2021 Mahindra Bolero Neo evaluation, check drive

We’ve talked about repeatedly that the erstwhile Mahindra TUV300 was a reputable, extra trendy different to the venerable Mahindra Bolero. And now, after going off the cabinets for over a yr post-BS6, the TUV300 is again, nevertheless, this time round it has been launched because the Mahindra Bolero Neo.

Why the rebranding train, you ask? The reply is straightforward – the trusted Bolero has confirmed its mettle over practically twenty years of its existence, and this rugged workhorse nonetheless retains Mahindra’s gross sales charts lit up significantly as a result of sheer model fairness it enjoys deep throughout the hinterland. Mahindra desires to capitalize on Bolero model’s success and now flip the Bolero Neo into its subsequent sale hero.

However don’t assume for even a minute that that is the one motive for the identify change. The TUV has all the time made a superb case for carrying the Bolero badge and whereas we’ve mentioned this earlier than, you’ll see it on this evaluation and in the event you get behind the wheel of 1 too.

Does the Neo seem like a Bolero?

The Bolero Neo carries ahead the TUV300’s boxy styling nevertheless the modifications for 2021 aren’t merely skin-deep. Your entire physique shell has been lowered additional onto the ladder-frame chassis to be able to decrease the general trip peak by 20mm, and the bonnet sits 40mm decrease than earlier than. Whereas a fast comparability of the TUV300 and Bolero Neo’s spec sheet seems equivalent on paper, in particular person, the Bolero Neo seems so much squatter, with a noticeably smaller hole in its wheel arches. Mahindra claims that there’s no change to its floor clearance both.

Its general trip peak has been lowered by 20mm, and appears so much squatter now.

The design although is probably the one space the place the Neo and the Bolero have a disconnect. Whereas the Bolero comes off as rugged and upright, the Neo seems extra fashionable and sleeker. Mahindra have thus added sure parts just like the toothy entrance grille, some sloping cuts on the entrance bumper and the spherical fog lamps to provide it some resemblance to the Bolero. An unmistakable Bolero design component is the black shoulder cladding which runs the size of the Bolero Neo, apparently termed “cattle pushers” by some Bolero house owners. This black cladding additionally helps break the visible peak of the Neo, and its aspect profile with the blacked-out B- and C-pillars, smaller wheel arch gaps and a greater general stance, is extra palatable now. The 15-inch wheel design is totally different, though these look a contact too small in comparison with its physique peak. On the rear, the back lights have regained the crimson tint, (these have been made clear-lens within the 2019 TUV300 facelift), and it retains the roof spoiler in addition to the unpainted rear parking sensors. The X-shaped spare wheel cowl can be carried over however it now proudly flaunts a Bolero badge.

Generally known as “cattle pushers”, the black strip is a typical Bolero design trait.


Are the interiors like a Bolero?

Fortunately, they’re not. What’s instantly noticeable is that entry into the cabin as a result of lowered trip peak is a bit simpler, and as soon as in, you’ll discover that the Bolero Neo carries ahead the cabin design and format because the TUV300. And whereas it’s utilitarian by way of its design and the supplies used, it nonetheless looks like a far-cry in comparison with the crude cabin of the usual Bolero. In contrast to its exteriors there are not any design traits on the within that resembles the Bolero, which isn’t a nasty factor.

The 2 tone dashboard’s design and format look way more modern than the previous Bolero’s.

The neatly designed dashboard continues to sport a beige and black dual-tone theme and homes a 7-inch touchscreen. The seats put on a brand new material materials in comparison with the 2019 facelift, which donned quilted leatherette upholstery, and the one outstanding omission in its gear record is a reversing digital camera, which the 2019 automotive got here with. These apart, the Neo nonetheless will get chair-like entrance seats with lengthy seat squabs and particular person armrests. You’ll admire its commanding seating place and the intense and ethereal cabin. The rear bench too is flat and can simply absorb three occupants abreast, nevertheless, the seat cushioning is firmer than the usual Bolero, however its recline angle is analogous and there’s even a centre armrest for consolation; the latter being a lot sturdier than the Bolero’s unit. Knee and legroom aren’t as beneficiant because the headroom on supply, and that’s intentionally finished to accommodate aspect going through bounce seats within the rear.

Second row’s cushioning is on the agency aspect, although the seat itself can simply accomodate three passengers.   


And coming to the bounce seats, average-sized adults will discover restricted shoulder room right here, and headroom too is at a premium. Two occupants sitting reverse one another right here should sit off-centre and stagger their ft and knees, as a result of lack of house. There are butterfly home windows for air flow, and a seat pocket to stow away objects like a cellphone. There aren’t any seat belts to carry the occupants in place, and in case of a collision, this isn’t the place or the place through which to be seated; so these are finest left folded and the realm exploited to haul 384-litres of cargo.

Room for adults within the bounce seats is tight. The seats are finest left folded, to haul 384-liters of cargo.


What gear does the Bolero Neo supply?

