Mahindra Marazzo Review

Posted on Fri ,19 Oct 2018 11:27 pm
Vaibhav Yedavi
Rating by CG: 
    
Mahindra Marazzo Review

Does this 'shark' have enough bite?

 

 

What is it?

 

What you see in the photos on this page is the great white shark. Just kidding! It is the Marazzo, Mahindra’s new premium MPV targeted at the family car buyer. It is the first vehicle to be developed by Mahindra’s North American Technical Centre based in Detroit. The Marazzo gets a unique chassis layout and is the debut vehicle for Mahindra’s new 1.5-litre, 4-cylinder turbo diesel engine, as well as a new 6-speed manual transmission.

 

Mahindra has priced the Marazzo to sit right in-between the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and the Toyota Innova Crysta. So does this shark have enough bite to take on the two Japanese behemoths? Well, let’s find out.

 

 

Why are you referring to the Marazzo as a shark?

 

‘Marrazo’ means shark in Basque, which is a sub-language of Spanish. Also, the design of the Marazzo is inspired by this ocean predator. Mahindra says that the silhouette of the Marazzo represents the streamlined body of the shark, while the design of the front grille inserts, tail-lamps and wheel spokes mimic the teeth, tail and fin of the shark respectively. You can even see shark fin shape in the area where the front grille, headlamps and bumpers intersect. You get the shark reference now, don’t you?

 

 

Marazzo has such a clean design.

 

Yes indeed! It has none of the overly sculpted or flat surfaces which define Mahindra’s current range of vehicles. Also the design is proportional. I think the Marazzo is the cleanest looking Mahindra model since the first generation Scorpio came out in 2002. One of the reasons for this has to be the involvement of stylists from the Italian design firm Pininfarina, which is now owned by Mahindra. The Italians even put the character line from the Ferrari 456 on the side of the Marazzo. I must say that it looks really snazzy!

 

Mahindra Marazzo Review - Rear Perspective

 

My only grumble with the styling is the large amount of empty surface area over the rear wheel arches left by the upward rising beltline. It makes even the large 17-inch wheels look puny in comparison. I also think the LED DRLs would have looked neat if they had been integrated into the headlamp cluster in some form of signature style instead of the boomerang shaped units placed in the bumper. And my goodness, the tail-lamps are really gigantic in size!

 

 

Tell me about the Marazzo’s unique chassis layout.

 

A body-on-ladder frame chassis is extremely rugged. But the longitudinal engine layout (north-south direction) it comes with has an impact on interior packaging as the transmission and propeller shaft sending power to the rear wheels take up space in the cabin as well as under the floor. On the other hand a transverse engine layout (east-west direction) powering the front wheels is compact and allows for more of the vehicle’s footprint to be exploited for passenger space. This compact layout is the exclusive domain of monocoque chassis vehicles though (like your average hatchback).

 

For the Marazzo, the engineers from Mahindra’s Detroit technical centre combined the traits of the two layouts into a single unique package – a body-on-ladder frame chassis with a transversely mounted engine powering the front wheels. This distinctive chassis layout allowed the engineers to keep Mahindra’s rugged vehicles DNA intact while still offering the Marazzo with cabin space comparable to that of the Innova Crysta in spite of Mahindra’s MPV being shorter in length. The engineers were also able to lower the floor height considerably and therefore you don’t need a side step to get in and out of the Marazzo, a real boon for the elderly in the family.

 

This innovative chassis has come at the cost of weight though, as at 1,680 kg the Marazzo weighs 350-400 kg more than the monocoque Ertiga. And since the Marazzo is powered by just a small diesel engine, the handicap shows up in the low power-to-weight ratio which affects the performance.

 

 

How is the Marazzo on the inside?

 

Like the exterior, the Marazzo’s interior too has clean styling. The dual-tone dark grey and light beige theme used and the expansive glass area together contribute to the spacious and airy feeling inside the cabin. The top end M8 variant I was testing came with ivory white inserts on the lower half of the dashboard as well as the upper half of the door panels. Though the shiny white trim looks out of place in the context of the Marazzo’s dark grey and light beige theme, it does help break the monotony of the big beige panels.

