TEST DRIVE REVIEW: MAHINDRA ALTURAS G4: CAN MAHINDRA’S MOST EXPENSIVE TAKE ON ENDEAVOUR AND FORTUNER?

MAHINDRA HAS ALWAYS HAD THE NO-NONSENSE, RUGGED APPROACH TOWARDS AUTOMOBILES. BUT THIS LATEST LUXURY OFFERING FROM THE INDIAN CAR MANUFACTURER IS READY TO TAKE ON JAPANESE AND THE AMERICANS

SUDHAKAR JHA

As kids, the Mahindra that we were used to and travelled in were the sturdy and take-it-anywhere kind called the Bolero. Be it a trip to our native place, where you can imagine the roads back in the 90s, or the shared drives in the city, Bolero was a friend that you could count on. And then there were those politicians and their thugs who roamed around the city to mark their territory. Trust me, Boleros or for that matter, Mahindra Scorpios were symbols of authority.

FLAGSHIP KILLER, IS IT?

Years later, not much has changed in terms of authority. Late last year, Mahindra launched its new flagship, called the Alturas G4. An SUV that reeks of bold and sturdy and yet has plush features! Since buying the Korean auto brand SsangYong almost a decade back, M&M re-packaged the SsangYong Rexton and named it the Alturas G4. M&M says that the car takes inspiration from the Parthenon temple. On the outside, there hasn’t much been changed from the Rexton. Except for the name badge that boldly says ‘Alturas G4’ right on the middle of the back. Which in my opinion is pretty catchy (my editor has a different opinion though!).

Under the hood, there is the 2.2-litre diesel engine which roars at 178bhp at 4,000 rpm and 420Nm at 1,600 to 2,600 rpm. With 7-speed automatic transmission and the 4 x 4 drive, the engine is euro-6 ready. There are no options of a petrol engine or any manual transmission version as of now, but we might get to see it later!

Inside the cabin, well, you will have to climb in there first, because of the 244mm ground clearance that M&M has opted for, there is a tonne of features. And they are all plush. As soon as you take the seat, the 8-way adjustable driver’s seat, with memory function, gets you in the driving position. And you see the dual-tone theme of black and brown all around the car. The quilted Nappa leather on the dashboard is pretty eye-catching and feels premium. The use of faux wood also makes for a good show! The steering wheel has the button to control most of the stuff and you don’t really get any chance to be distracted. The 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system was a little bit of a worry for us in the beginning, but after a few touches here and there, I was able to connect the Apple CarPlay. There are other connectivity options too which you can easily scroll through.

WHAT ABOUT THE DRIVE?

Yes. I will come to that now! For one of the cover shoots, when my editor appointed me to take the team to Mumbai, I also got the Alturas G4 for the day. As I sat on the seat, all things adjusted, pushing the ignition, there was a petrol-engine like silence. Even the outside noise is all cut due to good sound insulation. So, I started at 6 in the morning, with clouds hovering and the sunroof coming into full effect! After picking everyone up, we touched the highway and that’s when the car showed its true mettle. While revving up, the gear holds well, which make for smooth operation and overtaking! However, at the corner, you’ve to treat it with respect, as it can’t just hustle past everyone. Look at that size, guys!

The Alturas G4, however, responds and accelerates quite quickly. It doesn’t have that pinned to the seat feeling, but the engine is quick to respond and there’s always power available on one tap on the gas. We completed the trip to Mumbai and back with about 9 hours, thanks to the rain and traffic, but not once did I feel the discomfort of driving it.

SHOULD I GO FOR IT?

I will tell you what, this Mahindra boy is a good reminder for the Endeavours and Fortuners of the world to up their game. At lower engine specs and a hell lot of classy features, the Alturas G4 weighs down the heavyweights of the full-size SUVs in a lot of aspects. At Rs 30.7 lakhs (ex-showroom price, Delhi) and with a lot of best in class features, this one is a good value for money vehicle that will keep you engaged in the city and on the highways!

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