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Old 30th January 2011, 13:39   #1
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Default My Mahindra Armada 2.1 2wd Long-term Report.

1996 Mahindra Armada 2wd 1,20,000kms ownership report.
It was 4th of November 1998, I exited my school gate approaching my school bus that takes me back home when I saw my dad awaiting near the bus, an exciting site for a 4th standard kid as I was then. I thought my dad must have got home early from work and must have got our trusty old Bajaj Super to pick me up as he sometime does but soon to my surprise he took me to an Armada saying that he bought it and its ours now. Nothing got over my mind for next whole week other than my new ride as I was already a Petrol-head and had a passion for automobiles since my very childhood. It was actually a big surprise not only for me but my whole family as my dad did not inform about this purchase to anyone. It was a used 1996 model, white colored non-ac, 2wd Armada which he got for 2, 50,000rs including a Chinese brand cassette player, 4 speakers, interior covered with some velvety material, a roof carrier, crash guard and 2 fog lights at front. It one of the most imposing vehicles of that time in a small town 35 kms away from Mumbai where we used to live. Qualis and Bolero were out of our budget then and Safari was actually equal to Land-cruisers to us.
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ENGINE, GEARBOX AND PERFORMANCE:
Powering the old beast is an engine almost as agricultural as errÖ. a tractor. the 2112cc inline 4 cylinder naturally aspirated 4 stroke diesel (named XD3P) makes a very moderate 62bhp at 4500 rpm and an equally sedate 12.3kgm of torque at 2000rpm, which makes it quite a slow performer (or may be even I am now used to my Conical air filtered, FFEed and Iridium SPs equipped Swift 1.3petrol) and weighing at nearly 1600kgs the power to weight ratio of 38.75bhp and torque to weight ratio of 7.70kgm per tonne plays a spoilsport. The engine is longitudinally mounted with an oil dipped air filter supplying fresh air to the engine. Gearbox is a long throw four-speed manual unit that is still buttery smooth after over 1, 30,000 kms of usage with not even a single clinch till-date. Thou slotting into first gear, driver has to stretch his hand all the way long which makes it so frustrating that my dad always opts to move from rest directly in second cog.
Those power and weight figures may suggest it to be lazy form rest, but this SUV is anything but sluggish. Acceleration in 1st gear is so wild that it pushes your head all the way backwards, much like a turbo-kick. All because of those short ratio first and second gears. This actually creates a neck pain every time we are in a traffic (or whenever I am on the driver seat).This can well be avoided if startups are taken care in second gear, which demands few revs before moving but acceleration is still fast. But an old magazine suggests that startups in 2nd gear needs to be avoided as it damages both the gearbox as well as the clutch. This 4speed transmission has 1st and 2nd gear good for almost only 15kmph and 25kmph maximum respectively. 3rd and 4th gear are quite long having max speeds of about 40kmph and 110kmph respectively (canít be sure as the speedometer has given up). Cruising at 90 needs near half throttle in fourth as found out from friendís gps equipped blackberry. Accelerating from 40 to 70 in top gear feels quicker than that in my Swift and this SUV can cruise Mumbaiís congested highways, link roads and other open roads in 3rd an 4th gear without the need of downshift. But the top speed of around 120kmph completely limits any long route or highway use. Efficiency is around 9kmpl in city and 12kmpl on highway and tank capacity is about 45ltrs as told to me by my dad.
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HANDLING:
There are hardly any praises for handling. Slow speed stability is good due to the upgraded tires but high speed is still scary. The non power steering on the other hand is very light and direct once the vehicle is on the move but nothing that will make driverís life easy. Corner hard and you will immediately find yourself on the outer lane. Again the knocking sounds that I mentioned above limits any sort of fast or easy driving. Leaf spring equipped suspensions on all corners are almost nonexistent. Ride quality is so poor that it was rated last among 40 cars test feature in magazine some years ago, and that list also included a Gypsy. Brakes on this vehicle need more effort and concentration than anything else. The vehicle pulls so wildly towards left or right that it may lead to a nasty accident on road if brakes are applied at a sudden or if steering is not held tightly and thatís the reason why I donít let anyone else drive it. It demands utmost attention while driving. This problem actually started after the crash, possibly the frontal impact has taken its toll on the chassis. Lots and lots of money has been spent to sort the braking of this vehicle, even had them replaced with new ones but still nothing worked.
INTERIOR:
Interiors of Armada are practically designed and fairly likeable and Dashboard seems to be made of a highly durable plastic with a small glove box which is occupied up by the stereo head unit. Yes it is fitted inside the glove box and without a remote so you need to pull over, remove your seatbelt, stretch all the way to the glove box to forward or reverse the cassette or even change the volume. Steering wheel is made of very high quality material as is the gear knob which has retained their originality over these years and usage. There is even a coin holder on the dashboard which needs a wrestlerís arm to open and shut. Seating capacity was suggested 11 but actually is 6 (one rear jump seat is removed). Seats are both comfortable and uncomfortable. Comfortable because of those high set benches and loads of head and shoulder room inside making long drives stress-free for passengers. Uncomfortable because of those small benches, even smaller back rests, tight leg-room and no headrests which creates a pain in everybodyís neck. I liked the fabric cladding on all five doors with the same velvety material as the seats and large square shaped windows which are very close to the seats which make the cabin feel airy. But there are some flaws with the seats too; the driver seat fore-aft adjustment has been jammed, passenger-side bench restricts the fourth gear slotting when pushed all the way to the front and leaves no space at rear when pushed back completely. Even the Hand-brake lever fouls on other side of the driver seat. They are torn now due to years of usage.
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Overall I felt it was a worthy buy as per our use purpose and a good ownership experience over these years. There are some small things that I like such as the head-lamp stalk that has ďpull-up for flashing and push down to set on high beamĒ, door locking button provide close door handle rather than a pull type, interior built and plastic quality and some other useful things which I find missing on many other cars of its age. But my dad suggests itís time to replace it with some other more practicle Suv, most probably a 4x4 Scorpio or used Terracan now.
Some stats I could manage over internet.
Type : G
Doors : 4
Places : 10
Disposition of cylinders : R4
Disposition of engine : Fl
Volume : 2112
Diameter of cylinder : 90,0 x 83,0
Degree of compression : 22,4
Valves : 2
Disposition of shaft : ohc
Power supply system : D
Power PS (kW) : 62(46)/4500
Torque : 123/2000
Type of drive : H
Transmission manual : 4
Tire: 195/70 R 15 S
Wheelbase, mm : 2680
Track : 1346/1346
Size Length x Width x Height: 4305 x 1800 x 11783
Mass equipped : 1450
Mass full : 2150
Volume of tank : 45
Max speed : 120
Fuel : D
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My Mahindra Armada 2.1 2wd Long-term Report.-photo3493.jpg
Do consider for any spelling or grammatical mistakes or mistakes regarding any stats as am just a newbie so feel very free to correct me on anything and also keep your suggestions or correction coming.

