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Old 17th July 2021, 23:24   #31
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Default re: Mahindra Bolero Neo Review

I seriously did not get this. Why would Mahindra take a flop model (TUV 300), refresh it and call it Bolero - which was the bread and butter for Mahindra for ages. Will it now start selling because its called Bolero? Honestly not getting this.

I would have understood a refreshed 'original' Bolero. Or the old Bolero will also continue?
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Old 17th July 2021, 23:44   #32
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Default re: Mahindra Bolero Neo Review

I think Mahindra is testing the waters with this one. They have invested a lot in this platform, with the TUV, the facelifted TUV, the TUV+ et al. It's what they had in mind to replace the Bolero when proper crash safety norms finally would finally force it off the roads, and it failed miserably because of :
  • Oddball, confused styling. If they were trying to make a mini Hummer, they should have gone the whole hog and given it the wide wheelbase and proper vertical A,B and C pillars. To me it still looks like it had a rollover accident.

    To see how a properly done Hummer/Jeep clone looks like, here's the gorgeous BAIC BJ40 plus. Yeah it's a shameless copy, but still...
    Mahindra Bolero Neo Review-1280pxbeijing_bj40_plus_china_20190314.jpg
    Pic taken off Wikipedia.
    Every other crossover in the segment has this kicked out stance for the wheels, because it's essential in providing the "menace" to the design for a vehicle intended to look tough.
  • Lack of top end punch from the engine which was detuned to 80 PS when they had the same engine making 100PS years ago in the Quanto, and also in the Nuvosport. Though to be fair, there is no turbo lag, and the low end response is excellent especially considering the bulk it has to move around.
  • Nightmares to buyers caused by the half-baked AMT that they got on the cheap (Ricardo vs Marelli), which seemed to regularly give up often and strand drivers, according to our many owners' reports.
  • The improperly designed suspension that caused the rear wheel to spin on inclined turns (expensively fixed by MLD retrofits, and later on, a suspension re-jig of some sort). I think this is still an issue in the Bolero Neo, hence the optional MLD in the T10(O).

But right now, the pricing is right, especially for someone cross shopping between the Bolero and the Neo. The Bolero B4 looks agricultural compared to the cheaper and better equipped Neo T4, and you get to upgrade it all the way to the T10 with most of the options that the Bolero owner would end up adding at the accessory store.

I think that once the Neo starts doing decent numbers and starts replacing the Bolero, Mahindra should offer an automatic version as well. While a nice slushbox would be ideal, even a good AMT would be a good option to have and would make it more appealing.

Last edited by vivekgk : 17th July 2021 at 23:47.
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Old 18th July 2021, 00:24   #33
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Default re: Mahindra Bolero Neo Review

I used to drive a 2015 Scorpio S10 up until 2019. There were times that I missed having 4WD, but it served me well. I switched to a TUV 300 Plus T10 in 2019 with the 2.2 litre mHawk engine and it's done 12000 KMs so far. I agree, looks wise, it's a hit and a miss! For something that costed close to 13 L OTR, it sure had a lot of bells and whistles missing - no Automatic Climate Control, no automatic IRVM, no Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and other features if you compare with the so called urban SUVs (Creta, Seltos, Hector) in the same price range. I was not up to shelling out close to 17 L for a Scorpio or a Compass. Hence, settled for a TUV 300 Plus. It was a bargain. You got a tuned down Scorpio mHawk engine for a few lakhs less.

Long story short, I love it! its got grunt, it can go anywhere. Well let me rephrase that as mostly anywhere - it's missing AWD or 4WD! The rear wheel slipping on muddy or wet roads happened to me as well and that was when I started missing locking differentials!

I can live without the gizmos, but I guess M&M has a knack of always missing something. The Thar, for a 2 door with that kind of pricing, was never going to be my primary ride and while I loved its "Jeep Wrangler" inspired design (ahem!), I couldn't bear to spend the required moolah on it.

Which brings me to the Bolero NEO AKA the reincarnated TUV 300. Not the TUV 300 PLUS, mind you.

I don't get it.