 

Mahindra Marazzo Review - Front Row View

 

Mahindra Marazzo Review - Second & Third Row View

 

The seats in the Marazzo are not large but they are comfortable and offer good back, neck and under-thigh support. On the M8 variant the driver’s seat even comes with adjustable support for height and lumbar. The second row captain seats offer the same levels of comfort and support as the ones at the front. They even recline a few degrees and slide fore-and-aft on their individual rails. Getting in and out of the third row is not a clumsy affair thanks to the wide rear door opening, low floor height and one-touch tumble forward second row seat. The third row can genuinely seat two six foot tall adults comfortably (no under thigh support though due to knee up position) on journeys lasting a few hours, like on a drive from Mumbai to Pune. Legroom is plenty in all three rows and I never found a reason to complain about the seating position or seat support on the three days I drove the Marazzo. Neither did my passengers. The Marazzo is also available in 8-seat variants with a 60:40 split bench seat for the second row.

 

Mahindra Marazzo Review - Boot Space With All Rows Folded

 

There are plenty of storage areas in the Marazzo’s cabin – a large cooled glovebox, storage bin with sliding door between front seats (comes with removable cup holders), small cavity at the bottom of the centre console, large cavity at the top of the dashboard, cup holders for all three rows and also two 1-litre bottle holders in all door pockets. The boot space with all the seats in position can only fit two or three soft bags, but with the third row folded it increases to accommodate the vacation luggage of a small family. Additionally with the second row folded it gives you enough space to move some light furniture. The only problem is that the seats don’t fold into a flat cargo area.

 

Mahindra Marazzo Review - Unique Roof AC

 

The longitudinally mounted roof AC with side air vents is the highlight of the interior and is unique to the Marazzo. It cools the second and third rows in a matter of minutes and its performance even in Mumbai’s hot and humid afternoon weather was commendable. There is also a ‘diffuse’ mode which releases air in a gentle flow instead of blasting it directly on the face and head of the passengers. The other highlight in the cabin is the 7-inch, Android Auto compatible touchscreen infotainment system (*update: it now supports Apple CarPlay too). It has an easy to use interface with logically laid out buttons and haptic feedback.

 

Mahindra Marazzo Review - Hard To Access Front USB Ports

 

The Marazzo’s cabin is not without its ergonomic quirks though. The gloss black panel on the dashboard reflects the sun thus blinding you. My passenger used it as a mirror on a few occasions so it does have some utility. The front USB ports located deep down below the centre console are difficult to access unless you are an acrobatics expert, and even then the handbrake lever gets in the way. The cup holders located in the storage bin between the front seats can’t be accessed when using the armrest and whatever you keep in the rear door pockets will not be accessible to you unless the door is opened. The biggest hurdle in the Marazzo’s cabin though is the aircraft throttle lever inspired handbrake. It requires more than double the strength needed to operate a traditional handbrake lever and therefore is painful to use in situations involving uphill slopes or where you frequently need to apply it, like in stop-and-go traffic.

 

 

What is it like to drive the Marazzo?

 

The engine powering the Marazzo has its roots in the KUV100’s 1.2-litre, 3-cylinder mFalcon diesel unit. So it is not all new. With an extra cylinder and variable geometry turbo added, the engine in the Marazzo displaces 1.5-litres and produces 121 bhp @ 3,500 rpm and 300 Nm @ 1,750-2,500 rpm. Mahindra’s engineers have worked hard on its refinement and the results show as soon as the engine is cranked. It is absolutely silent and vibration free at idle.

 

Mahindra Marazzo Review - 1.5-litre Transverse Engine

 

The 1.5-litre unit pulls away cleanly from a standstill only if you manage to carefully balance the accelerator and light clutch pedal. If you cannot, it will stall. In three days I stalled it six times. But once you get it going the engine will pull away cleanly from as low as 1,300 rpm due to the shorter gear ratios and abundance of torque. It is a boon in stop-and-go traffic or when pottering around town at crawling speeds.

