Mahindra Verito Vibe: Detailed road test review

  • Jun 25, 2013

The story...

To say that the Maruti Dzire has been a success is a massive understatement and just like the Dzire, the new Honda Amaze has also been launched with people rushing to the showrooms with cheque books in their hands. The Dzire represents a new breed of cars and a type that is currently raking in the moolah for the car companies – the breed of compact sedans under 4m in length.

In order to get excise benefits manufacturers are making compact sedans which duck under the 4 metre length yet still offer the sedan looks, premium interiors and also efficient engines. The excise benefits also mean that an aggressive price tag can be introduced. As a result the Dzire which is priced around half a lakh more than the Swift makes more sense thanks to the fact that it is still perceived as a sedan and gets more premium looking interiors.

So while Maruti made a compact saloon out of a hatch Mahindra has done the reverse by making the Verito Vibe from the Verito sedan. What will also leave you scratching your head is that it not a hatchback instead it is a compact sedan with its fixed rear glass area. So it seems Mahindra has made an interesting entry into the compact segment with the Verito Vibe but the question remains, is the Verito Vibe's rear design too radical? Plus will it upset the dream run of the Dzire and Amaze in any way? Only a road test can tell you that. Read on.


What’s new on the outside

Normally when we start explaining the design part of our road test, we first start with the front of the car but with the Verito Vibe, all the action lies at the rear. Walk up to the Vibe and on first account, it seems to be a good looking hatchback when viewed from the rear. The design influences like the large LED (first in class) tail-lamps are all pointing towards it being a hatch. Mahindra, in order to preserve the excellent levels of space from the Verito sedan to the Verito Vibe, went in with the scissors and got to work on cutting away the Verito sedan's rear.

The result is that it looks good and atleast it’s interesting, appearing much better than its sedan sibling. There is an obligatory dose of chrome at the rear and the visual bulk is cleverly put away by the smart rear bumper design. The large LED tail-lamps dominate your attention though and are the best part of the whole design.

While the rear looks smart, taking a walk around the front reveals that the bean counters at Mahindra seemed to have it their way. The front and side is pure Verito sedan and nothing major has been done to the rest which is slightly disappointing as the front and the rear end seem to be divorced from each other and have no design connection. The only changes include the smoked headlamps and carbon finished grille. The 'champagne alloys' look good though. In order to attract the youth (there is no 'Verito man' commercial with this) Mahindra has added new colours which include the 'Aqua Rush' which is on our test car and we must say that it attracted a lot of attention during our test.

And the insides?

Step inside and the interior is pretty much lifted whole-sale from the Verito sedan which means there are the inherited positives and negatives. The biggest plus point regarding the Verito Vibe is the space that you get inside. The interiors are spacious and it simply blows the competition in this regard. Three can comfortably sit inside with ample thigh support and headroom on offer and as you can see it has three headrests. The negatives inherited from the Verito sedan include a lack of flair on the inside.

It does not have the premium feeling that you get in the Dzire or the similar priced Hyunda i20 for example plus it lacks some features like steering controls. We had the top of the line D6 model on test which has features like a 2 DIN music system with CD/MP3, USB, Aux-in with four speakers. The black centre console though looks good but overall it does not have the excitement or the flair that you find in its rivals.

The Verito Vibe get a 330 litre boot which is very good when viewed as a hatch but thanks to the fact that the rear glass area is fixed the boot opening is very narrow which means that putting in large suitcases or bags will be difficult. Plus since the Verito Vibe is not a hatchback the rear seats do not fold. Cars like the Honda Amaze with a 400-litre boot space do beat the Vibe hands down.

Does it drive good?

Mahindra has interestingly dropped the petrol motor option for the Vibe and hence this new kid comes only with an oil-burner. This is because the company currently doesn’t have a 1.2-lite (or smaller) petrol engine for small car norms. That is not exactly bad news as the Renault sourced dCi engine is simply brilliant and you might remember us waxing lyrical about it in our Verito sedan review. Now 64 bhp may not sound that much on paper but on the road it feels more than adequate and in fact it’s quite peppy in the city.

The amount of turbo-lag is zero and the 160 Nm of torque comes in handy as you do not require that many gearshifts unlike some of its rivals. Darting in and out in traffic is fun and the Verito Vibe feels eager and responsive. When you are out on the highway though, things are different as the Verito Vibe is out of its comfort zone and feels best only upto around 110km/h.

At high speeds the engine feels quite strained. When it comes to handling the Verito Vibe just like the sedan is quite predicable and though not as fun or a nimble as the Swift or Dzire it feels well planted on the road. The best part of the Verito Vibe is its ride which is super and just absorbs everything thrown at it. The ride is easily the best in class and all the bumps and potholes are just gobbled up with ease. Lastly the Verito Vibe promises 20.8 kmpl (ARAI) efficiency and our tests revealed an efficiency of about 15 kmpl in Delhi NCR’s road conditions including the photo-shoot.

Should you buy one?

The Verito Vibe prices start at Rs 5.69 lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi) for the base D2 version and moves to Rs 6.55 lakhs for the top of the line D6 version. The D2 is quite basic and the D4 too lacks some goodies like the audio system so we recommend the D6 which has all the features and the price difference is not that big. What is big is the price difference between the Verito sedan and the Vibe. There is about Rs 60,000 difference and so if you were looking at the Verito sedan, the Vibe makes a good choice with the only compromise being the boot space. When compared with its competition though, the pricing is slightly more than the Swift but less than the Dzire.

The Verito Vibe looks interesting and has bucket loads of space inside which is its trump card plus the diesel engine is punchy and efficient. It also offers a brilliant ride quality but if the Verito Vibe could have been a proper hatch, it would have increased its practicality a lot more. Still if you want a car which is spacious, efficient and provides good value the Verito Vibe is worth more than just a look.



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