By : RACHNA TYAGI
“It’s certain that fine women eat
A crazy salad with their meat.”
W.B. Yeats – A Prayer For My Daughter
This time around my “crazy salad” came in the form of a heavy-duty pick-up truck – the Mahindra Bolero MaXX Pik-Up HD. Read that again. As somebody who spends a lot of time behind the wheel, I can say this… when the opportunity to drive something as unconventional as a “loaded” MaXX Pik-Up presented itself, I didn’t waste any time in cranking up the engine and hitting the road.
Having driven a couple of trucks such as Ford’s F-150 and the Isuzu V-Cross D-Max on previous occasions, which veer more towards the “lifestyle” segment, the Mahindra Bolero MaXX Pik-Up HD, I must admit, was a completely different beast altogether, unlike anything that I had driven before. An out and out 2WD workhorse, capable of ferrying across different payloads, and so, even comparing it with the aforementioned trucks wouldn’t be fair play. The 2-tonne MaXX Pik-Up HD (Heavy Duty) VXi that we drove (It comes in two ranges, the City range and the HD range) offered an extraordinarily unique experience, here’s why…
Let me begin by telling you what it looks like on the outside. The colour on our MaXX Pik-Up was a ‘Gold’ and we rather liked the subtle gold, which was not too flashy and not too rosy, a beautiful classy gold that made the vehicle look really aspirational for buyers. The other colour on offer for the 2-tonne truck in this range is white, which also happens to be INR 5000 cheaper. The large flat bonnet with minimalistic crease lines, the big grille with vertical slats and generous amounts of chrome thrown in, flanked by the headlamps (non-LED but with integrated Turn safe lights for better visibility) and body-coloured bumpers give the MaXX Pik-Up its bold look. Besides cavities for fog lamps, should you decide to go in for them, there is also a towing hook which sits pretty prominently on the front bumper. On the sides, the squared off wheel arches, the dark decals and the side protection grille add to the vehicle’s rugged look and lest we forget, it gets steel wheels that come shod with 7R16 LTs (Light Truck). The overall length and width of the truck have now increased and are 5345mm and 1800mm respectively. Its height is 1950mm which gives it a lot of headroom. (The overall Length and Height differ if you opt for another model with a different payload). However, as you will read below, the overall length and the width did not, in the slightest way, prove to be an impediment during our drive. At the rear, you get two heavy-duty latches as well as LED tail lamps. Also, reverse parking sensors have been provided so that you know better than to back into a wall, and the letters ‘Mahindra’ have been emblazoned in the body colour on the tailgate.
Inside, the cabin feels spacious with its D+2 fabric seating, where the driver’s seat can be adjusted for height, however, the interiors feel sparse. In order to make it a real VFM (Value For Money) proposition, Mahindra has gone in for a few cost-cutting measures. For instance, the steering misses out on a chrome logo and that is quite glaring because most people like to have that little gleaming touch on the steering which gives them a sense of pride about their purchase. Also, the rubber mats do not cover the area around the floor-well adequately. Larger mats could have given the floor-well a cleaner look and kept the area from getting dirtier and less scratched with soil and debris from the driver’s footwear. Besides, a few wires and cables were seen dangling inside the cabin which needless to say, can be better concealed. Just niggles, really, and these will hopefully go away when the final production models go on sale.
Otherwise, we quite liked the bottle holder that has been inserted slightly at the back, in between the seats and the glove box that came with a lock. Other features such as a 12v socket and storage space for your cell phone have also been added. The touchscreen infotainment system, on our vehicle, was reminiscent of the one on the Thar. The MaXX Pik-Up also benefits from the iMAXX technology that now allows business owners, to track their vehicle fleets, geo fence them, monitor the health of their vehicles as well plan routes using it. I also quite liked the ochre digital cluster with a tacho, a fuel gauge, the speed and gear display.
The MaXX Pik-Up HD came with the m2Di, 4-cylinder, 2.5L engine that puts out 59.7kW power and 220Nm of torque.