 

Mahindra Marazzo Review - Instrument Cluster

 

When on the move the turbo starts to spool at 1,500 rpm and then the Marazzo really starts to gather pace which it continues to do till the engine reaches 3,500 rpm. Even in peak turbo range the power delivery is not rushed. It works nicely when moving swiftly into the gap you just found in traffic or during close overtaking manoeuvres in the city. You will be surprised by how tractable, smooth and vibration free this engine is in the city. It is on the highways when you are in a hurry that you will miss a big engine, and the handicap of the low power-to-weight ratio begins to show. When short bursts of power are needed to attempt high speed overtaking manoeuvres, the engine absolutely fails to deliver. It also gets very vocal above 3,500 rpm. You will also miss having a big engine when carrying a full load of passengers up an incline. The best way to drive the Marazzo then on the highways is in a relaxed manner with the cruise control set at 90-100 km/h.

 

The 6-speed manual transmission used in the Marazzo is a new unit. It has a light shift action and slots precisely into the gates with a positive click. But since the gear lever is a tall unit, the throws are rather long.

 

 

Tell me about the Marazzo’s ride and handling.

 

With the ladder frame chassis Mahindra has maintained its rugged DNA on the Marazzo. And with the shift to front wheel drive it has been able to reduce noise, vibrations and harshness significantly. The Marazzo is quiet inside the cabin with none of the engine, wind, tyre or suspension noise filtering inside. The controls like the steering, clutch, brakes and gearshift are light. The steering is one of the nicest units I have experienced on a Mahindra ever. The best thing about the Marazzo is that it wraps around you while driving and makes you forget about its dimensions. It feels like driving a compact vehicle. The Marazzo is super easy to manoeuvre in traffic, while parking or on the quicker sections of a twisting road. With disc brakes all around as standard the Marazzo stops in a straight line from high speeds without any drama. The pedal feel is a bit spongy though.

 

Mahindra Marazzo Review - Side Profile

 

The Marazzo features double wishbones suspension setup at the front and a twist beam setup at the rear. At low speeds the Marazzo jiggles around like all ladder frame vehicles do, but as the pace increases all the lumpiness disappears and the Marazzo rides flat. Even on rough surfaces when you have to drive at a fast pace the Marazzo rides in a composed manner without tossing the passengers around. The Marazzo exhibits some body roll during cornering. It is expected as it is an MPV and not a sports sedan. But it is never unnerving and the Marazzo maintains composure like no other Mahindra. It rides and handles better than the Innova Crysta.

 

 

Should I buy the Marazzo?

 

The Marazzo is a clean-slate product which Mahindra has thoroughly engineered for refinement, comfort and ease of driving. It has clean styling on the outside and a premium cabin. The visibility all around from the driver’s seat is great and the controls are light. The engine has decent power to haul a small family with luggage in a relaxed manner. It meets all the requirements a family car buyer is looking for.

 

Sure there are better 5-seat alternatives out there, but if you need the flexibility which only a 7-seat vehicle offers, then I can definitely suggest you consider the Marazzo. And yes, the shark can definitely take on the two Japanese behemoths.

 

 

Words by Vaibhav Yedavi

Photos by Ashutosh Amin

 

 

Mahindra Marazzo specifications

 

Engine – 1.5-litres, inline 4-cylinder turbo diesel; 121 bhp @ 3,500 rpm & 300 Nm @ 1,750 – 2,500 rpm

Transmission – 6-speed manual

Chassis & Drivetrain – Body-on-ladder frame with transverse engine, FWD (front wheel drive)

Mileage – 9.5 km/l (city), 14.5 km/l (highway), 12 km/l (average of city + highway)

Dimensions – 4,858 x 1,866 x 1,744 (length x width x height in mm)

Wheelbase – 2,760 mm

Boot Space – 190 litres with all seats up; 1,055 litres with second & third row seats folded

Fuel Tank – 45 litres

Wheels & Tyres – 215/60 R17

Turning Radius – 5.25 metres

On-road price as tested of Marazzo M8 on-road in Mumbai (approximate) – ₹ 16.42 lakh (ex-showroom price is ₹ 13.90 lakh)

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