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Mahindra Bolero GLX - Raising the game

What is a digital trip meter doing in this car? It has got power windows too. And power steering. Then a music system. Of course, air-con that actually works. It can seat quite a lot of people too. And comes with a remote central locking system built into the key fob. To top it all, it drinks diesel. And costs only Rs 5.75 lakh. 

Put those specs down on a clean sheet of paper and you will realise that this is all the car we Indians need. In essence, lots of diesel car for not so much money. Only one problem persists, what we are talking about does not fall in the species Cara Tarmaquia. The Bolero GLX is a sub-species that has roots in the long extinct Jeepa Fourwheeldrivia Indivalis, which thrived during the Second World War in Europe and was seen all over the Indian sub-continent till very recently in its unadulterated form. 

Jokes aside, the Bolero GLX makes great sense to the guy who needs a vehicle that can go almost everywhere, with diesel economy and with creature comforts usually associated with proper cars. All right, the Peugeot-derived 72.5 bhp indirect injection, four pot diesel motor is getting too old and that means performance is not exactly its strength. But it is quite reliable and can chug along at 100 kph quite effortlessly. 

What Mahindra has learnt with the Scorpio has been passed on in big chunks to the popular and more affordable Jeep. To begin with, the Bolero is a lot quieter from inside, thanks to better sound insulation material. At 62 dB at 60 kph, Mahindra claims the Bolero is the quietest UV in the country today. An all-new, moulded roof has improved the performance of the air-conditioner a great deal. The rack and pinion power steering (used to be recirculating ball based earlier) is more user-friendly and so is the revised pedal positioning. The third gear ratio has been altered in the BA10 ‘box to enable the Bolero to stretch a litre to 11 kpl. While we don’t really like the idea of fake wood for the interior trim in an UV, the twin-tone seats look good and make the cabin more cheerful. There are a host of other minor improvements like a new cooling circuit, new filters, new parking brake (inner cable type that really works and can hold on, even on a 15 degree gradient) and a new, greener refrigerant, that have gone on to make the Bolero even more desirable. 

But what needs mention is ride and handling which has been improved both on and off the road. You cannot expect it to out-handle sedans but Mahindra has fine-tuned the independent front suspension set-up to keep the Bolero right side up, even while tackling reducing radius corners at speeds close to 100 kph. And mind you, the Jeep genes are hard to kill and the Bolero will ride through almost every kind of terrain you can throw at it. And like most Jeep-clones, it is when you are off-roading that you appreciate the Bolero the most. And yes, a 4WD version with leaf springs up front is available if you need to do real-time mudplugging.

So don’t worry if you are not yet in the Scorpio league, the Bolero GLX will do almost everything that a Scorpio ever will. Well, almost...