Mahindra has updated its KUV100 mini crossover and added an NXT badge. This facelifted model has a number of cosmetic changes inside-out; it also gets new features like a touchscreen infotainment system and more. We put the diesel-powered KUV100 NXT K8 (₹7.42 lakh) up against the Maruti Ignis 1.3D Alpha (₹7.54 lakh, all-prices ex-showroom, Delhi). So, can Mahindra’s updated KUV outperform its competition?
On the Inside
The interior in the Ignis feels quirky but there are many areas where it feels expensive, like the painted door handles, climate control unit and the steering wheel switches. In terms of build quality, there are areas with room for improvement. The lighter-coloured lower half of the interior on the Maruti does make it feel brighter. We also found that the seats were a bit too soft and should have been firmer.
In the Mahindra however, the all-black interior replaces the grey interior of the older model and it looks much better now. The dashboard design is odd-looking but likeable. Other changes that improve the inside are the touchscreen, air-con controls and the addition of silver trim. The plastics are a bit hard but feel strong. Other than this, it remains to be the only car of its kind to be available with a six-seat option.
Which One Has More Interior Space?
Even though the Maruti Ignis is considerably smaller than the KUV, it is well laid out and roomy. The front seats in the Ignis are well designed and supportive but lack the height of the KUV, this results to a loss of the raised driving position. The rear seat space is also sufficient with good amounts of head and knee room. The Ignis also has usable cubby holes across the cabin and 260-litre boot space.
The Mahindra, on the other hand, is significantly more spacious when compared to the Ignis. The seats feel a bit more supportive than the soft seats of the Ignis. When the third front passenger seat is not being used it can nicely be folded to use as an armrest. Moreover, there’s more space in the rear and it has the additional benefit of having an armrest at the back. The boot space however is lesser than the Ignis.
Even though the Ignis costs ₹12,000 more than the KUV, it offers a lot more. It has LED headlamps, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The Ignis also gets automatic climate control, keyless entry, a back-up camera and a start-stop button all of which are missing on the Mahindra. Furthermore, the Ignis also features ABS, EBD and airbags.
This facelifted KUV has a lot more equipment than the older car. It gets a touchscreen unit, reversing sensors, electric folding mirrors and 15-inch wheels. All these features are seen on the Ignis. The only features unique to the Mahindra are the driving modes – Eco and Power. And he engine start-stop system. The KUV also gets EBD, ABS and dual airbags like the Ignis.
Powering the Maruti is the same Fiat-powered 75hp 1.3 litre diesel motor. In terms of performance, the Ignis feels faster than Mahindra thanks to its lightweight construction. There is some initial lag after which power comes in strong, the engine however, is louder than the KUV’s. It has a five-speed manual gearbox that is smooth with a light clutch. The Ignis has a firm suspension set up but gets softer in rough patches. The handling on the Ignis, however, feels very disconnected.
The 1.2 litre diesel motor in the KUV100 makes 78hp and is extremely refined. Power comes in smoothly hardly any lag, this makes it an excellent car to drive around town. It feels peppy at low speeds but doesn’t rev very freely. In power mode, it won’t please those who like driving enthusiastically. The gearbox on the KUV is amazing and easy to use. The KUV takes care of potholes and bad roads extremely well, owing to its soft suspension but, this in turn makes the car bouncy at higher speeds. The steering feels disconnected in the KUV as well, plus, it’s a bit heavy.
Which One Should I Buy?
The KUV has its six-seat configuration, roomy cabin and comfortable ride but it is let down by its bad handling and lack of quality all-around. Even though the KUV100 offers more practicality when compared to the Ignis, it lacks the desirability of the neo-retro Maruti.
The Ignis scores high in terms of features and its reliable diesel engine. However, its interior quality is not as good as it should be for a car at this price point. The main features of the Ignis, and the main reasons to buy one, include a quirky -looking design, top-class features and kit, and the fact that it is both, simple- and fun-to-drive.