1. Why put a 3-cylinder engine in a heavy machine?

2. Who are the target customers? Bolero fans who need an upgrade?

3. What happens to the Bolero and the TUV 300 Plus?

And before I sign out, I live in the good ol' North East where true blue SUVs rule the roost.

Last edited by Aditya : 19th July 2021 at 06:20. Reason: Spacing, SMS lingo, typo, excess dots
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Old 18th July 2021, 10:55   #34
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Default re: Mahindra Bolero Neo Review

I developed an instant liking for the TUV300's butch stance and the spacious interiors when I saw the vehicle upon its launch in 2015. I even commented to a friend at that time "Bro, we were expecting this to be a Mini Bolero (bolero was not a sub 4 m vehicle back then). But these ppl have brought out a mini Scorpio!"

I was looking to purchase a vehicle one segment higher at that time, but was tempted by the sheer value it brought to the table.

I think it would have been a success if the following changes had been made
1) More upright B and C pillars. Particularly the slant in the C pillar was very very quirky and was unpalatable to most non-enthusiasts, who would like to be seen in a 'clean' vehicle, as vehicles are seen as a marker of one's tastes.
2) 16 inch wheels to give that up market feel
3) 100 bhp engine right from day 1.
4) Better rear seats with central arm rests, at least in the mid and top variants.

TUV300 should have been positioned as a lifestyle vehicle right from Day1, with the above mentioned changes for a Rs 30-40K premium. It would have ended up as a Creta competitor for at 30% less price and 2 extra seats!

I was expecting Mahindra to name it like "Taurus" or something similar. They already had Scorpio in their stable, and a "Taurus" will not look out of place at all. They could have had the naming strategy based on Zodiac or the ones based on feline species (as an extension of 'cheetah' inspired XUV500. For instance, naming Marazzo as a more likeable "Gemini" (for a neutral people mover), XUV300 as "Lynx" and Alturas G4/XUV700 as "Lyger" would have worked wonders for their sales. The alphanumeric names like Alturas G4/XXX300 or some violent 'shark inspired' name for a 'likeable' people mover just doesnt make the cut.

If the "Taurus" was a success, by now we could have had its second generation now with AT, sunroof, LED head lamps, split tail lamps and may be even an AWD. Poor marketing strategy killed a reasonably good product.
And now, rebranding it as "Bolero Neo"! Honestly, a prospective Bolero buyer wouldnt mind owning a TUV300. But a prospective TUV300 buyer, (urban or tier 2 city guy in his 30s, graduate, likely to be a professional or a small business owner) will never buy a Bolero "Neo" which is a tad cheap for his liking.

TUV500 should never have been attempted in the first place. It is such an eyesore and pulled down the TUV300 brand even further.
People at Mahindra should have resurrected the Xylo brand for a BoF people mover and should have left the TUV brand alone.

Last edited by Geta : 18th July 2021 at 11:22. Reason: typo
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Old 18th July 2021, 11:07   #35
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Default re: Mahindra Bolero Neo Review

For the price, the Neo is good. It needed to have a less than 1.5 ltr engine and under 4 M length to qualify for excise benefits and hence the compromises are fair except for Android Auto / Car play. This is a big miss IMHO.

The more usable car would be the Neo Plus which may measure ~4.3 M, and have a 2.2 Ltr Mhawk. An auto transmission and undercutting Creta / Seltos would see a lot of families in cities as well as Tier 2 towns and villages go for the Neo.
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Old 18th July 2021, 11:22   #36
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Default re: Mahindra Bolero Neo Review

It's nice to read the perspective of current and former TUV300 owners on this new avatar of the TUV300.

Few doubts, has Mahindra changed the gearing ratios for this car? Some old review videos mention that TUV300 takes about 17 secs to get to 100kmph (I think this was for the 100BHP variant). However, this new one takes only about 13.xx secs.

Combine that with the lowered ride height of 20mm (which I assume will lower the center of gravity too), can we expect this Bolero Neo to perform better on highways compared to the TUV300 with respect to ride quality and engine response?

