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Mahindra Bolero CRDe - Jaunty Roads
The workhorse Bolero gets a powerful CRDe motor.The perfect recipe to put the bounce back in you?
By : Rohin Nagrani | Published : December 15, 2008 | Photos : Pablo Chaterji
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On the move, the new engine reveals how the monumental increase in power has resulted in better times. The 0-100 kph sprint is down to 19.6 seconds, some five seconds quicker than the DI. Top speed too has gone up to nearly 136 kph, from the 121 kph that the DI is capable of. And funnily enough, it is possible now to wheelspin the Bolero in first and second, something a people-mover shouldn’t be doing. The passing speeds too reveal a big dip on the timesheets, and that matters since overtaking in the DI stressed your foretelling powers. The engine however is slightly noisy and vibrations filter through into the cabin and the rear view mirrors.

Paired with the same old gearbox, the engine finds enough poke and zest to either trundle along or develop horns and play hooky. Low-speed driveability has slightly suffered and the ability of the Bolero to lift-off even from second gear is no longer possible. Braking however finds itself moving out of orbit – the need to apply, release and apply again during panic braking is not a very good sign.
Nonetheless, it is more stable and tends to brake in a straight line... at last!

... And Absolute power...
While the engine is up to its job, take some time and admire the interiors. Or rather, admonish. Crank up the engine and you are greeted by a male voice, reminding you that you are behind the wheel of India’s largest selling SUV (duh!). Looks like the pretty female’s voice from the mHawk is to differentiate the ‘class of vehicle’. While the dashboard appears solid, the finish is of the poor variety. Trim is rough at some places and the louvres are so sharp, you could peel a cucumber on them. The driver’s seat is hard and lacks bolstering, which might be good for really long journeys but is awful on city drives. The stalks are notchy, though they eventually do fall in place, while the steering wheel is so large, you would unintentionally sit in a ‘wheel on belly’ position.Ergonomics were, never the Bolero’s strong point, and the less said about the stereo the better. These are quirks that the Bolero has always been associated with, but that, as an excuse not to rectify them isn’t what we expect from Mahindra in this day and age. Space for eight people is not a problem in this, the VLX version of the CRDe, though whether you are really comfortable over long journeys is best left for the next section.

... Corrupts Absolutely
Why does this Bolero bounce its way to your destination? Strangely, this is after the Bolero DI never suffered from it. Ride was always the Bolero’s strong point with its ability to soak road undulations, while transmitting close to nothing to its occupants and neither causing too much vertical movement of the suspension. It seems the added power has made one of the Bolero’s inherent strengths its weakness. Not much of the undulations get transferred to the occupants, but the vertical motions have increased several fold. Despite attempts to reduce tyre pressure and load up the car with eight occupants to yield a better result, the CRDe just kept at its bouncing best. With the basic setup remaining the same – IFS at front and leaf-springs at the rear the Bolero feels  like a tug boat on choppy seas on perfectly laid out roads. And conversely, when the surface becomes unwieldy, the ride gets better!

Handling has always been, well, utilitarian. The vague steering never provided any credible feedback and continues not to do so. Mahindra have currently offered the CRDe with 2WD, but can offer 4WD if there is sufficient demand in the market. Even in 2WD, the body shows decent control and grip, though there is copious amounts of roll if you start to push. Push the Bolero CRDe on to your preference list if you yearn for a vehicle that’s powerful and efficient. But only if you can stomach the Rs 7.24 lakh ex-showroom, Mumbai price, that pushes it smack bang into Chevrolet Tavera, Tata Sumo Grande and, may I add, Sonalika Rhino territory. All the three offer a more modern shell and car-like comfort and interiors that the Bolero doesn’t offer. In pricing itself out of the league, the Bolero has lost some of its honesty, though you can still choose from among the several DI variants that seem to be priced more realistically. What the CRDe will offer, however, is better reliability and that does come into play if you traverse a lot of distance every year. It’d be a nice workhorse then, one that like the C-130J will do its job without too much of a fuss.

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  Posted by jharna at 29th January,2011
My uncle purchased a Bolero CRDE last month. Its called BOLERO STORM and comes fully loaded.Its the street version of Bolero, for miles as you.Its Munchers had all things Scorpio engine, which is consistent with the latest regulations for the control of pollution, is silent , low vibration, high reliability and a very good mileage.Its BOLERO has good things, namely, a robust, go anywhere type of vehicle and very easy to carry and maintain.Its not very good money for less than 7 lakhs 70 000, there are thirty-six options available, but looking at the bottom to the UN, if you can maintain for 10 years also, and still will strong.There is a member of the T-BHP, which is 8 km in lakh BOLERO before the sale to buy a new niche BOLERO.Its nice "a bit of a safari and the CRC was able to keep most of road Safari.
  Posted by nitish at 27th January,2011
vlx crde is the best .
  Posted by Rocky at 7th June,2010
I have a Bolero Storm VLX Crde for 1.5 years / 16,000 km. I upgraded from a Bolero GLX (IDI 72 bhp). Here is my brief feedback. The overall quality of the body / fitting have gone down drastically compared to my GLX. My GLX felt tough. This one feels delicate. Body metals are of less thickness. Rusting have already started in many places. But this applies to all the new Boleros - SLE, SLX. Brakes tend to lock - Mahindra Authorised Service Centre has not been able to solve it. Apparently all VLX has this problem. They have "boosted" it alongwith the engine power. But the power & torque is amazing. Overtaking in the highway is a breeze now. Me being a traveller - I can cover more distance in less time. So I feel I paid the price only for the engine. It would be ideal if I plonked the new Crde engine in my old Bolero. ;)
  Posted by mekithi at 4th January,2010
i'm from Meghalaya,i owned a bolero VLX just a month ago,but i face a very serious problem with it,the problem is that due to cold and freeze it did'nt start in the morning not only mine even others .what should we do with this problem,or the engine does not suit the cold area.
  Posted by Kiran at 29th August,2009
Dear Rohin Nagrani, Yes sir your are right on this article, What mahindra is doing is Fine tunning and refining as much as possible to its horses in the stable, keeping ARMADA as refrence. In my veiw Mahindra should depend and research upon machines rather than electronics(MECATRONICS) in that way it can survive much longer. Thanks for the History lesson on C130 Hercules.
  Posted by Jaspreet singh sandhu at 17th July,2009
you all are doing the best job for the people in the hilly area by making the mahindra bolero vlx crde so nise and comfortable. it is a real thanks to you all. we have also purchased the bolero VLX CRDe 2wd just one week ago. Please send me the details of the bolero vlx crde 2wd and its suspension and many more at this id you all are doing the great job and your bolero vlx crde is a comfortable car.
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