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Review: Mahindra Verito Vibe
Driven June 2013
Things are changing. And they are changing real fast. Take the weather as a case. It was all bright and sunny with the mercury tipping on the wrong side of 40 just a few days back. And now it’s all cloudy and windy, at least here in Mumbai. With that, there’s a change happening in the auto world too.
Mahindra, known for its big, rugged and brawny SUVs, is getting into the world of compact cars. But wait, compact does not mean hatchbacks. Mahindra welcomes you to the world of compact sedans or notchbacks or whatever you may want to call it, with the new Verito Vibe.
For starters, it’s the good ol’ Verito with a sliced boot, to get it under four metres. And before you ask, the rest more or less remains the same. At the first glance, you may mistake it for a hatchback, but don’t be fooled – the glass does not flip over to give you easy access to that 330-litre boot. Loading stuff into the boot will get a bit tricky, but in the end what you have is a slightly bigger area for your bags than your regular hatchbacks.
With the changes mostly done on the rear, the tall vertical tail-lamps might look as if they had something to do with Volvo, but nevertheless, they look good on the otherwise oddly sliced rear side of the Vibe. Styling on the rest of the car is identical to that of its sedan sibling, which itself cannot be accurately termed as handsome.
Once you step into the Vibe, you get the same roomy feel as the Verito. The rear seats are spacious enough to seat three in comfort. Front ones too have enough room even if you’re on the heftier side.
The Verito Vibe slightly disappoints in terms of features. Even the top-end D6 variant does not get Bluetooth connectivity or steering-mounted controls. But in terms of safety, there’s been no compromise. You get ABS with EBD and a driver side airbag. You also get electrically adjustable ORVMs, central locking and music system with AUX and USB inputs.
Under the hood, it has the proven 1.5-litre dCi engine that’s sourced from Renault. Like the Verito, it’s tuned to churn out 64bhp of power and 160Nm of pulling force. The engine has always been known for its linear power delivery and this one is no different. There’s very little lag under 2,000rpm and there’s power right up till 4,200rpm. But it’s one noisy motor. You can hear it inside the cabin even when it’s not spinning at really high revs.
The engine is mated to a five-speed manual ’box, which is pretty smooth and has short throws. It’s been tuned to be on the shorter side to aid city driving. With that, you sometimes miss the sixth cog while cruising on the highway.
The Verito Vibe hits 100kph from standstill in 16.57 seconds. And when you speak of fuel efficiency, it’ll do a respectable 12.7kpl in city traffic and 15.4kpl on the highway.
In terms of ride quality, the Vibe is not going to disappoint you even when the roads get horrible in the monsoons. It goes over potholes and bumps with ease, making sure none of that filters to your backside. But on the flipside, if you get too enthusiastic around bends, there will be a lot of body roll. But that’s a small price to pay, as against an otherwise sorted ride.
In the handling department too, this one stays true to its French roots. The steering is communicative and gives you enough feedback. But we hoped it would have been light at crawl speed to help manoeuvre it easily in city traffic. The rubber has enough grip to keep you sticking to the line even at slightly higher speeds.
The Verito Vibe with its sorted ride and spacious interiors is not cheap, especially by compact car standards. The base D2 variant will set you back by Rs 5.63 lakh and D4 by Rs 5.89 lakh. The top-end D6 variant that you see here is priced at Rs 6.49 lakh. All prices are ex-showroom, Mumbai, without Octroi.
4cyl, 1461cc, diesel, 64bhp, 160Nm, 5M, FWD, 0-100kph - 16.57sec, 30-50kph (3rd) - 3.74sec, 30-50kph (4th) - 6.77sec, 50-70kph (5th) - 7.09sec, 80-0kph - 26.11m, 2.70s, 14.1kpl, top speed - 150kph (est), Rs 6.49 lakh (ex-showroom, Mumbai, without octroi)
Styling is not its greatest strength, but certainly has good driving dynamics and a comfortable ride. If you’re looking for a car with a bigger boot than a hatchback’s, this one’s for you.