First Drive and Review – Mahindra Quanto

Mahindra Quanto - FrontView

India’s largest utility vehicle maker, Mahindra has taken another step in the right direction with their compact SUV – the Quanto. It has created an all-new segment in the market and its the first SUV in a sub-4 metre category, to avail the excise duty benefit. The Quanto is another value-for-money offering from Mahindra comes loaded with features, a powerful engine and good amount of space.

The Quanto is an unusual looking SUV hence can be found to be attractive and a head turner. Based on the Ingenio platform, this is also the basis for the Xylo and the Genio. The Quanto therefore has the same width and wheelbase as that of the Xylo although the rear has been chopped-off. On the height basis, the Quanto is lower by 75mm compared to the Xylo but it still maintains the same 180mm ground clearance.

The front-fascia of the Quanto is a mixture of bits from the Xylo’s timeline. The headlights are identical to the current-Xylo except the orange surrounds and the grille also is borrowed from the current-Xylo but the top of the grill resembles that of older-Xylo. The bumpers and fog lamps too are an evolution of the current model, without the fins on either ends. The bonnet isn’t exactly similar to the Xylo’s either and gets more prominent lines. Unlike the Xylo, the Quanto gets a roof-mounted antenna for the radio.

The side profile is similar in appearance to the Xylo upto the rear doors. However, the front didn’t impress me as much as the rear did, and the tailgate doesn’t take any inspiration from the Xylo – apart from the rear step. The Quanto gets completely different D-pillars, wrap-around squarish taillights and comes with its spare wheel mounted on the tail-gate with well designed cover adding macho appeal to the vehicle.

Mahindra Quanto - SideView

You don’t get into the Quanto’s cabin, you actually climb into it. The side footsteps help in this regard but only C6 and C8 variant get it has standard equipment. All round visibility is excellent, the front seats are comfy and the dashboard, a straight lift from the Xylo, adds to the feeling of familiarity in here. Sadly, the interior built quality is poor and not upto the mark. If there’s some compensation, it’s that you get a lot of features at a price.

With the Quanto sharing the Xylo’s 2760mm wheelbase, space inside the cabin is fantastic with ample space for both first and second row of seats. However, the seats are comfortable but the rear seats are too upright and not adjustable. That’s because, the Quanto is a seven-seater and the second-row backrest has undoubtedly been kept upright to free-up space for the rear jump seats. Inspite of this compromise, space in the boot is really tight.

Although the Quanto is a rear-wheel drive vehicle, there is no hump in the middle row and thus 3-adults can sit comfortably (4-adults can be adjusted) but the headrest for the middle passenger on the rear seat is missing. The jump seats at the rear are good enough for kids and for adults it hardly offers space to rest your bum. However, the jump seats at the rear is suitable for adults only at short distance or city travel but could not be used for long journeys. These jump seats do fold, and with them out of the way there is decent luggage space in the boot.

Mahindra Quanto - DashView

On the inside, the centre console gets a USB and auxiliary compatible double-DIN audio system that plays CDs and MP3 / WMA digital audio with four speakers attached to door at the bottom. And its the same Nippon head-unit that you get in the Verito, new Xylo and even on the new Premier Rio. At the top of the center console it features DDAS (Digital Driver Assist System) that tells you the outside/inside temperature, mileage, speed, digital clock and displays other valuable information.

Surprisingly, even the top-end C8 variant of the Quanto doesn’t feature automatic climate control system and steering mounted controls. There is no phone-pairing either. But I won’t be surprised if Mahindra gives all that with a C9 variant sometime in near future! As the Quanto aims to be more youthful than the Xylo, you don’t get the brown plastics or wood-finish inserts. Instead, the plastics have a light grey colour with metallic finish inserts.

The Quanto is only offered in 1.5-litre diesel engine, to qualify for excise benefits on small cars. It is called the mCR100 and though it is a derivative of the 2.2-litre mHawk engine, it surprisingly does not make use of any birdy names. The mCR100 is powered by 1493cc, 3-cylinder diesel engine which is mated to a twin-stage turbocharger that helps reduce the turbo-lag. This oil-burner puts out 100 PS of power and close to 240 Nm of torque – which seems adequate for the Quanto.

Mahindra Quanto - RearView

Initial pick-up isn’t awesome, it has very little pulling capacity and vibrations under 1,000 revs, but after 1000 RPM the engine smoothens & doesn’t feel underpowered. However, it is one of the most powerful cars in its class, the all-new mCR100 twin-turbo charged diesel engine is quite peppy and Quanto can reach 0-100 kmph in just 17.8 seconds. But compared to the similarly spec-ed Renault-Nissan dCi oil-burner that you get inside the Verito, the Quanto is bit noisy and also a fair bit of road noise can be heard inside.

Like the typical Mahindra vehicles, the Quanto too suffers from the same problem – body roll. In fact, the Quanto has even more body roll than its elder sibling I guess. And the brake pedal too should be pushed hard to stop quickly. The 5-speed gearbox is light but does not slot into gear easily and gives a negative feel. But the torque is very good & u don’t need to shift down for overtaking even in 4th gear. Also the clutch action is light, but there is some lag as you get off the line and does test your patience a bit. But once you start moving things get better.

On our test drive we managed to get around 13-14 kmpl on city driving condition, although the ARAI certified mileage of Quanto is 17.3 kmpl. Thanks to micro-Hybird system that helps the car to further improves the fuel-efficiency. Its the same stuff that you get in the Scorpio, which turns off the engine every time you come to a complete standstill. This system can be switched on-off with the additional switch on the centre console.

The ride quality on the Quanto is slightly hard especially for the person in the middle row can feel smallest humps on the road as the seats are given too much height. The Quanto borrows its alloy wheels from the Xylo E9, however, the stylish six-spoke 15-inch wheels shod with slightly smaller section tyres (205/65-R15 instead of the Xylo’s 215/75-R15) and this helps in reducing the ground clearance a bit.

Mahindra Quanto - BootView

As far as safety is concerned, the Quanto comes fully equipped with safety features like Mahindra Xylo with dual-front SRS airbags, child lock on middle and rear door, front fog lamps, Intellipark reverse assist, rear washer plus wiper and ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution).

For the money, the Quanto simply can’t match similarly priced hatchbacks and sedans in terms of quality. But if you must have yourself a compact SUV, this is the only option you have besides the Premier Rio. The pricing of the Quanto is just average it isn’t really cheap the top-end C8 model cost approx. Rs. 9 lakh (on-road price, Mangalore). However, you get SUV-like commanding driving position, which seems to be preferred by most of the people for Indian roads these days.

Overall, Mahindra has taken a step in the right direction with the Quanto but I don’t think they have done enough there is bit need to be improved.  However, looking from an Indian standpoint it’s a sensible, practical vehicle and that’s what it does very well. Then it is easy to maintain and backed by one of the largest sales & service network in the country, which will add as the plus point to the buyers.


‘A good innovation by Mahindra but certainly needs to be improved’


(Special thanks to Santosh Rodrigues & Anil Sequeira, Karnataka Agencies exclusive Mahindra dealer, Mangalore.)
Checkout more pictures below the jump.

Also see – Mahindra Quanto bulks up with bigger plans


See more pictures of Mahindra Quanto –

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