Now on the face of it I know that you’re thinking the same thing that I did. What on earth were the designers thinking when designing this model? With that tall cab and exceptionally long loading bay, it looks rather ungainly. Inside is just as strange with beige seats and plastics along with an odd gear lever and high seating position.
However, when you drive the Genio for a while you discover method in the madness; the massive cab provides superb space inside and great visibility - crucial when working in tight construction spaces. The long loading bed means that a number of things can be loaded onto the Genio. I didn’t use it to its full potential but did try and fill up the loading bay with food for the animals at the Bunny Park.
Another aspect of the model that I found impressive was the powertrain. The 2.2-litre turbo diesel may only have 88kW/290Nm but is mated to a five-speed gearbox with relatively short ratios which means that the car never feels gutless. It even cruises nicely on the highway and was reasonable on fuel with a 74-litre tank and a cruising range of close to 1 000 kilometres, despite its aerodynamic shortfalls.
There are also a reasonable amount of creature comforts in this Plus model with airconditioning, cruise control and USB connectivity, which will come in handy on those boring drives to various jobs. Expect ABS brakes on the safety front but no airbag, or any official crash-test rating.
Overall, the Genio is a good product; I do think that Mahindra could make its styling a bit more palatable and change those interior colours to something that would be more conducive to the often dirty working environment. But at this price point, it offers great value for money as a working bakkie with a payload of 1 260kg and enough space for a small business to operate from it.
Price: Mahindra Genio 2.2CRDe single cab Plus: R214 995.