Talking about our local auto industry, there are a few things which severely lacks. One is competition, as the market operates in form of a cartel while the other is localization, as the industry remain dependent on imports which makes the prices of locally made cars too vulnerable to forex rates. Despite tall claims of achieving up to 70% localization in locally assembled vehicles, car prices always go up due to the slightest of fluctuations in Rupee-Dollar parity.
However across the border, these two missing parameters are effectively checked, as there is stiff competition as well as higher localization. Furthermore cars are mostly manufactured India and are exported to other key markets while we only assemble them with zero exports. Although there is obviously no competition between the Indian auto industry and ours, with so much to choose from while offering rich features & equipment, however the recent launch of this SUV caught my attention.
The Bolero Neo is the latest 7-seater compact SUV from India’s homegrown automobile manufacturer, Mahindra. It comes as a replacement of the Mahindra TUV300, and is targeted towards customers who are looking for a rugged yet premium-looking compact SUV in an affordable price. The decent looking exterior features headlamps with integrated LED DRLs, fog lamps, front grille with chrome slats, alloy wheels, and a rear spoiler. There are 7 exterior color options offered with this SUV.
The interior is pretty decent too as according to Mahindra, it has been crafted by Pininfarina using beige and black theme with silver accents and premium fabric seats. As for features, there is a new twin-pod instrument cluster, armrests for front and second-row seats, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, voice messaging system, Intellipark reverse assist, cruise control in addition to power steering/ windows/ mirrors, rear wiper and remote boot-lid opener etc. In terms of safety, the Mahindra Bolero Neo has dual airbags, ABS with EBD, reversing sensors, seatbelt warning, over-speed warning and child seat anchorage as standard. The vehicle also has Telematics feature which allow users to track vehicle status via Smartphone app.
Under the hood, the Mahindra Bolero Neo gets BS-6 compliant 1.5L mHAWK100 turbocharged diesel engine capable of producing 100 hp of power and 260 Nm of torque, coupled to a 5-speed manual gearbox that sends the power to the rear wheels. Mahindra has also added Micro hybrid technology with ESS (Electronic Start-Stop) for enhanced fuel efficiency. The fuel economy figures are rated at 17.29 km in a liter.
The new Mahindra Bolero Neo is priced from INR 8.48 lac (PKR 18.85 lac) for the base N4 variant. Then the N8 trim costs INR 9.48 lac (PKR 21.08 lac) whereas the N10 model is priced at INR 9.99 lac (PKR 22.2 lac). The flagship N10(O) variant that is equipped with a manual lock differential is available for INR 10.69 lac (PKR 23.7 lac).
Compared to this, the 1.0L Suzuki Cultus we have here (which is originally a Celerio hatchback) is priced at PKR 19.75 lac for the VXL AGS trim (after tax reductions), but with automakers warming up to give another push to prices, the Cultus AGS might go beyond PKR 2.0 million again. Not to mention, the Celerio in India (which is a facelifted version with better features & equipment) is priced from INR 4.65 lac which converts into PKR 10.34 lac only.
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com