Recent times have seen the advent of new segments in the Indian car market, thanks to the entry of premium yet VFM MPVs like the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga and the Nissan Evalia and compact crossovers like the Renault Duster and the upcoming Ford EcoSport. Since it already has enough vehicles to take on the aforementioned vehicles, Mahindra has spawned yet another segment – that of the compact-SUV – which will help the carmaker increase its already high market share. Enter the Quanto – a sub-4-meter SUV that promises to be yet another value-for-money offering from Mahindra. But before we talk about the features and mechanicals of the Quanto, let’s talk about the design. After all, it is based on the Xylo – a vehicle that has been repeatedly ridiculed for its ungainly appearance.
The front end of the Quanto is a mixed bag of bits from the Xylo's timeline. The headlights come from the Xylo's facelift model which came out in early 2012; the slats on the grille are similar to the current model, but gets an upper lip that is reminiscent of the grille on the older Xylo; and the bumpers and fog lamps are an evolution of the current design, albeit without the fins on either ends. The bonnet isn’t exactly similar to the Xylo’s either and gets more prominent creases. Unlike the Xylo, the Quanto gets a roof-mounted antenna for the radio.
The side profile is similar in appearance to the Xylo as far as the engine-bay, doors and side steps are concerned. The Quanto borrows its alloy wheels from the Xylo E9, however, they are shod with smaller 205-65 section rubber (215-75 on the Xylo) and therefore the wheel-wells not only look malnourished as compared to the muscular face, the Quanto appears significantly shorter than the Xylo. Adding to this effect are the door handles that are mounted relatively low. What makes the Quanto look more disproportionate is the tail, which appears too small when compared to the large doors. There is a tiny quarter glass and a fat D-pillar, but they don’t really help in adding much substance to the abrupt tail end of the side profile.
The tailgate doesn't take any inspiration from the Xylo – apart from the rear step. The adjoining bumper isn’t as chunky as on the Xylo, since that would have made the tailgate look too bulky. The taillights are a big departure from the design seen on other Mahindra SUVs. These are squarish, wrap-around type and are stacked below a XUV500-like slatted plastic appliqué – looks like this is a new design element that could be seen on all future Mahindra utility vehicles.
The Quanto is based on the Ingenio platform, which is the basis for the Xylo and the Genio. The Quanto therefore has the same width and wheelbase as that of the Xylo. However the height is lower by 75mm. Add to it the sub-4-meter length and the Quanto looks disproportionate. It doesn’t look any better than the Xylo – but we are glad that most of its design inspiration comes from the Xylo’s facelift model and not the first-generation design that we detested. The Quanto can pass off as a Suzuki Wagon R on steroids, save for the tailgate mounted spare wheel gives it the much-needed compact-SUV stance.
User Experience Review
The Mahindra Quanto’s interiors are largely similar to what you get inside the Xylo. The dashboard layout comprises of the same centrally mounted multi-information display (but this ones displays limited information) and the combination of leaf-shaped A/C vents in the centre and round ones at the either ends of the dashboard. However, since the Quanto aims to be more youthful than the Xylo, you don’t get the brown plastics or wood-finish inserts. Instead, the plastics have a light grey colour with metallic finish inserts.
The centre console also gets a USB and auxiliary compatible double-DIN audio system that plays CDs and MP3 / WMA digital audio. It is the same Nippon head-unit that you get in the Verito and the Xylo facelift. But even the top-end C8 variant of the Quanto doesn't get any steering mounted controls. There is no phone-pairing either. But I won’t be surprised if Mahindra gives all that with a C9 variant next year! There are lots of storage spaces throughout the car too, but what is more important is the cabin space.
Since the Quanto has the large doors and the relatively high roofline from the Xylo, ingress and egress isn’t too difficult, but still needs you to ‘climb’ into the compact SUV. The front seats are adequate for the average Indian and also come with individual armrests on certain trim levels. The front seats also get the basic adjustments like height, reach and recline. The second row of seats is quite spacious too. There is enough leg, knee, foot and headroom and the flat cushioning helps accommodate three adults.
