Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

The first generation of the Mahindra Bolero was launched back in 2000. Since its inception, the Bolero has created hype and appealed to the masses, especially in the rural market. It has continued to sell well even in the face of new competition. Now, Mahindra has extended the Bolero family by launching the Bolero Neo.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

Launched at a price of Rs 8.48 lakh, ex-showroom, the Bolero Neo is in essence, the updated BS6 version of the erstwhile Mahindra TUV300. Bookings for the SUV can be made online and deliveries are said to begin soon.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

We were invited to Mahindra's manufacturing facility at Chakan, Maharashtra, to take a short spin in the new Bolero Neo. We drove the car for a couple of hours and here is what we have to say about it.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

Design & Style

The new model of the Bolero Neo follows the same old boxy silhouette just like the regular Bolero. However, there have been a couple of design tweaks to give the compact SUV a fresh appeal. Also, the design influence of the old Mahindra TUV300 is seen.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

Up front, the car gets a basic headlamp that features a reflector for the high and the low beam. A cornering light is also present in the cluster itself. It also has bright LED DRLs placed on top of the cluster which looks great.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

You also get a signature Mahindra grille up front with six vertical slats and there is a lot of chrome garnishing at the front as well. On the lower part of the bumper, there are foglamps present. There are some lines and creases on the hood that make the SUV look muscular. If you move away from the car, you will notice that the frontend has an X shape that looks good.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

At the side, the 15-inch five-spoke alloy wheels grab one's attention. It goes well with the overall size of the car. It also comes with body-coloured ORVMs and gets footsteps for the front and rear door so that getting in and out of the vehicle becomes easy.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

The new Bolero Neo also gets body cladding all around which increases the bulkiness of the car slightly. Along with that, you will also find that some deep lines and creases run from the headlight all the way to the taillight.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

Coming to the rear-end, the SUV gets an integrated rear spoiler that looks sporty and right below that is the LED stop light bar. There is a tailgate-mounted spare wheel with a cover in the shape of an X and ‘BOLERO' inscribed across it.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

You also get the Bolero Neo badging next to the tailgate-mounted spare wheel, while the N10 (variant) badging is placed to the right side of the tailgate. It also features reverse parking sensors but misses out on a camera.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

Cockpit & Interior

As you enter the cabin, you will see that the Bolero Neo's cabin looks very refreshing and spacious. This is because the interiors of the SUV have been crafted by the world-renowned Italian automotive design firm, Pininfarina.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

The dashboard gets a dual-tone finish and is mostly made of hard-touch but good quality plastics. The same plastics are also found on the door trim and centre console. At the centre of the dashboard is a storage space, in which you can either place your small needs like a wallet or a mobile phone.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

Right below the cubbyhole is the 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system. The climate control buttons are placed below the screen and there are a few charging sockets also. The switches for the power window are present right beside the handbrake and around that area, you also get a small storage space.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

The Bolero Neo gets a steering wheel that is wrapped in soft-touch material and because of that, the grip on it is excellent. It also gets some steering mounted controls that toggle through the infotainment system and the MID screen.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

The MID screen is a 3.5-inch screen present at the centre of the instrument cluster and it gives out a lot of information about the vehicle. Also, the cluster is a semi-digital one so it has the tachometer and the speedometer on either side of the MID screen.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

Comfort, Practicality & Boot Space

Both the driver and the passenger seats are manually adjustable but the driver's side also gets height adjustment. The front seats are comfortable but lack under-thigh support. Also, since the steering wheel only has a tilt option, finding the right driving position might take some time.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

The second row is also comfortable and has better under-thigh support than the front two seats. If two people are travelling, then the centre armrest can be deployed. We did end up wishing for the armrest to come with cupholders. Lastly, the Bolero Neo gets two jump seats facing each other at the rear and they are best suited for children or people of shorter stature.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

The jumpseats can be folded to create more space for luggage. The SUV gets a boot space of 384-litres and this is with the second row up. If you need more space for luggage, then you can fold down the second row also.

