Mahindra Genio 4x2 Single Cab: Runs on the board

By: Matt Wood


The Genio has just been updated with new safety kit and Euro 5 emissions. Let’s load it up and take it for a spin

 The optional 2.7 metre tray provides plenty of real estate for a load.
The optional 2.7 metre tray provides plenty of real estate for a load.

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 posthole 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 1-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 Benault and the clack of bat on ball would rattle out over the paddocks.

 Not the most attractive ute on the market but there’s function to its form.
Not the most attractive ute on the market but there’s function to its form.

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.

 A half tonne payload saw the Mahindra perform well.
A half tonne payload saw the Mahindra perform well.

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! 

Form and function

The Genio certainly has a unique look. Many will grimace at its profile, however 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.

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

Under that sloping snout is Mahindra’s 2.2 litre intercooled 4-cylinder turbo diesel which is backed by a 5-speed manual transmission.

This power plant makes 88kW and 280Nm of torque.  There’s a choice of a standard 2.4-metre aluminium tray or an optional 2.7 metre tray.

Payload for the single cab variant is a decent 1,200kg. Braked towing is 1,800kg.

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

Given that this ute 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.

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

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 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!

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.

 The 5-speed ‘box is well matched to the 2.2 litre engine and makes the most of power output.
The 5-speed ‘box is well matched to the 2.2 litre engine and makes the most of power output.

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 ton 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 very 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. Though bafflingly rubber floor mats are an option and are a part of a package that includes canvas seat covers.

 Hill descent control is a nice addition to the Genio.
Hill descent control is a nice addition to the Genio.

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.

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, and 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.

Mahindra Genio 4x 2 Single Cab _ATN Image (2)

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. But 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. 

Specifications: Mahindra Genio 4x2 Single Cab

Engine: 2.2 litre mHawk Turbo-Diesel

Power: 88Kw/280Nm

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Payload: 1,200kg

Towing: 1,800kg

Price: From $21,990 drive away

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

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