Mahindra has always been known for making big and burly SUVs, and the Alturas G4 is no exception! Basically the fourth generation model of the Ssangyong Rexton, it is going to be the new flagship from Mahindra. It made its first appearance in India at the Auto Expo 2018 and is finally making its foray in the Indian automobile market.
Mahindra Alturas G4
Mahindra has surely chartered a long path since the days of the Armada as an SUV maker. Its offering such as the Scorpio and XUV500 have catapulted the brand to great heights in terms of sale, popularity, status, and so on. Now, with this latest offering, the carmaker is aspiring to go further up the ladder. It is interesting to note that the Mahindra Alturas G4 is being launched in one of the most significant SUV segments in the country- the full-sized, seven-seater, premium SUV segment.
We have already got an idea of the robust contours of this premium SUV from the images- the exterior measures 4850mm in length, 1960mm in width, and 1825mm in height. A full generation change, the Alturas flaunts a much more contemporary and fresher look. Though it gives a miss to the butch appearance of a full-fledged SUV, but there are a number of eye-catching features that lend it a stunning appeal. The Ssangyong grille has been replaced by an upmarket version of Mahindra’s own grille with chrome linings on the slats, which looks quite sporty.
The intricate headlamp design, coupled with the LED daytime running lamps, further enhance its look. The side profile flaunts a long and slightly squat look, graced by the strong character lines coming in from the headlamps. The SUV comes with 20 inch wheels internationally but the Indian version gets 18 inch alloys shod with 255/60 R18 Hancook tyres. The rear profile is quite distinctive, thanks to the tail lamp design. In its entirely, the car has a commanding road presence from all angles, as expected from a full-sized SUV.
The interior is quite classy, owing to the quilted nappa leather, brushed metal and wood. The dashboard layout is nothing exceptional, and you can expect the 8 inch touchscreen assuming centre-stage, but it is primarily the quilted leather on the seats and door panels that lends an upmarket feel to the cabin.
Besides, the ambient lighting and sunroof also add to its classiness, though the steering wheel could have had a better finish. Also, the quality of plastic used on some of the switches and indicator/wiper stalks is also not up to the mark. The second row is quite spacious and comfortable, more so since the seatback can be reclined. However, the third row occupants might feel a lack of thigh support and knee-room and is therefore best-suited to kids.
Another drawback is that the third row air-conditioning vents are placed rather oddly on the right side, which means the person sitting on the right will block a lot of air. You can enjoy decent boot space, and if you flip the third row down, it will free up even more space. The cabin also promises a cleverly designed parcel tray which can hold up to 60kg and effectively creates two ‘storeys’. The 8-inch touch-screen infotainment system has smart-phone integration along with other connectivity options.
Buyers will also be impressed by the dual-zone fully automatic climate control along with 8-way adjustable powered driver seat with memory function. Speaking about features, the Alturas G4 is loaded with an array of them, many of which are segment firsts- a 360 degree surround camera, ventilated front seats and easy ingress and egress function with the driver’s seat sliding back electrically to offer more space.
The headlamps are HID units while fog lamps are LEDs with cornering function. Besides, you can enjoy dual zone air-conditioning, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, tyre pressure monitoring system, rain sensing wipers and a smart function for the boot that allows you to open it by simply standing in front of it with the key in your pocket. The instrument binnacle encompasses a TFT LCD display which can work as a digital speedometer and also acts a gateway to a host of customization options.
As far as safety fitments are concerned, the Mahindra Alturas G4 packs in aplenty, including 9 airbags, ESP (Electronic Stability Program), active rollover protection, hill assist system, hill descent control, brake assist system, emergency stop signal, ABS with EBD, crumple zones, ISOFIX child seat mounts and rear glass door defogger.
Under the hood, the car is powered by a 2.2 litre four-cylinder engine which churns out 180PS and 420Nm, peak torque is delivered 1600rpm onwards. Power is sent to the wheels via a Mercedes-Benz sourced seven-speed torque converter automatic gearbox. You can choose from two-wheel and four-wheel drive system, with a rotary knob positioned on the centre console to allow you to shift on the fly.
When it comes to drivability, the gears allow smooth operation and overtaking, which makes these vehicles a highly desirable one for city traffic as well as on highways. The engine might not be superbly impressive but is more tuned for heavy duty work. The steering will feel too light for your liking, and the unit itself to feels somewhat flimsy. You would be left wishing for a chunkier steering wheel to give a boost to the overall driving experience.
The handling too is not the best in the segment, and there is quite a bit of body roll as well. Of course, these flipsides are hardly a deal-breaker, and one can hardly deny that the performance of the 2.2 litre diesel engine is quite satisfactory.
The diesel engine makes itself audible, but barring the engine noise, the Alturas G4 is extremely silent inside, thanks to excellent insulation. There is also zero road noise or tyre noise. The suspension has been made slightly softer, as confirmed by Mahindra, in an attempt to deal better with Indian road conditions. This guarantees a supple ride quality, allowing the Alturas G4 to glide over broken tarmac and potholes smoothly. It uses a body on frame chassis, which, coupled with the suspension set-up, causes body roll around corners, though it is controlled.
The steering delivers decent performance in terms of helping you turn the big SUV around corners, but it is not the most direct setup and feedback could have been better too. The Alturas G4 also makes its heft felt when braking hard. Despite the availability of enough braking power and its perfect stability, hauling it down from speeds is a bit of a task, due to the dimensions and weight.
The ride quality veers slightly towards the bouncier side, but again, not to the extent of being uncomfortable. Once you drive the Alturas G4, you will surely get a sturdy feel that is signature Mahindra. This car, in fact, is likely to pose tough competition to the Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour, and the Isuzu MUX. As an overall package, it scores quite high with a solid road presence, a plethora of features, well-equipped cabin, and a decent engine.
Previously dominated by the likes of the Fortuner and Endeavour, the full-sized, seven-seater premium SUV segment has got an interesting addition in the form of this offering. What’s more, the market is abuzz with speculations that the Alturas G4 will undercut its rivals on the price front, which coupled with the familiar Mahindra badge should help it find favour with buyers and also catapult Mahindra’s status as an SUV maker to even greater heights.