Dimensions Mahindra Bolero Neo
Length 3,995mm
Width 1,795mm
Height 1,817mm
Wheelbase 2,680mm
Boot Space 384 Litres
Ground Clearance 160mm
Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

Engine Performance & Driving Impressions

The Mahindra Bolero Neo is powered by a 1.5-litre mHawk engine. It is a turbo-diesel motor that produces 100bhp at 3,750rpm and 260Nm of at 2,250rpm. The engine is paired with a 5-speed gearbox as standard. The power delivery feels sluggish at first but then when the turbo kicks in then the Bolero Neo starts to move and pulls decently as it has good torque.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

The Bolero Neo also receives an ECO drive mode and Micro hybrid technology with ESS (Electronic Start-Stop) for efficient driving. Additionally, the SUV also features the brand's Multi-Terrain Technology, which works like a differential to send power to the wheel with the most traction. The Bolero Neo has a rear-wheel-drive setup.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

The clutch is light, and shifting gears is easy though the throw is long. The steering wheel has a good response to it and it is easy to switch direction. Given the tall stance, body roll is a given, and at higher speeds, becomes excessive. Since the torque figures are good, the SUV also picks up speed even when you are in a higher gear at low speeds.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

On the flip side, due to the turbo lag, instant acceleration is not available. You will have to be in the right gear at the right speed for quick and responsive acceleration. The Bolero Neo features disc brakes up front and drum brakes at the rear. The response from the brakes is great and the SUV can also come to a halt from triple-digit speeds within no time.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

The suspension setup on the Bolero Neo is too soft. Thanks to the soft suspension, the handling of the SUV goes for a toss. Literally, if you flick the steering to either side, it almost feels like the vehicle will topple. But it is not a thing to worry about as it is the suspension setup that gives that feeling.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

We couldn't test the fuel efficiency figures for real, but we expect it to return about 12km/l in the urban jungle and about 15km/l on the highway. But, we will be getting the car soon for a road test review and then we will let you know the real-life mileage figures. So, stay tuned till then.

Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

Safety & Important Features

The Mahindra Bolero Neo does not get a lengthy list of features, but it does come with a few important ones. Also, in terms of safety, the Mahindra Bolero Neo gets the basic necessities just right.

Mahindra Bolero Safety Features:

  • High strength steel body shell
  • Dual airbags for driver and co-driver
  • ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD)
  • Automatic door locks
  • High-speed alert warnings
  • Mahindra Bolero Neo Key Features:

    • 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system
    • 3.5-inch MID display
    • Analogue dials
    • Front armrests for driver & co-driver
    • Colour accents on AC vents
    • Bluetooth
    • Steering mounted controls
    • Cruise control
    • 6-speaker audio system
    • Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

      DriveSpark Thinks!

      The Bolero Neo will appeal to a lot of people. The SUV is available in five different shades and four variants. So, people will have a wide range to choose from. However, some things that we did not like about the Bolero Neo are that the door does not shut clean at once and so force has to be applied.

      Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

      NVH and insulation levels can be better and a lot of noise gets into the cabin from the engine bay after the 3,000rpm mark. Also, the gear lever has a lot of vibration when it is in neutral. and the door panels need to be a bit more firm.

      Mahindra Bolero Neo Review (First Drive) — Practical, Rugged & Fun-To-Drive

      Other than that, the Bolero Neo is a fantastic practical vehicle that can do some off-roading too. It does not have any direct rival in the Indian market as it is underpinned by a ladder-on-frame chassis with a rear-wheel-drive setup. So if you are looking for something practical, rugged and fun to drive around, we would recommend you to check out the all-new Mahindra Bolero Neo.

      Written by Stephen Neil; Reviewed by Promeet Ghosh

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Read more on: #review #mahindra
Article Published On: Saturday, July 17, 2021, 9:25 [IST]
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