The common feature of cars such as Maruti Swift Dzire, Honda Amaze and Tata Indigo is that all are based on their hatchback models. And that is the route most companies have taken in an effort to give a compact sedan (under 4 metres in length to avail of lower excise duty benefits) to their customers at a slightly higher cost. After all, the Indian market is gradually moving on to bigger cars. But Mahindra, it seems, loves chopping off. After it chopped off the Xylo to create the Quanto, it has now put the Verito (originally the Renault Logan) under the axe to create the Verito Vibe.
Now, the Verito Vibe, though it looks like one, isn’t a hatchback in the true sense of the word. Instead, it is a hatchback-like, three-box body style with a boot separate from the passenger compartment, similar to sedans. This is apparent once you look at the Vibe’s side profile, where the rear seems out of sync with the rest of the car. But the rear design is quite showy and is dominated by large pillar-mounted tail-lights that look sporty and really impressive at night. But the downside is that the rear glass is fixed and doesn’t open with the boot (probably to keep costs low). This means that while the boot space is an impressive 330 litres, the access is via a narrow opening, which doesn’t allow you to load big bags or suitcases. Then, the minimum loading height is also on the higher side, so placing heavy bags in the boot is inconvenient. Again, because the rear seats don’t flip forward, this dents the usefulness of the large boot. The rear glass doesn’t get a wash-wipe either.
The upside is that the Vibe looks different, quite different, from almost all the hatchbacks on Indian roads. While the large 185/70 R14 tubeless tyres give it a raised stance, add-ons such as the carbon-finished front grille, ski racks, smoked-glass headlamps and bold wheel arches try to hide the basic boxy design of the car. In fact, I took the car outside Delhi and it was an object of desire in all the nearby small towns, where, presumably, people look for value.
The Vibe gets a huge cabin and this means sufficient room for five, full-sized persons. The rear seats are particularly wide enough and three people can comfortably sit at the rear; there is