First drive | Mahindra Genio ute

By: Matt Wood

Presented by
  • Earthmovers & Excavators

The Mahindra Genio has just been updated with new safety kit and Euro 5 emissions. Matt Wood loads it up and takes it for a spin

Mahindra -Genio -ute
Not the most attractive ute on the market but there’s function to its form


Buy utes

  • Price: From $21,990 drive away

  • 1200kg payload

  • 88kW mHawk turbo-diesel

I reckon I’ll always associate the sound of radio cricket commentary with the sound of cicadas in the trees and the clunk of a post hole driver.

I’ve never worked out why my old man used to decide to fence in summer. The ground is like concrete!

And that’s not taking into account blistering heat and a cloud of friendly flies.

Regardless, our trusty old one-tonne farm ute would always sit within earshot, with the doors hanging open and the tinny AM radio set to speaker-distorting volumes.

The commentary of Tony Grieg and Richie Benaud and the clack of bat on ball would rattle out over the paddocks.

Which, speaking of obscure cricketing analogies, brings me to the Indian manufactured Mahindra Genio. Available in both single cab and dual cab, the Genio has just been updated for Euro 5 emissions and this update has also seen the addition of some more kit.

The line-up has also seen a little bit of a streamline with the dropping of 4x4 models. This leaves off-road duties for the bigger Pik-Up model.

And like so many modern utes these days, with the Mahindra Genio you can’t fence and listen to the cricket. If you leave the key in the ignition on accessory and the doors open, it will beep at you until you either start the engine or remove the key. You’d think that a vehicle from cricket-mad India would make the ability for listen to cricket commentary at all times a priority!

Mahindra -Genio -ute
A half-tonne payload saw the Mahindra perform well

Form and function

The Genio certainly has a unique look. Many will grimace at its profile, but there’s some function to its form.

The combination of a high seating position and short sloping bonnet makes for great visibility; the cab profile is very similar to a cab chassis van, just on a smaller scale.

Under that sloping snout is Mahindra’s 2.2-litre intercooled 4-cylinder turbodiesel backed by a 5-speed manual transmission. This power plant makes 88kW (118hp) and 280Nm of torque. There’s a choice of a standard 2.4m aluminium tray or an optional 2.7m tray. Payload for the single cab variant is a decent 1200kg. Braked towing is 1800kg.

This Euro 5 update has seen the addition of electronic stability control, auto start stop and hill-start assist and descent control.

Given that it is primarily aimed at rental fleets, small business and those on the land, the Genio is pretty well equipped for around-town duties as well as beating around the boonies. There’s decent ground clearance on offer for farm duties and the standard side steps provide some body protection in the off chance you run over a stray tree branch or large rock.

The under-step LED courtesy lights that light up the ground under the doors are also a nice touch. Nobody wants to step on a sleeping brown snake!

Mahindra -Genio -ute
The interior styling may be an acquired taste but it’s comfortable enough with a decent amount of space

Bowling along

The 2.2-litre mHawk engine seems pretty modest on paper. However, from behind the wheel, it’s actually quite a strong performer. There’s a little lag on take-off but once the needle ticks 2000rpm it turns on the power tap.

Mahindra is also claiming a decent 7.5L/100km fuel figure for the Genio.

Our couple of weeks on the road saw fuel averages under 10L/100km, so it’s pretty frugal.

Not surprisingly, there’s a bit of jiggle in the Genio’s ride when empty. We also threw half a tonne of cement in the back to see how it coped with a load and found it rode well with only a little lateral sway at highway speeds.

The engine also enjoyed the load and hauled well. The 5-speed ‘box shifts like a light truck, but this clearly isn’t a sports car. The ratios are well spaced to make the most of the engine’s output.

Driver and passenger accommodation is comfortable enough. This interior is clearly made to cope with the grime of a working day. However, bafflingly, rubber floor mats are an option and are a part of a package that includes canvas seat covers.

Storage is adequate and there’s quite a bit of room behind the seats if needed.

Alloy wheels are also an option, though given that this truck isn’t really a show pony, I can’t see many customers ticking that box.

A Tradie Pack adds a Bluetooth hands-free phone kit that also has a couple of USB charging outlets.

Our test vehicle had this option and while it worked okay around town, it didn’t cope with the background noise of highway speeds very well.

Mahindra -Genio -ute
The intercooled mHawk engine performs better than the power figures would suggest. Euro 5 has seen the addition of a DPF

Straight bat

Sure the Genio is a bit agricultural and there’s not a lot of badge credibility to be had. But, as a business appliance, it certainly seems more than up to the task of being a light commercial beast of burden.

There are a few niggles with the Mahindra. For a start, the dash lights are very bright and have no dimmer, which is distracting when driving at night.

The auto start/stop is terribly slow. In fact, it’s the first thing I turned off when I jumped in. If I owned it I’d have it disconnected.

None of this is a deal breaker. However, the biggest niggle was the anti-carjack automatic door locking. Once you get rolling, like many modern vehicles, the doors lock.

But, when you go to hop out, the door doesn’t unlock with the inside door handle. You have to physically lift the door lock button next to your shoulder.

Farmers, a target market for this ute, will soon tire of this when stopping to open multiple gates on a large property.

But these niggles aside, the Genio is a well-priced, tough, basic little work truck. It’s certainly not a passion purchase and lacks a little finesse compared to its pricier mainstream competitors.

Yet having spent quite some time with Mahindra product both on and off road in the past, it’s a dependable option for those who value cost-effective function over form, and it plays a straight bat.

The Mahindra Genio is priced from $21,990 drive away for the single cab and $25,490 for the dual cab.

Mahindra Genio 4x2 Single Cab Specs

Engine: 2.2-litre mHawk Turbo-Diesel

Power: 88Kw (118hp)/280Nm

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Payload: 1200kg

Towing: 1800kg

Price: From $21,990 drive away

Warranty: 3 years/100,000km with roadside assist


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