HAPPY MOTORING.
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Old 30th January 2011, 21:55   #2
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Default Re: My Mahindra Armada 2.1 2wd Long-term Report.

Nice report. I have some very fond memories and some very scary ones of driving an Armada ( MY dad's official transport) from 1992-1995.
The hand brake is unusable. I remember once I parked it on an incline and engaged the hand brake, the moment I shut the door the vehicle started rolling. I had to run and open the door and jump in and use my hands to slam the brakes, lol.
Another thing which was very prominent was the death wobble if you crossed 60 kmph at times, till it was cured by putting in a stabilizer bar up front.
Doing heel toe on himalayan slopes was scary. The only plus factor was the dead weight of the vehicle that made it possible for it to be pulled forward before it actually started rolling down, but if it did, boy did it take some effort!!
Lots and lots of memories, lol.
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Old 31st January 2011, 15:26   #3
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Default Re: My Mahindra Armada 2.1 2wd Long-term Report.

Thanks for the memories, Sagar . Great report of an ol' workhorse. Believe it or not, the best selling MUV even today (i.e. the Bolero) and the Armada have a lot in common.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sagar iswalkar View Post
It one of the most imposing vehicles of that time in a small town 35 kms away from Mumbai where we used to live.
The front is downright ugly; we only have DC to thank for that (IIRC, Mahindra hired his services for the front end).

However, the side & rear profiles are clean. Look awesome with a set of nice alloys. Here's one I spotted after the Manza test drive in Pune:

My Mahindra Armada 2.1 2wd Long-term Report.-moto_0623.jpg

Quote:
Powering the old beast is an engine almost as agricultural as errÖ. a tractor. the 2112cc inline 4 cylinder naturally aspirated 4 stroke diesel (named XD3P) makes a very moderate 62bhp at 4500 rpm and an equally sedate 12.3kgm of torque at 2000rpm
I've used this engine well into 6 digit kms in my Classic and can tell you, it does the job. Outstanding driveability, stunning fuel efficiency and extremely robust nature. But yeah, on the open road, it's a laggard. And a loud one at that.