I am not sure why Mahindra limited all media drives (that I have seen till now) to their test track.

Also, do existing owners of TUV300 get the option to retrofit the MLD from the service center and if so how much does this cost?
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Old 18th July 2021, 11:29   #37
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Default re: Mahindra Bolero Neo Review

Originally Posted by Geta View Post
I was looking to purchase a vehicle one segment higher at that time, but was tempted by the sheer value it brought to the table.
Clarification: I was tempted by the sheer value of the TUV300 but didn't end up buying one. I delayed the purchase by a few years and purchased the XUV500 W11 AT
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Old 18th July 2021, 12:47   #38
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Default re: Mahindra Bolero Neo Review

Found one review in real life conditions:

Note: The review is in Tamil.
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Old 18th July 2021, 12:52   #39
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Default re: Mahindra Bolero Neo Review

It's been 4 months since we got the Bolero B6(O) and seeing the Neo top variant priced within the vicinity of what we paid for a so called top end variant did give me the "What If's and Should Have's".

I mean common, the ICE itself is leagues ahead of what comes in the top variant Bolero which in all honesty is plain pathetic in spite of the latest iteration being well damped, heck my Alto's ICE wins on every front be it sound quality or ease of use.

The interiors in comparison are futuristic on the Neo whereas the Bolero has vinyl instead of panels in some sections, I kid you not, literally vinyl lining instead of panels.

The final nail on the coffin was the MLD, a month or so ago we had driven into a forest and on an uneven section one of the rear wheels started spinning and the car got stuck at a scary angle, it was an unnerving situation as we had no one around to help us.

With a little bit of creative thinking we were able to make it out of there by gaining some traction using the handbrake, but it was at that moment that I'd learnt of the importance of having a locking differential.

Now seeing the Neo come with one from factory is really getting at my nerves.

Can't refrain from thinking that I've been bamboozled, but then the inherent lack of articulation of the TUV was a cause for concern and a fellow enthusiast even said that Mahindra provided MLD kits for the same.

In comparison the Bolero did fare quite well and it was only in really tricky situations coupled with my lack of experience and over confidence that I did end up getting the car stuck.

As for the other niceties like Alloy Wheels, Spoiler etc are irrelevant features as far as my logic goes when it comes to a utilitarian vehicle.

So now taking all the above into consideration, is the Bolero still a reasonably practical buy compared to the Neo or does it effectively make the Bolero obsolete?

I like many others out there would like to know if there is a definitive answer for the above question. Cause from a non-car persons point of view this new addition has had me thoroughly confused.

P.S. Intentionally left out cruise control cause I'm from the Southern End and the Bolero does maintain 30~60kmph in final gear without any throttle input depending on incline/decline and that itself serves as cruise control for the common man. Plus the D75 is has absolutely nothing to talk about when it comes to highway performance compared to any modern car out there, it is merely marginally better than its own previous iterations.


Last edited by ashwinprakas : 18th July 2021 at 13:04.
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Old 18th July 2021, 19:46   #40
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Default re: Mahindra Bolero Neo Review

As usual, an awesome review.

One point though, wouldn't plonking the 2.2 MHawk remove it from the sub-4m tax benefit? That would mean additional 12% GST, which translates to more than 1 lakhs difference on on-road price. On top of that the additional cost of the engine. We are talking of 1.7-2 lakhs price difference here.

The 1.5 4cyl from the Marazzo/XUV300 would have done wonders but that's a transverse mounted engine. So, whether it can be used in this configuration is another big question.

The whole usp of this over the normal Bolero is more modern, more power, better comfort, better handling, way more features, and more capable off-road(mechanical lockers) for not so much money. Giving the 2.2 MHawk in this would have played against it.

Also I feel that the power and torque figures are sufficient considering the road manners of this vehicle. Anything more than that would be an overkill.

If anyone wants features and good road manners then they should go for those bloated out hatchbacks on high hills(no hard words for existing owners, this is just a personal feelings), there's plenty of beautiful options available right now in this particular price bracket, Ecosport being my favourite of the lot despite being so long in the tooth. For those looking for rough road ability, this is a way better choice than the old Bolero, especially considering the price difference. The base Neo will be as feature loaded as the top Bolero and even cheaper.