N10 variant (top-spec) options equipment like ABS with EBD and nook braking management, twin airbags, 7-inch touchscreen, remote-key entry, electrical mirror adjustment, parking sensors, rear wiper and washer and cruise management, because the outstanding options. To comply with later would be the N10 (O) variant which may even geta mechanical locking differential (extra on that in a bit), which makes the Bolero Neo much more succesful over treacherous terrain.

 Will get a touchscreen nevertheless Mahindra has deleted a reversing digital camera.

Even the top-spec misses a number of vital options that we’ve come to affiliate in trendy vehicles like computerized local weather management, electrical folding mirrors, auto dimming inside mirror, projector headlamps, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, though these won’t be those which might appeal to its audience. One key characteristic that shouldn’t have been omitted is a reversing digital camera, which was accessible within the 2019 TUV300.

How does the Bolero Neo drive?

Sitting beneath its bonnet is a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder diesel engine, shared with the Bolero, however in a better 100hp state of tune; the common Bolero makes 75hp. What’s new is its electronically managed variable geometry turbocharger, and because of this, max torque has been bumped as much as 260Nm, a 20Nm achieve over the TUV300 which additionally had the identical engine. The max torque band – in comparison with the TUV’s 1,200rpm band – spreads simply over 500rpm, from 1,750-2,250rpm. So, does that have an effect on driveability? Completely not!

 1.5-liter engine makes 20Nm extra torque than earlier than due to the brand new eVGT

This engine is definitely one of many nicest three-cylinder diesel items on the market which feels clean, refined and nearly vibe-free. Its efficiency is concentrated within the decrease finish and paired with brief gear ratios, it feels fairly conscious of faucet. Energy supply is linear, and it’ll simply pull from idling RPMs with out a lot effort, and you may amble round in increased gears at decrease revs, as long as you aren’t driving in a rush. You’ll seldom rev this motor past 3,500rpm, as there’s not a lot available by way of energy. Must you take it as much as its max which is about 4,500rpm, it doesn’t sound coarse or crude. This 1.5-litre stays in its consolation zone as much as 100kph, past which it runs out of breath. Those that usually journey with a full load of passengers on expressways or hills can be left wanting for stronger pulling energy. Its five-speed guide gearbox is clean despite the fact that the throws are a bit lengthy, and its gentle clutch makes driving a breeze. Though not accessible at launch, an computerized choice could possibly be launched sooner or later.

The Bolero Neo begins to shine when the going will get robust. Now sadly Mahindra solely let the media drive the vehicles at their Pune check monitor however they did have a small tough street patch ready. Over this monitor the Neo pummeled by way of with out batting an eyelid, even the sight of which might make different SUVs wince. It makes use of Mahindra’s 3rd technology body-on-frame development and its tough-as-nails suspension parts are constructed to take a beating. What additionally makes the Neo really feel relaxed over hostile street situations is the brand new mechanical locking differential (MLD).

Whereas physique roll remains to be current, it’s a lot lower than within the TUV300.


The MLD comes into play in low traction or sticky conditions, when it detects certainly one of its rear wheels spinning sooner than the opposite (100rpm differential velocity distinction between the 2 wheels), thus locking the wheels and because of this transferring energy to the wheel with extra traction, enhancing the Neo’s general street grip at low and crawling speeds. As succesful as this technique is, the MLD’s metallic clanging sound, because it locks the spinning wheel, might catch drivers abruptly, a minimum of initially. Whereas this Eaton MLD has all the time been accessible as an add-on for the TUV300 and Scorpio, it’s now provided as customary on the N10 (O) variant.

The brand new mechanical locking differential infuses a better diploma of confidence whereas traversing treacherous terrains.


Over the few corners at Mahindra’s check monitor, it was fairly obvious that whereas physique roll remains to be current, it’s lesser than earlier than because of a decrease centre of gravity, and a reworked suspension.

Ought to I purchase the Bolero Neo or the Bolero?

Reality be advised, the Mahindra Bolero Neo’s body-on-frame development, seven-seating capability and its rear-wheel drive format locations it in a phase of its personal, a lot totally different from the subtle compact SUVs on sale and so it isn’t more likely to enchantment to the typical, city household automotive purchaser. Who it makes an especially compelling case for, is patrons in search of a tough-as-nails, go-anywhere car with a contact of modernity.


Sure, its styling might not scream ruggedness just like the previous vehicles does, however beneath it definitely is, plus the optionally available mechanical locking differential (MLD) additional enhances its go-anywhere means by infusing a better diploma of confidence whereas traversing treacherous terrains. There’s additionally much better general refinement and a number of recent options all which definitely construct a robust case for the Bolero Neo. After which there’s the pricing, whereas the MLD geared up model is but to be launched, the Neo’s asking worth ranges from Rs 8.48 to 9.99 lakh, nearly at par with the Bolero’s Rs 8.63-9.61 lakh worth vary, thus making for a far superior worth providing.

That is the most effective iteration of the TUV until date, and one which definitely deserves to put on the Bolero badge. The one query that now stays is whether or not its audience thinks so too.

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