Too bad Mahindra never gave disc brakes to the Armada.
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Old 31st January 2011, 19:18   #4
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Default Re: My Mahindra Armada 2.1 2wd Long-term Report.

The first gen Armada. Wow that sure brings back a lot of memories. Very prominent ads in the newspapers and Auto India

Thats a superb write up complimented with some awesome pictures. This was said to be a modern Jeep after the Commander . My uncle had booked one to replace his soft top Commander 750DP but eventually bought a Sumo. I have driven this Armada only once but it was quite an experience. It didnt have power steering.

Even though your dad is advising you to replace this beast. I do hope it stays in your garage along with your future new car.
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Old 31st January 2011, 21:33   #5
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Default Re: My Mahindra Armada 2.1 2wd Long-term Report.

Wow..The Armada brings back lots of good old memories.
We had a 1994 2wd Armada in the family for quite sometime. Had put in Koyas seats and an AC. Not to forget the numerous DIYs tricks to extract more from those Belton speakers.

Have fond memories of the numerous family trips we had been with it. I used to drive from Wayand to Kochi with my grandparents for their medical checkups, those days.
Sadly, I miss them and the Armada today. Our mech still has the original "Armada" decal from our vehicle, when we had repainted it, proudly displayed in his garage.
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Old 31st January 2011, 22:57   #6
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Default Re: My Mahindra Armada 2.1 2wd Long-term Report.

Thanks guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
The hand brake is unusable. I remember once I parked it on an incline and engaged the hand brake, the moment I shut the door the vehicle started rolling. I had to run and open the door and jump in and use my hands to slam the brakes, lol.
Oh that must have been quite scray! 1.5 ton Armada rolling! But yes, thats very true wanderernomad. Me and my dad drove it with handbrake actuated numerous times. Plus that position of lever and gap of cms between seat and door limits any sort of traffic use.
Good to hear you took it to Himalays. Must have been quite an exercise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
I've used this engine well into 6 digit kms in my Classic and can tell you, it does the job. Outstanding driveability, stunning fuel efficiency and extremely robust nature. But yeah, on the open road, it's a laggard. And a loud one at that.

Too bad Mahindra never gave disc brakes to the Armada.
Thanks GTO. Yes the engine is extremly loud while at high revs. Best thing I always do is to keep it in 4th at 70-80.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dippy View Post
Even though your dad is advising you to replace this beast. I do hope it stays in your garage along with your future new car.
Thanks Dippy. Would surely love to keep it for years and years long. It still makes for a nice little weekend drive around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeeva View Post
We had a 1994 2wd Armada in the family for quite sometime. Had put in Koyas seats and an AC. Not to forget the numerous DIYs tricks to extract more from those Belton speakers.
.
Thanks Jeeva. Even we had some plans to change the seats with some nice big bucket seats but once I had been on a trip to Manglore from Mumbai in my dad's friend's Armada Grand. His front seats were changed with some other seats which I couldnt make out which car they were from. But they were really low and believe me it was a really bad and painfull experience. So eventually even I dropped the idea.
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Old 31st January 2011, 23:46   #7
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Default Re: My Mahindra Armada 2.1 2wd Long-term Report.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
...The front is downright ugly; we only have DC to thank for that (IIRC, Mahindra hired his services for the front end).
...
It was not the Armada but the Armada Grand that DC transformed with his hideous touch.

-Biju
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Old 1st February 2011, 09:15   #8
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@ Pjbiju : I'm pretty sure it was the original Armada (pictured in this thread). I believe this was one of DC's first ever projects. Unless you have concrete info?

The Grand I believe came much later. I don't know whether DC designed the front of the Grand, but I quite like it (especially when compared to the original Armada).
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Old 1st February 2011, 09:57   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
@ Pjbiju : I'm pretty sure it was the original Armada (pictured in this thread). I believe this was one of DC's first ever projects. Unless you have concrete info?

The Grand I believe came much later. I don't know whether DC designed the front of the Grand, but I quite like it (especially when compared to the original Armada).
I am pretty sure about this (at least the information I got from M&M). Here is a quote from a BS Motoring article about DC, also supporting this fact. And the original Armada front design is very similar to the MM540. There are only minor changes to it. But the Grand is quite different from a MM540 (front end including the bumper).