However, in the bid to incorporate two jump seats in the boot, the second row seat has a relatively upright backrest, which compromises the long distance comfort of the second row. The jump seats, as expected, are only good enough for kids. Seating two adults in the back could make them feel as comfortable as the chicken in a butcher’s truck. Moreover, the safety of the third row occupants is a concern in case of a rear-end collision – and no, the spare wheel on the boot-lid won’t make things safer!
Depending on the variant you choose, the Quanto will provide you with features like all four power windows, tilt-adjustable steering wheel, central locking (which failed on our test car), tinted glass, rear-windshield defogger, sunglasses holder etc. In fact, the Quanto carries forward most of the features, creature comforts and spacious seats (first and second rows) from the Xylo. It isn't a proper seven-seater but the jump seats provide additional flexibility to the compact crossover. Moreover, the light colour scheme of the interior also makes the cabin appear roomier than its full-blown counterpart – however, the rough edges and the low-rent quality of plastics reminds you that this value-for-money product needs to cuts costs to bring down the sticker price.
The Quanto introduces a new engine to the Mahindra range. It is called the mCR100 and though it is a derivative of the mHawk engine, it surprisingly does not make use of any birdy names. The mCR100 is a three-cylinder diesel motor that will power most upcoming entry-level models from Mahindra. The oil-burner puts out 100 PS of power and close to 240 Nm of torque – which seems adequate for the Quanto. It has pronounced initial vibrations, but after 1000 RPM the engine smoothens. It is noisy nevertheless even when compared to the similarly spec-ed Renault-Nissan dCi oiler that you get inside the Verito.
The mCR100 is mated to a twin-stage turbocharger that helps reduce the turbo-lag. Though the engine has very little pulling capacity under 1,000 revs, it provides a good low-end and mid-range output between the 1,200 to 3,700 RPM range. The top-end feels lifeless. Therefore you have a decent amount of power for driving around city traffic and overtaking on the highway – but at higher speeds the engine feels like it is out of breath.
The engine also gets a new 5-speed manual transmission that shifts smoothly but the stick vibrates quite a bit when the engine is running. The engine doesn’t feel too eager to rev either. NVH levels are on par with the likes of the Mahindra Scorpio and the Tata Safari. With almost no soundproofing material under the wheel arches, there is a fair bit of road and tyre noise too, that can be heard over 100 km/h.
Though the dashboard of the Quanto is largely similar to that of the Xylo, there is an additional switch on centre console that toggles the micro-Hybird start-stop system. This is the same stuff that you get in the Scorpio, which turns off the engine every time you come to a complete standstill. Thanks to tech like this and the twin-stage turbocharging, the Quanto manages to burn fuel more efficiently and returns a claimed fuel economy of 17.21 kmpl. But while the engine performs well, the handling dynamics disappoint.
The Quanto suffers from the same problem that we experienced with the Xylo – body roll. In fact, the Quanto has even more body roll than its elder sibling. Compared to the Xylo, the Quanto runs smaller tyres and has a lower height too – but it still maintains the same 180mm ground clearance as the Xylo. This is achieved with a raised suspension, which is evident the moment you look at the wheel-wells. With lesser people onboard, the Quanto tends to waver around significantly. Push it hard around the bends and it will throw you from one end of the bench to the other. The advantage of this overtly soft setup is cushy ride quality, but the immense body roll isn’t confidence inspiring at all. The handling is slightly better with a full house, but the ride becomes bouncy with five people onboard. Should you compare it to the Duster, the Renault’s handling is in a different league altogether.
The Quanto then has the same shortcomings that the Xylo has, but the virtue is similar too – it is an outright value for money product. While the noisy engine and its sluggish climb up the rev-range are typical diesel SUV traits, its refinement levels are good and I particularly like the mid-range grunt it provides.
On the face of it, Quanto looks like a strong competition to premium hatchbacks and entry-level sedans, thanks to its price-to-space ratio and the SUV-like commanding driving position, which seems to be the preferred flavor these days. If the success of the Xylo is anything to go by, then the Quanto seems to have a bright future too.