Mahindra has launched the Bolero Neo with smarter looks, robust build, spacious cabin, but a three-cylinder diesel and no automatic gearbox
Mahindra recently launched the Bolero Neo, which is supposedly the face of the Bolero, but you can think of it as a reinvigorated, rechristened TUV300. What further supplements this is that the Bolero Neo will be sold alongside the standard Bolero. The Bolero Neo is a strategic win for Mahindra, as it can be touted as an urban, domestic version of the standard workhorse model that’s been one of the top-selling SUVs in India for over a decade. The Neo can surely rub off some credibility from the standard Bolero and perhaps, garner more sales volume for the automaker from TUV300 could. Would you place your money on the Bolero Neo?
Mahindra Bolero Neo – Exterior
The Bolero Neo shares a lot of similarities with the erstwhile TUV300. You can even call it the Bolero and TUV300’s lovechild. It is based on Mahindra’s third-gen platform and is a body-on-frame, sub-four-meter SUV. The tank-like build ensures handling abuse is second nature to it. Up front, it comes with a six-slat grille with a closed plate behind it. LED daytime running lights are housed inside the headlight clusters. The bumper features fog lights and comes with a honeycomb mesh air dam in the middle. There’s also a faux skid plate at the bottom.
The side profile isn’t too bad. The B- and C-pillars are blacked out. It comes with black plastic cladding as well. To throw in some Bolero-resonating elements, there’s the signature beltline that runs the length. It rides on 15-wheel wheels wrapped in 215/75 section Ceat Czar tires. A running board is also offered.
The rear is quite smart for a true-blue budget SUV. The mid- and the top- trims come with a roof spoiler. The swing-open tailgate houses the spare tire with a Bolero-branded cover. The tire will be a hindrance when viewing the car from the inside rear-view mirror. There is a footstep at the rear for passengers to climb in, but surprisingly, it isn’t foldable. The reason for this could be the number plate that sits right above it, thus restricting the foldable action upwards. Folding it downwards, on the other hand, wouldn’t be too convenient.
As for the dimensions, the Bolero Neo measures 3,995 mm in length, 1,795 mm in width, and 1,817 mm in height. The wheelbase measures 2,680 mm and the laden ground clearance is rated at 160 mm. Being a body-on-frame construction, it weighs 1,555 kilos.
Mahindra says the seven-seater will be offered in four different trims – N4, N8, and N10, along with an optional N10 (O) that will be launched at a later date. The Bolero Neo will be available with a choice of seven different colors. They are:
- Napoli Black
- Diamond White
- Pearl White
- Rocky Beige
- Majestic Silver
- Highway Red
- Royal Gold (late arrival)
Mahindra Bolero Neo – Interior
It comes with three rows of seating, but the last row features jump seats instead of a bench seat. It makes sense to an extent, since the conventional third-row would leave no cargo space on this sub-four-meter SUV. Remember how cramped the cargo space on the XUV500 was? But, that said, if you make adults seat on those jump seats, they will curse you till they get out of the SUV; or maybe till their knees recover.
Coming to the creature comforts, the Bolero Neo is offered with stuff like:
- Premium fabric seats
- Center console with silver accents
- Height-adjustable driver’s seat
- Armrest for the front and rear passengers
- Electrically adjustable wing mirrors
- Keyless entry
There’s also a seven-inch touchscreen system on the center console, a first for Bolero. However, it neither comes with Apple CarPlay, nor Android Auto! A horrible, horrible omission. You’ll have to do with Mirror Link, or upgrade the head unit in your ownership. Another big miss is the rear AC vents – an absolute must on a three-row vehicle, no matter how big or small.
Mahindra Bolero Neo – Drivetrain
The Bolero Neo is offered with only a single engine option – a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder mHawk100 diesel engine.
Expect the jitters when the engine is shut off and the vibrations on the gear lever, a trademark of three-pot oil burners. It churns out 100 horsepower at 3,750 rpm and 260 Nm of torque between 1,750- and 2,250 rpm.
Power is channeled to the rear wheels exclusively via a five-speed manual gearbox. There’s no automatic gearbox on offer. If you live in Bangalore and plan to buy this SUV as your daily driver, we’d suggest you start saving up money for a left-knee replacement surgery!
Also, why didn’t Mahindra offer the bigger 2.2-liter mHawk120 engine at least as an option on the top trim?
To make it rugged and off-road friendly, Mahindra has introduced something known as the Multi-Terrain technology. It comes with a manual locking-differential and makes up for the missing four-wheel-drive system to some extent. This will be offered only on the top N10 (O) model that’s yet to come
Mahindra Bolero Neo – Pricing
The Bolero Neo comes with a starting price of ₹8.48 lakhs.
Mahindra calls this an introductory price, which means the price could be increased in the coming months; perhaps, when the N10 (O) makes its debut.