the rear, the KUV100’s eminent suitability for occasional rough road usage becomes apparent. Higher-specification models boast further sporty highlights such as a front grille with chrome inserts, alloy wheels, silver-accentuated rear door handles, a roof-mounted antenna, and chrome-accented fog lights front and rear.
The KUV100 is offered with a choice of petrol and turbodiesel drivetrains. Petrol models are equipped with Mahindra’s own, all-new mFalcon G80 three-cylinder engine, featuring multipoint fuel injection and dual variable valve timing. The lightweight, all-aluminium, 1 198 cc unit is credited with 61 kW of maximum power at 5 500 r/min, with an accompanying torque peak of 115 Nm, achieved between 3 500 and 3 600 r/min. Drive is to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox. For diesel fans, the KUV100 can also be ordered with the new mFalcon D75 intercooled turbodiesel engine. The three-cylinder mill features common-rail direct-injection, an electronic waste gate and variable vane turbocharger technology. It produces a maximum power output of 57 kW at 3 750 r/min, linked to a healthy 190 Nm of torque, sustained between 1 750 and 2 250 r/min for brisk acceleration and overtaking.
As in the case of the petrol-engined model, drive is to the front wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox. The KUV100 combines an independent front suspension comprising MacPherson struts, coil springs and gas-filled dampers with a rear torsion beam, coil springs and gas-charged dampers. Vented front disc brakes are partnered by self-adjusting drum brakes at the rear. The rack-and-pinion steering is equipped with electric power steering for ease of use, while the turning circle is a nimble 10,1 metres.
The flagship turbodiesel model offers frugal fuel consumption in the compact SUV class, with a claimed combined cycle figure of just 4,4 litres/100 km. A Power/Eco mode function, as well a stop-start technology, assist in achieving these remarkably low figures. The petrol-powered KUV100 achieves an impressive combined cycle fuel consumption figure of 5,9 litres/100 km, while the CO2 emissions rating is 139 g/km.
The bright and breezy cabin of the KUV100 offers accommodation for up to five adults, thanks to the relatively long wheelbase. The joystick-inspired short-shift gear lever is mounted in the dashboard for both convenient use and as a space-saving measure, leaving a flat floor unencumbered by the usual transmission tunnel.
A twin-pod instrument cluster, fabric upholstery, a sporty steering wheel and mood lighting are among the highlights, while piano black finishes endow higher-specification models with a more premium feel. Specification levels vary depending on model, but key features include a flat-folding rear bench seat to boost luggage space from 243 to 473 litres. A clever underfloor storage area in the rear of the cabin provides additional stowage.
The KUV100 also features adjustable headrests front and rear, tilt-adjustable steering, arm rest-mounted cup holders front and rear, as well as one-litre bottle holders in the door pockets, and 12V accessory sockets for front and rear occupants.
All KUV100 models are equipped with ABS anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and corner braking control (CBC) as standard, as well as dual front airbags, a collapsible steering column, and child safety locks on the rear doors The new Mahindra KUV100 range consists of five models, spanning two engine choices and three specification levels. The most affordable member of the range is the KUV100 K4+, offered as a petrol-engined model only. Exterior features include a roof spoiler, wheel arch cladding, full wheel covers for the steel wheels, and front and rear mud flaps.
Inside, you’ll find a tilt-adjustable steering wheel, underfloor storage in the rear, electrically operated windows, air-conditioning, manual central locking, and a fold-down rear bench seat. Both the tailgate and the fuel filler flap can be unlatched from the driver’s seat. In active safety terms, ABS brakes with EBD and CBC are standard, while passive features include dual front airbags and inertia reel seatbelts front and rear. Adjustable front and fixed rear headrests are standard. Next up is the KUV100 K6+, which can be ordered with either the 1,2-litre petrol engine, or the similarly sized turbodiesel. A five-speed manual transmission is standard. The K6+ gets all the features of the K4+, but adds a number of exterior and interior features. From the outside, notable extras include a grille with chrome accents, colour-coded door handles and exterior mirrors, and door side cladding. K6+ buyers also get a blacked out B-pillars, and a roof-mounted antenna.
Inside, the K6+ improves on the K4+ with an array of additional features that includes an infotainment system comprising a 3,5-inch display, an integrated driver information system, Bluetooth telephony and audio streaming, and a USB input for smart devices and flash drives. Mahindra BlueSense app compatibility is another additional feature, as is the six-speaker sound system with steering wheel-mounted controls for the audio system and hands-free telephony. There is also a cooled glove box. Mood lighting and piano gloss black interior accents are also included, while smart fabric upholstery extends to the interior door panels. The rear bench seat gets a centre armrest and adjustable head rests. Remote central locking with keyless entry replaces the manual central locking of the K4+ model, while additional standard features are follow-me-home and lead-me-to-the-vehicle headlights, a range indicator on the trip computer, and dual 12V power sockets.
As far as safety is concerned, the K6+ adds speed-sensing auto-locking doors, auto hazard light activation under heavy braking, as well as when the bonnet opens while driving, and in the case of a collision. Security is enhanced through a standard anti-theft alarm system. The range-topping KUV100 K8 is also offered with a choice of petrol and diesel derivatives, and is fitted with all the equipment and features mentioned. However, it adds daytime running lights, alloy wheels, front and rear fog lamps, puddle lamps on all doors, silver-accentuated rear door handles, and start-stop technology in the case of the diesel model.