For commercial usage though the old Bolero can't be replaced as this one would be more expensive to maintain (coil springs at the rear, expensive body and interior panels, rack & pinion steering which won't last as long as the old roller ball based steering and lower resale than the Bolero).

As for the under seat storage and hatch door trim, I am pretty sure these can be added by getting TUV300 parts.

But surely it still can't match the old is gold Bolero looks.

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Old 18th July 2021, 22:46   #41
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Default re: Mahindra Bolero Neo Review

Bolero Neo with all its downsides makes sense to the target audience in my opinion. I am from central Kerala and for the most part, there is no real rural environment especially in terms of roads. But these areas are still heavily involved in agricultural activities meaning it is very common to have farmhouses in hilly areas or the roads within the farmhouses are themselves not paved or may have slush and other bad road conditions. These conditions generally do not require 4X4s, but rear-wheel-drive cars with good ground clearance will suffice. The rear differential is an added bonus here.

Also, these folks would like something that is better than a Bolero with a decent safety kit and an interior that can be at least decent looking without burning a hole in their pocket. Mahindra's reliability, cheaper cost of maintenance, and low operating costs make this a good package overall. Bolero Neo is a decent SUV that is functional in urban as well as semi-urban and rural areas without sticking out in any of the above environments. Of course, Apple Carplay, Android Auto and Rear AC vents are really missed opportunities. Most people will add a reverse camera as an accessory, but Mahindra should have included this by default.

As many companies tell their prospective employees, you need to look at the whole package and the package makes sense to the target audience in this case. I am in the market for a new suv and this ticks a lot of boxes especially considering the pricing as well as the fact that ICE cars will be replaced eventually. I am getting a decent package that will be relevant for few more years till Electric cars becomes mainstream without spending 20 big ones.
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Old 18th July 2021, 23:42   #42
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Default re: Mahindra Bolero Neo Review

Will this really garner buyers attention? That is merely a name change and few cosmetic revisions? I believe Marazzo is/was a better car than the now Bolero Neo / ex-TUV300 - I know this isnít Apple to Apple comparison but there were reports Marazzo was disconnected / will be discontinued right?I could be wrong but this is IMHO.
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Old 19th July 2021, 09:35   #43
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Default re: Mahindra Bolero Neo Review

Rs. 10 L to the top trim seems okay but you still don't get the Bolero Neo USP. Beyond 10, there's a higher tax bracket for cars. I hope Mahindra bills and offers the locking diff as an accessory. Then, even lower trim buyers can add it later and N10 buyers can stay in the lower registration bracket.
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Old 19th July 2021, 11:28   #44
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Default re: Mahindra Bolero Neo Review

Originally Posted by ashwinprakas View Post
So now taking all the above into consideration, is the Bolero still a reasonably practical buy compared to the Neo or does it effectively make the Bolero obsolete?
There are two different vehicles, two weeks back I happened to see a few dozen of them Boleros being driven out of the dealership by Government employees.

Their pricing reflects the demand, there is no way a Bolero`s bill of materials come near a TUV \ Neo or even the Sumo Gold which no longer exists. Bolero is expensive (This brand name also sells more in the pickup segment, despite being inferior on paper to the competition).

While I do not see Neo being less durable in comparison to a Bolero, Neo will break more things at least on the outside, Mirrors, Bumpers, body work, lights etc are going to take a beating in rough use and certainly will be more expensive in the long run. Bolero still has metal bumpers for good measure.

Neo for family use and Bolero for commercial use is a good proposition, wish they had retained the interiors of the TUV T10, that was really plush.
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Old 19th July 2021, 12:56   #45
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Default re: Mahindra Bolero Neo Review

A naive question here.

The spinning wheel issue, is it specific to the TUV or to all rear-wheel drive vehicles, say the Old gen Safari or Scorpio?

If only TUV, then why are they not making the MLD a standard fitment?
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