The Mahindra Verito Vibe to be launched on June 5 is NOT a hatchback

One can be forgiven for thinking that the Mahindra Verito Vibe that is to be launched on June 5 is a hatchback. It’s not. It is, in fact, a notchback and hence will compete with compact sedans – as it is functionally similar.

The Mahindra Verito Vibe has been specifically built around a very tight budget to comply with the small car excise duty norms. These norms state that to qualify for an excise duty of 12% (against 24% otherwise), a car must measure less than 4 metres in length and have a petrol engine under 1.2 litres capacity or a diesel engine below 1.5 litres in size. Here’s the latest set of spyshots from IndianAutosBlog, which reveal some interesting details about the car.

At present, Mahindra only has one car in its line up – the Mahindra Verito sedan, which was earlier the Renault Logan, when Mahindra and Renault had a tie up to launch the car. This car measures 4,247 mm in length and does not qualify for cheaper excise norms – which means it’s at a disadvantage against the likes of the Maruti Dzire, Honda Amaze and Tata Indigo eCS. Although Mahindra has priced it competitively, it does eat into the company’s margins. Also read: Mahindra Verito notchback launch only in diesel

How the Mahindra Verito Vibe was derived from the Verito

The solution: Hack off 247 mm from the car and then build something out of it. That’s what’s been done with the Mahindra Verito Vibe. After hacking off most of the Verito’s spacious 510 litre boot, the engineers were left with a choice – hatchback or still manage to squeeze in a boot lid, and make it a notchback? They went with the latter, because converting it to a hatchback would have meant more expensive changes, as the rear-windscreen would have to be redesigned, a hatch frame designed, and the basic chassis would have to be altered to support the weight of a hatch.

Instead the engineers have left the rear windscreen intact, and hinged the light boot lid just below it. Looking at how much has been sawn off, we think the Verito Vibe would have barely 250 litres of luggage space at the most, up to parcel shelf height, which is pretty much in hatchback territory. Except that loading tall luggage into it is going to be tough. To free up space, the designers have taken the tail-lamps to the C-pillars, and kind of oversized them. All-in-all from the spy shots of the car that we have seen, it isn’t a very pretty picture.

The car will come only with a 1.5 litre diesel engine as Mahindra does not have a 1.2 litre petrol engine in its portfolio yet. It will have the same 65 bhp power rating as the Verito sedan. The rest of the car from the front right up to the rear seat would be the same as the Verito sedan – which means it will be one of the most spacious compact sedans / notchbacks around in terms of passenger space.

What’s going to be interesting is the way Mahindra prices this car – given that it now gets the full small-car excise duty benefit, it might actually undercut the Tata Indigo eCS diesel considerably. We think this car will have a starting price of Rs. 4.99 lakh and that too for a diesel – it will find takers despite its odd looks. Also read: All you wanted to know about compact sedans – Amaze, Dzire, Indigo

Photos courtesy: Indian Autos Blog