Having intensely discussed every aspect of the Verito Vibe during the run up to its launch, from the launch, and post its launch (you can catchup on all the coverage here), we're not wasting anytime introducing the car to you again. So shall we begin our review?
Is the Verito Vibe an ugly car?
Actually, No! [Note: The color may not be to everyone's tastes, but lets talk about the Vibe's deign for today.]
If you think the Vibe looks odd (or as I like to call it, a village idiot), you should spend a day with the car. The looks definitely grow on you. Initially, we thought that we would be laughed at for driving around in this village idiot, but au contraire. 99% of the people who saw the Vibe loved it for it's design! They thought that it looked sporty and had a 'youthful' look (just as Mahindra's marketing described it to be). In short, the Vibe was loved by a lot of people.
Moving on to the finer aspects of the design. The front sees headlights with a 'smoked' or darkened lens. Looks pretty good. On the sides, you get some 'champagne color' alloy wheels, which is not the best color for wheels. Plain silver (matte or gloss) would have looked better.
The taillights feature LEDs, but they come on only when you have your headlights i.e they don't work as the brake lights. The design of the rear is pretty good. Even the boot (which seems to be like an oven) grows on you over time.
More on Page 2.
Luck was on our side as we managed to get the Vibe photographed with a Maruti Dzire, another sub-4 meter car (sedan actually). Someone once said that a picture speaks a thousand words. Here are three of them.
Interiors on Page 3.
Living inside a Romanian's house
The interiors of the Vibe are a straight lift from the Verito. There is a spartan yet functional feel to the Vibe. The fixed steering wheel is too big for our tastes, lacks controls for audio and the amount of assistance you get with the power steering is not great. Moving to the central console you get Mahindra's 2-DIN music system which sounds horrid. I don't wish to talk about that any further. The center console has a carbon-fiber like finish in the top-end D6 model. Looks OK.
The seats of the Vibe are superb! There is no other word to describe them better. They have a lot of cushioning, something we find reducing in today's cars. Space is brilliant. The wide-bodied Vibe easily accommodates 3 people at the rear in supreme comfort.
We've a few grouses with the Vibe in the interior department -
1. Storage spaces are lacking. Meaning that you better keep your mobile phone, iPod in your pocket and there is hardly any space to keep a 1.0-liter water bottle.
2. The interior looks outdated.
That being said, we found the build quality of the car to be pretty good, light-years ahead of a Quanto no doubt. The AC of the Vibe is extremely strong and conquered over Chennai's summer.
Since it's a Romanian car, do I get Vodka as a standard feature?
No, you don't. Nor do you get passenger side airbag even on the top-end D6. You do get a fantastic ABS along with electrically adjustable ORVMs on the D6.
More on Page 4.
Underneath the Indian badge, this guy is a Frenchman
The Renault 1.5 K9k diesel engine, in its 65 bhp state of tune, has always been acclaimed as a city friendly motor with its negligible turbo lag. The oil burner responds to part throttle inputs almost instantly right from the idling rpm, minimizing the number of downshifts. The clutch is about the lightest one can get in a diesel hatchback.
The low end torque is good enough to keep up with the city traffic as the Vibe did most of its traffic run in its versatile third gear. Speaking about gears, the shifter has long throws but is easy to use and the ratios are city friendly. Courtesy of this engine, the Verito Vibe is very nimble and easy to drive in heavy traffic.
Actually, we found that you could start the car from 0km/h in 3rd or even 4th gear with slight throttle inputs! The lag-free Vibe works brilliantly in the city.
Open highway is where the motor's weakness shows up. Outright acceleration is not one of its strengths, and you only increase the decibels beyond 3,000 rpm. The best place to keep this engine is between 1,500-2,500rpm. In its comfort zone, the car cruises happily and the NVH pack does a good job of muffling the engine and tire noise.
So, designed for Romanians, powered by the French, now modified by Indians
Exemplary ride quality is one of the biggest talking points of the Verito sedan and its good to know that Mahindra hasn't fiddled with it. The car displays good straight line stability while keeping the occupants unaware of most of the road imperfections. In fact, the ride quality is the attribute which impressed us the most.
The plaint ride obviously means there is a fair bit of body roll around the bends but the Vibe holds its tail from stepping out of the line. Keep it within the limits and there should be no nasty surprises.
That brings us to the hydraulic power steering which feels very heavy even at parking speeds. It's well weighted at highway speeds but that said, the feel and feedback are on limited supply. In city traffic, the steering feels a bit tight.
Coming to the brakes, the pedal feel is positive and the car has adequate rate of deceleration. The Vibe is composed under panic braking and comes to a halt without changing its orientation.
Continued on Page 5.
How does it feel to be chauffeured?
This is perhaps the only hatchback in India with three height adjustable headrests and all three are usable as the Verito has the widest body in its class. A rear quarter glass is not missed as the window is large enough to allow ample light to enter the cabin.
Headroom is phenomenal while under-thigh support is adequate. A central arm rest is missed.
The 330 liters boot space is pretty decent. Loading is pretty high though.
The bootlid and the bootlid's mechanicals feel very flimsy though.
Does it sip or does it gobble?
Going by the car's fuel economy indicator, a litre of diesel was burnt for every 13.1 km which is not at all bad considering that most of the times the car was either stuck in bumper to bumper traffic or was pushed to its limits.
Page 6 has the Verdict.
I've in my bank account about INR 5,69,000..
Good news then as you can afford the base D2 Vibe. However, you'll have to cough up a bit more as that is the ex-Showroom price in Delhi. If you've INR 5.95 lakhs the D4 is within reach while the D6 costs INR 6.55 lakhs.
'Will I buy it' and 'Value for money' explained
Anjan - The Vibe is a pretty good car and I actually like it's city-friendly engine and it's massive interior space. However, I won't buy it only because I feel it's expensive for what it offers. I would rather buy the Amaze E MT diesel which costs INR 602,900 and also comes with ABS as standard. Obviously you don't need me to tell you that the Amaze is a superior car to the Vibe in every aspect. I don't see myself recommending the Vibe at it's current price.
Nithyanandh - I like a few aspects of the Vibe such as its driveability in city and the ride quality. However, the design and the steep price tag puts me off.
Shrawan - Whatever they said.
Good - City friendly engine, huge cabin
Bad - Price mainly. Other issues are niggles you can live with.