The 5-Speed MT gearshift was easy to slot and the leafspring suspension, both, at the front and at the rear, did a fine job considering our truck was a loaded one. (It came pre-loaded with sandbags weighing anywhere between 1500-2000kg.) An important thing to note here is that the MaXX Pik-Up also gets a drop side deck and heavy-duty hinges that make opening and shutting it from the sides easier. The MaXX Pik-Up’s engine was really refined and driving around this 2-tonne beast within the city as well as on some twisty roads didn’t feel even the slightest bit difficult at all. Even at low speeds, the truck performed brilliantly, nary a whimper. Neither did we have to worry about the load which was all well-arranged and bolted in safely at the back, nor did we have any tense moments wondering how we were going to negotiate tricky terrain. (Read slopes). However, I’ll admit, since this was an altogether new experience for me, while driving on the slopes, I did keep checking from time to time through the little sliding window provided at the back, ensuring that none of the sandbags had moved.
The tyres gripped the tarmac really well and despite some light showers on the day we drove it, we didn’t have the slightest apprehension about driving this massive truck on wet surfaces either. In fact, it performed all its duties brilliantly and we never felt the weight of the vehicle at all, despite the heavy payload, neither while going uphill nor while cornering, not even when we were ambling about on busy roads. Also, despite the MaXX Pik-Up getting wider, we did not experience any difficulties even while driving it on narrow roads and we really felt at home, inside its cabin. The steering was accurate and the brakes had enough bite to stop on different kinds of terrain instantly. In fact, I applied the brake quite a few times only to check if the cargo contents were dislodged or if the MaXX Pik-Up acted out of character, but I can, confidently state that every single time, it behaved and how! All in all, at no point in time did we feel nervous behind the wheel of this truck. The MaXX Pik-Up HD performed splendidly and we were overjoyed to see that it turned out to be such a mighty workhorse.
The one thing that the team at Mahindra should consider adding to its range of MaXX Pik-Up is an air-conditioner. Sure, buyers can opt an aftermarket one, but we all know that a factory-fitted one always wins. And while many may argue that it is a way of reigning in costs, I strongly feel that driving long-distances in this truck with only a blower somehow is not the best way of ensuring that the driver and the other occupants enjoy a very relaxed long drive and besides, not having air-conditioning in today’s day and age makes the very stylish and modern MaXX Pik-Up feel like a vehicle from yesteryears. Now, air conditioning may feel like a luxury to many but hey, it is the 21st Century, afterall, and only when the driver is comfortable inside the cabin will s/he be able to drive her/his business and be a part of the country’s growth story. As for me, I definitely did enjoy a fatigue-free driving experience with the MaXX Pik-Up but then let’s not forget that it was also a day that had seen a few light showers which had led to a considerable drop in the outside temperature. How would I fare driving this 2-tonne beast with just a blower in the May heat, well, let’s just say, your guess is as good as mine.
The 60-Litre fuel tank should serve the MaXX Pik Up well and for sure, traveling long distances with a constant eye on the fuel gauge will definitely become a thing of the past, thanks to the “higher mileage” that Mahindra now claims to offer. The MaXX Pik-Up range starts from INR 7.85 Lakh (Ex-Showroom) and goes up to 10.33 Lakh (Ex-Showroom), and you can book yours with a payment of INR 24,999. Besides, you can also choose from either the diesel or the CNG option and rest assured with its 3-year/100,000 km warranty.
Would I buy it? Assuming I was running a side hustle, let's call it... ‘RT’… ‘Rachna Transport’ – a road transport business that involved transporting large cargo from point A to point B…YES!!! Most definitely, YES!!! Of course, I would have gotten the air-conditioner fitted on to it, and with that I would have been more than happy using this truck as my daily driver for my business runs. I’m positive that not only would I be a “more than satisfied customer” in terms of its build quality, engine configuration, payload capacity, and “higher mileage,” but the fact that it not being a mammoth truck to steer around even within the city limits along with its 3-year/100,000 km warranty would have definitely held sway in my decision-making process.