Quote:
Around that time, Mahindra & Mahindra wanted to upgrade the design of its SUV called the Armada. The company was happy with his work and pushed him to start his own design consultancy. Thus was born DC Design in 1993. “Mahindra & Mahindra promised me I’d always have business,” Chhabria laughs.
Source: Dilip Chhabria - Designs on profit

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A comparison between Armada and Armada Grand. I personally like the looks of the Armada. (Image courtesy: Mahindra Armada Pictures for Armada and Mahindra & Mahindra - Armada Grand 2 WD for Armada Grand)

Last edited by pjbiju : 1st February 2011 at 10:03.
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Old 1st February 2011, 11:14   #10
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Default Re: My Mahindra Armada 2.1 2wd Long-term Report.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sagar iswalkar View Post
Brakes on this vehicle need more effort and concentration than anything else. The vehicle pulls so wildly towards left or right that it may lead to a nasty accident on road if brakes are applied at a sudden or if steering is not held tightly and thatís the reason why I donít let anyone else drive it. It demands utmost attention while driving. This problem actually started after the crash, possibly the frontal impact has taken its toll on the chassis. Lots and lots of money has been spent to sort the braking of this vehicle, even had them replaced with new ones but still nothing worked.
Good to travel back the memory lane. Sagar could you please tell us what have you done with the brakes, I can see you have suspended pedals but the booster seems to be missing, did I miss anything here?
My Mahindra Armada 2.1 2wd Long-term Report.-photo2925.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Too bad Mahindra never gave disc brakes to the Armada.
GTO, the link shown by Biju shows Armada Grand having Disc Brakes, are you sure Armadas never came with Disc brakes?

Spike
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Old 1st February 2011, 13:27   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
The Grand I believe came much later. I don't know whether DC designed the front of the Grand, but I quite like it (especially when compared to the original Armada).
Thats very true GTO, the Grand has much better appearance than the original Armada. More so with those curvy front bumpers, meaty wing-mirrors and that body color covering everything made it look upmarket. I even remamber an article years ago much before bolero's launch which stated that it was ment to replace the original Armada and named as Armada Lx selling besides Armada Grand. But eventually i think they launched Bolero as a complete new vehicle while discontinuing Grand and Armada still selling side-by-side.

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Originally Posted by SPIKE ARRESTOR View Post
Good to travel back the memory lane. Sagar could you please tell us what have you done with the brakes, I can see you have suspended pedals but the booster seems to be missing, did I miss anything here?

Spike
Hey Spike, No modifications were done near brake pedals as per my knowledge. Lots of money was spent on replacement and overhaul of drums and liners but nothing done over here.
Some pictures might help.

My Mahindra Armada 2.1 2wd Long-term Report.-photo3950.jpg

My Mahindra Armada 2.1 2wd Long-term Report.-photo3953.jpg

My Mahindra Armada 2.1 2wd Long-term Report.-photo3954.jpg
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Old 1st February 2011, 13:42   #12
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Armadas never came with discs, Grand might have had it on the later series.
Armada always had suspended pedals, unless I have missed the point completely.
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Old 7th February 2011, 15:36   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderernomad View Post
Armadas never came with discs, Grand might have had it on the later series.
Post NGCS (I believe 1997/1998 and thereon), Armada came with disc brakes upfront indeed. And yes, they came with suspended pedals from the very beginning.

Post NGCS, it had the wider axles, diaphragm type clutch, different wheel discs (the ones which are on the present day's Bolero), disc brakes upfront, and the sliding glass at the rear third quarter. The pic posted by GTO has all these.

Last edited by jeeva : 7th February 2011 at 16:06.
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Old 7th February 2011, 19:57   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeeva View Post
Post NGCS (I believe 1997/1998 and thereon), Armada came with disc brakes upfront indeed. And yes, they came with suspended pedals from the very beginning.

Post NGCS, it had the wider axles, diaphragm type clutch, different wheel discs (the ones which are on the present day's Bolero), disc brakes upfront, and the sliding glass at the rear third quarter. The pic posted by GTO has all these.
Oh that is true. I found this old print-ad on some other forum, and they have mentioned it here. Those were post '98 models.
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There is one thing I am confused about that is I have seen some Armadas with front indicators that curve along the edges of the bumper. Which models are these exactly.
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Old 7th February 2011, 21:10   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sagar iswalkar View Post
There is one thing I am confused about that is I have seen some Armadas with front indicators that curve along the edges of the bumper. Which models are these exactly.
The ones with those curvy indicators along the front bumprette were the initial lots, which were notorious for breaking up (those were fibre ones). I can't recollect the year exactly, but then by 1996 I guess, they had the sleeker bumprettes. Ours originally came with those curvy indicators.
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