The new 1.2 ton Mahindra Genio bakkie is made at Mahindra's manufacturing facility in Chakan, India and is now available here in South Africa. Both single-cab and double-cab versions are on offer, with the former offering a payload of 1250kg and the latter 1100kg. The versatile Genio offers a balance of two abilities – work and play – and comes as a welcome addition to Mahindra's expanding product range here in South Africa. Sitting between two existing Mahindra models in the line-up, namely the Bolera (a work-horse) and the Scorpio (a recreational SUV), the Genio has a large load box (for work) and an optional four-wheel drive (for play) while being affordably priced compared to current mainstream players in the 1.2 pick-up market.
Buy a car like this and you'll get the biggest cargo box in its class as well as the shortest turning radius, allowing easy manoeuvrability. The exterior is streamlined and has an up-to-date feel as well as a pleasing metallic paint finish. From the front: there is an intimidating front grille and bumper which gives the pick-up a masculine, determined stance. A wider windscreen is a welcome improvement for enhanced visibility, while bigger doors allow for convenient entry and exit. Bigger than usual outside rear view mirrors will help when reversing a big load into a tight spot. The suspension is independent in front, with coil springs, while leaf springs suspend the rear axle. There is a large corrugated cargo box and a split rear window at the back.
Inside the Genio has a very spacious cabin. Designers have moved away from the typical minimalist interior of current commercial vehicle interiors and given the Genio an appealing interior which more resembles that of your personal car rather than a utility vehicle. All the models have an array of mod-cons including: power steering, air conditioning, immobiliser, electric windows, rear fog lamps, remote central locking, audio system, cruise control, a digital information system, seat belt and door ajar warning lights, outside temperature sensor and steering wheel-mounted controls for the audio and information systems. The Double-cab has comfortable seating for up to 5 passengers in an extra spacious back cabin on semi-bucket seats with multi-function adjustments and the front with recliner features too. There is a stylish instrument cluster which also has a convenient trip meter. The gears look very car-like which relates back to the designers' intention. Other desirable interior specifications include: an extra large glove box, a smartly designed floor console offering a neat bottle holder and mobile charging point, a fully carpeted floor and extra large sun visors.
The Genio is powered by the mHawk 2.2 litre turbo diesel, which is a joint development between Mahindra and Austrian engineering specialists, AVL. The engine puts out 89kW at 4000rpm and 290Nm between 1800 and 2800rpm. Top speed is 120km/h. All models in the current Genio range have a five-speed manual gearbox.
The Genio comes factory-fitted with modern radial tubeless tyres. ABS braking is standard and the onboard LSPV technology helps sense the load in the vehicle and adjusts the braking pressure to ensure better and safer braking. The Genio is equipped with ELR seat belts while it appears that driver and passenger airbags will be an added-cost option. The Genio also has an advanced electronic headlamp levelling device which ensures that the vehicles headlamps are correctly aimed, regardless of the vehicle load.
The Genio is backed by a 3-year/100,000km warranty and roadside assistance for one year; while a 3-year/60,000km service plan is an optional extra. In terms of pricing the Genio will cost around R149,900 for the single-cab and R189,900 for the double-cab subject to dealer/agent pricing.