In India, cars that sell in massive volumes (in the region of a lakh units) are mostly either bottom of the barrel entry level hatchbacks or Maruti-Suzuki products. But there is one exception on this list which is an SUV, the one and only Mahindra Bolero. For 9 years straight from 2006 to 2015, the Bolero has been the highest selling SUV in the country. In 2015 itself, the company had sold in excess of 1 lakh units which is very commendable for a full size SUV. The Bolero has also constantly held its spot among the top selling cars of India and is the only SUV on that list. With such a massive fan-base to back itself, the Bolero also has a dominant spot on the used car market. So here we take a look at some of the important aspects you should pay attention to, if you are buying a used Mahindra Bolero.
Also Read: Upcoming Mahindra Cars in India
One of the primary selling points of the Bolero is its outright sturdiness and build. It’s a full force rugged utilitarian which can practically take on any surface you can find in the country without complaining too much. Save for the really extreme off-road surfaces, the Bolero easily gobbles up every other terrain you can dish out at it. This is quite impressive since the only off-road assist it comes with, is a 4×4 mechanism. There are no differential locks or slip limiters, it’s simple yet effective. This SUV is made to last. There are several owners across the country that have clocked lakhs of kilometres with the car just refusing to give up.
Be it the maintenance or the actual cost of the vehicle, the Bolero just oozes VFM. A brand new top model variant even today costs under Rs. 10 lakhs on-road. So, a used Mahindra Bolero is going to cost even lesser. Apart from that, the running costs after you purchase the vehicle are very conveniently low. As it is, it is built like a tank so a majority of the parts are built to last. Your primary expenditure with the car will be in the consumables department. Even otherwise the spares are priced rather affordably by Mahindra. All these factors combined translate into a wonderfully fuss-free ownership.
Honestly speaking, when you’re looking at most utility focussed vehicles, you don’t expect to see anything more than an engine, body, and the seats. But with the 2012 facelift, the Bolero got its fair share of creature comforts too. The 2012 facelifted Bolero took a more contemporary approach in terms of design. While the exterior changes were rather subtle, it’s the interiors that got a plush overhaul. With a brand-new steering wheel, wood and aluminium accents, power windows, a Kenwood music system, and a digital instrument gauge with a driver information system, the interiors got a dash of freshness and appeal, something you wouldn’t expect from a car of this stature. Apart from that, from the earlier models to now, the Bolero had always been satisfyingly roomy and spacious for the occupants. Special mention to the powerful Air Conditioning Unit which cools this mammoth in just a few minutes.
This aspect of the Bolero is both a pro as well as a con. The Mahindra Bolero is equipped with a light steering intended to make your drive easier. This feature works superbly in the city. Manoeuvring a car of such huge proportions just doesn’t get easier. On the flipside, however, the same light steering becomes a major disadvantage on the highways or at higher speeds. If you are driving at speeds upwards of 80 kmph, you will immediately start hating the light steering. Coupled with the rudimentary suspension setup, high-speed handling on this car is pure fidgety and not confidence inspiring. So, you need to be very careful with your steering inputs at higher speeds especially when your car is loaded with passengers/luggage.
Now we move on to the cons associated with a used Mahindra Bolero. The Bolero comes with a brake setup comprising of discs at the front but a drum at the rear. While the front doesn’t really cause too much problem, the rear drum brakes however, just love to lock up. It’s all good at mediocre 60-70 kmph speeds. But, push it any further and you’ll have to be very wary of how much stomp you’re putting on the brake pedal. On wet surfaces, it’s most advisable to go slow as there is no ABS to assist in these situations. Also, even the lever has a very wooden and spongy feel. It won’t make much of a difference at slow speeds, the effects will feel pronounced as you gain velocity.
This is where the utilitarian nature of the Bolero begins to display itself in a bad way. In an attempt to keep the final costs low on the car, the overall refinement levels are below average. The engine is devoid of any cladding in the bay which means most of the noise creeps into the cabin. The lack of cladding in the engine bay coupled with the bare bones suspension components also causes a lot of vibration to creep into the cabin. So, when you are driving over rough patches, the Bolero will be able to move over them effortlessly, but will transmit the feel of every tiny rock you move over straight back to you. Lastly, the ride quality of any used Mahindra Bolero is going to be strictly average. Don’t expect anything more than that. Body roll is very prevalent and the suspension again seriously limits your handling.