Mahindra Marazzo is the Indian company’s effort to re-invent themselves in a segment not entirely alien to them.

Given the launch price, it sure holds promise in the MUV segment to give serious competition to the handful of similar vehicles available as of today, without posing a threat to their in-house brands Scorpio, or the XUV. In fact, they consider it as a sub-segment within the category.

For starters, they compare it to the mighty shark, who resides in the ocean without the fear of competition. The shark imagery ran through all across the board during the presentation, and we were handed over a brand new Marazzo and the private track at the Mahindra plant in Nasik was all ours to check out this shark on wheels’ capabilities. We put it in gear to check the patented ‘body-on-frame’ front wheel drive architecture, an all-new engine and disc brakes all-around. It was time to hit the ground running on the little drivers’ playground in the middle of the huge Mahindra campus. Too bad we had to call it a day post the short drive...

 

Design

Executive Chairman, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd., Anand Mahindra addressed the media with his usual dose of wit and confidence and took us through the design inspiration on this one. Not shying away from the fact that it’s common for automotive companies to look at the animal kingdom for inspiration and the Marazzo, drawing inspiration from the shark ain’t no different.

Car designs taking years before the final product hits the market is not new either. No wonder then the complete execution of the Marazzo took four years before it was presented to us. Picture an approaching shark with teeth all out to attack. The front grille is meant to evoke similar imagery, the tail lamps inspired by a shark’s tail and an added shark-fin antenna complete the look. It’s impressive, yes, certainly not something that you go all ‘wow’ about at first look. It is a new design, no doubt, given the Italian design house Pininfarina had a large hand in it. It’s available in seven or eight seater configurations for now.

There is some evident sculpting on the bonnet and the sides that extends across all the way to the C-pillar. Other design elements like chrome garnishes, oversized rear tail lights, and the heavy backside. The chassis - which is new and a first of its kind - is a hybrid that combines a ladder frame and a monocoque. The company has patented this structural style of the MPV. This unique architecture has the weight advantage over the Innova, but not so much over an Ertiga.

As you move inside, the first thing you notice is the dual tone interiors that make it look classy, the driving seat is high enough for a good outside view, and the leather seats are plush and spacey enough for a larger driver frame. There are sun shades in the second row, one-touch mechanics of the second row seats makes the third row easily accessible. Also, the second and third rows can be easily folded to be able to move your whole house.

The cabin is loaded with enough space to house your bottles, plug in multiple devices, but the access to the port point was a little too low for comfort. The 18cm Touch Screen Infotainment system is equipped with Haptic and Capsense Technology and is compatible with Android Auto so you may have good company on Google Music during longer drives. Too bad Apple CarPlay isn’t even an option.

The two USB and Aux points (one) are placed below the Infotainment system and as mentioned, hard to access, even the armrest on the driver’s seat acted as a hindrance while changing gears. In the Automatic version, whenever that comes, the same armrest might prove to be a blessing during longer drives. In the Manual, however, it proved to be quite a pain in the elbow, rather than a convenience. But that’s just our first impression. Writing it off would be a tad bit unfair.

You soon spot another design inspiration, but this time from the inside of an aircraft. The hand brake lever looks unique and is okay to use, once you’ve got used to the different design. The patented ‘Surround Cool Technology’ on the roof-mounted air conditioner that offers passengers even coolness by way of direct and diffused cool air in all three rows.

Drive

The one thing the Mahindra reps drive home the fact that the strong build of this machine. Safety has been one of the key pillars since the initial design process. Though we are of the opinion that just the dual airbags in the front are not enough, Team Mahindra insists that disc brakes on all four wheels and a sturdy frame make the Marazzo fulfilling this ideal.

The 1.5L oil burner impressed us with the low cabin noise and overall refinement, with a distinct lack of clatter that is expected from a Mahindra. It’s not, and was pretty silent when not in motion as well. The four-cylinder 1.5 litre is good for 123bhp and a robust 300Nm of torque that is spread well across the spectrum, making it easy to drive in stop-go conditions too. It doesn’t pick up pace in a hurry though and the weight of the car clearly overwhelms the little engine, but stick to the speed limits and drive like a typical family man and you wouldn’t find many reasons to complain. If you like an even more sedate experience but with enhanced fuel efficiency, the EcoSense mode further drops the power to 100bhp and rewards you with a few extra kilometers per litre.

Ride will definitely be the biggest talking point of the Marazzo and it plays to Mahindra’s strengths. The enthusiasm it lacks around fast corners, it makes up for during undulations and broken roads. The test track we drove on wasn’t the best proving ground for its ride but it would be safe to assume that it won’t give you a sore back on the streets of our metros.

There’s the option of Cruise Control resting comfortably on the steering, along with other media controls, but our time on tarmac and its length was too short to put that into action. The six gears on this one have one other impressive feature. Depending on your speed, the indicator on the instrument panel suggests the correct gear for your speed.

We drove the top-end M8 variant and managed the bends pretty smoothly, shifting between gears without trouble. A smooth clutch and responsive ABS brakes were put to test within the short span of time we had with it.

 
Stuff says... 

Mahindra Marazzo First Drive review

A typical family man wouldn’t find many reasons to complain as it's a promising companion for family road trips, carpool days and short city drives.
Good Stuff 
Low cabin noise and overall refinement
Pretty silent when not in motion as well
Bad Stuff 
Weight overwhelms the engine in speeds
Lacks enthusiasm around fast corners

Where to buy Mahindra Marazzo First Drive: