Mahindra XUV500 First Drive

OVERVIEW ;

The Mahindra XUV500 was launched in India four years back and it was a great feat by the Indian automaker. The vehicle came across as a huge change over other SUVs from the same stable and thanks to its aggressive looks and the loaded equipment list, the XUV turned out to be a runaway success for the company. Mahindra managed to sell at least 35,000 units of the SUV in the first year itself. The demand for the vehicle was so much that the company had to resort to a lucky draw system for buyers. The XUV500 received a minor facelift in 2014 which included only a few changes and now Mahindra has launched the 2015 XUV500 which is quite a significant update. The XUV500 continues to sell in good numbers even now despite the fact that it has got some worthy competitors. So, let us have a look at the 2015 facelift of the XUV500 to gauge what all has changed. Get On Road Price of Mahindra XUV500 in Carzprice

EXTERIOR AND LOOK ;

The vehicle we got to drive was a top of the line W8 variant though there are not many changes in the exteriors for the base W6 variant as well. When you look at the Mahindra XUV 500 the 1st thing that comes to the mind is that this is not a regular box looking Mahindra like the Scorpio or the Bolero.The car is well sculpted and chiselled at various angles to make it look very appealing to the eye. It’s worth mentioning here that the design team claims that the car is based on the pouncing cheetah structure. To start off from the front end, the jaw-like honeycomb grille looks magnificent as well as intimidating. It looks huge and gives the car immense presence when viewed from the front. Also a very neat design strategy is the sculpted bumper. One can see that just below the headlamps on both the ends there is a fibre structure which is deep set inside the bumper which gives it that macho and muscular look.

It is the rugged robust look in the front for which the car is said to have an aggressive cheetah like design language. There is an air dam just below the grille and above the number plate section. The car gets static bending projector headlamps which allow them to light up the curves when you turn the steering so that there never is a surprise around the corner. The headlamps also get LED parking lamps along with the high intensity projection bulbs. But then you may think there are no fog lights!!! No, no you are wrong. Look deep down into the bumper and there are nicely fit fog lights which are not that bulky looking but designed perfectly to illuminate the road under bad situations. After all this is an SUV and that too Mahindra XUV 500, you would take it at places where the roads/terrain might not be well lit. Now talking about the side profile, the most distinct and prominent design work is the chunky wheel arch. It is huge and bulky and gives a lot of character to the car. So, I may say it’s not just the wheel arch but an added muscle above the wheel arch above both the front and rear arches which make it more noticeable and help the car look strong and ready for action.

Coming to the window sills, they are done in black just like most automakers are doing it across the globe to make it look better. ORVMs have side turning indicators. The most unique feature on the exterior side is the paw-styled vertical door handles. These handles also provide better grip and also it is a Mahindra first attempt in the SUV segment to come up with such a unique design even for it is a small feature like a door handle. Also there is a roof-rail present on the car which is streamlined right from the front till the tailgate. This adds to the sporty character of the Mahindra XUV 500. Come to the rear end and the first thing you would notice is that there is added muscle just above the number plate garnish. It stands out making it look distinct from the rather boxy SUVs available in the Indian markets. Also there are racing inspired twin exhaust pipes done in chrome. Then, the icing on the cake is the tail lamp. With a paw like design inscribed inside the clear lens on the tail lamp, it looks very meaty and well of course serves the purpose of better visibility. It also has a high mount stop lamp and finally there is also a rear screen wiper with washer.

INTERIOR AND COMFORT ;

The proportions are so compact that you’d be surprised to find three rows of seats. With the third row up boot space is an all but non-existent 93 litres but the seats fold flat into the floor (easily done by a small lever) to liberate a 702-litre boot and the middle row too folds flat to increase boot space to 1512 litres. Accommodation in the third row is good for children and acceptable over short distances for adults. As a yardstick it isn’t as comfortable as the Innova though space is almost identical to the Aria. The middle row doesn’t slide and there are no individual captain seats for now but space (head, knee and shoulder room) is very good. And unlike the Scorpio where you clamber up, the XUV sports easy ingress and egress thus doing away with ungainly running boards. Up front the seats are wide, comfortable and accommodating and facing the driver is a properly stylish and well turned out dashboard.

Panel gaps are tight and these interiors are much, much better than any Mahindra so far. Quality standards though are patchy, while first impressions are very positive some bits do let it down like the flimsy lid for the centre console and coin holders and the nasty serrated edge on the underside of the gear knob of our test vehicle. Like the Xylo different exterior colours get different dashboard shades and while I don’t care too much for the browns in our (maroon) test car I did see rather better black and beige jobbies during the launch. An irritant though are the silver-finished strips that originate from the base of the windscreen and flow down the sides of the centre console which cause a nasty reflection on the windscreen particularly at night. And mention must be made of discreet LED lights that illuminate the cabin (the strip on the roof looks almost like on the Audi A8) though the reading lamps (also LEDs) are so bright they’re akin to tube lights. Turn on the ignition and the needles do a full sweep of the dials like on sports bikes while the infotainment system plays a welcome tune (which gets irritating after a while but thankfully there’s no ‘Welcome to your Scorpio, you are driving a powerful vehicle….’ nonsense). The dials themselves are terrifically designed and shows just how much thought went into styling the XUV. And then there’s the exhaustive feature count. Safety first. Both variants get ABS and two front airbags as standard, the W8 on test here gets ESP and side and curtain airbags for a total of six airbags.

There’s hill-hold which prevents the vehicle rolling backwards when creeping up an incline and hill-descent which maintains a steady speed (without touching the accelerator or brakes) while going down steep inclines. Creature comforts include climate control with a separate condenser for the rear air-con to ensure optimal cooling even in the third row. In fact third row passengers get their own blower controls and the vents are neatly integrated into the pillars so that there are no ugly protuberances. All rows get charging points and the space under the central armrest is refrigerated. There’s two-tone leather upholstery, automatic headlamps and rain-sensing wipers, cruise control and audio controls on the steering wheel, Bluetooth, USB and iPod connectivity and a six-inch full-colour infotainment touch screen that has a full vehicle data display including service intervals, fuel efficiency and tyre pressure indicators (the left rear sensor malfunctioned in heavy rain). Parking sensors with a distance readout is standard and there is a provision to connect a parking camera to the screen. And best of all there’s integrated GPS navigation with 1.5 million kilometres of maps spanning 1200 cities and turn-by-turn navigation in eight regional languages. This is as extensive a feature count as is possible; killer value when you look at the sticker price.

ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;

Mechanically there are no changes; hence the SUV remains untouched on that front. XUV500 is driven by the muscular 2.2 litre, mHawk diesel powertrain bestowed with the 5th generation variable geometry turbocharger. The athletic engine yields maximum power output of 140 Bhp at 3750 RPM along with 330 Nm of top torque between 1600 to 2800 RPM. Mahindra XUV500 transmission used with the diesel motor is a six-speed synchromesh manual transmission. There is also an option for an all wheel drive system available in the W8 and W10 variants, otherwise the trims come affixed with a front wheel drive system. Nothing significant has been altered in terms of mechanical functioning except for the slight modification in the final gearing of the manual tranny. Mahindra XUV500 Vs Nissan Terrano- versus one of the desirable options in this price range, XUV500 houses a much powerful engine that promises to engender higher power and torque output.

Powered by the 2.2 litre mHawk diesel powerplant in conjunction with the six-speed manual transmission is decent enough if not very impressive. ARAI certified fuel economy delivered by this version of XUV500 SUV is 16 kms in a litre which is decent enough. In comparison to the previous model, the fuel economy has improved slightly, it now up by 0.9 kmpl.Since there have been no tweaks in the mechanical department, therefore there is no vital change in this department. This also clarifies that there is still room for improvement in the way XUV500 handles. Had there been a prominent revamp in the steering, dampers, springs and anti-roll bars things would have changed upside down for XUV500. However we can’t say that there has been absolutely no change in terms of performance, the SUV did feel more responsive specifically at high speeds, but there is still a large scope for improvement.

RIDE AND HANDLING ;

With a lot of features and excellent engine performance, you almost get all the benefits from the XUV 500 with regards to sporty utility vehicles. One of its greatest advantages is its more responsive steering which prevents the driver from feeling any hint of nervousness while driving the XUV. If you are going to test drive the vehicle on various road surfaces, you will never get scared and won’t be able to feel the difference in the steering. And even if you do three digit speeds on varied road surfaces and or do fast bends, not once would one feel nervous about it as the handling is impressively smooth.

The complete stability of the vehicle even if the brakes are applied suddenly in a straight line is excellent. You will feel that there are lesser see-saw effects when you are going around tight bends at high speed because it is setup more on the stiffer side thereby resulting in better performance. You will greatly appreciate the drive with the Mahindra XUV if you are one that loves fast driving and like a vehicle that is capable of reaching top speeds while not sacrificing maneuverability. However, you need to be watchful on the torque steering out going to the front wheels. You also need to observe closely the clutch; it might be of good quality and not heavy to use but it can leave you with an irritating calf muscle when you have to drive in “stop and go” city traffic.

SAFETY

The Mahindra XUV500 comes loaded with a lot of safety features. Every variant comes with dual front airbags and ABS as standard while the W8 and W10 variants also get side and curtain airbags. The SUV also gets other features like Electric Stability Program (ESP) with Rollover Mitigation, Hill Hold and Hill Descent Control on W8 and W10 variants. The XUV500 is undoubtedly the safest vehicle in its class and it has also bagged a 4-star rating from Australian NCAP. Talking about after-sales, Mahindra has a wide service network across the country. The company caters to a variety of customers owning different SUVs from the automaker’s stable. Most online experiences posted by existing XUV500 owners state they have had a decent experience with the company’s service, but what gets annoying is the number of frequent visits that have to be made to the service centres to solve the vehicle’s niggles. However, Mahindra has improved a lot in the past couple of years and we expect the new XUV to be free from any major irritants.

CONCLUSSION ;

The new XUV does make a more compelling case than before, with revamped styling, improved cabin ambience and longer equipment list build on the XUV’s traditional strengths. At the same time, the XUV has become better to drive too. Sure, there is still room for improvement but to the average buyer looking for an all-round SUV that meets style and value, the XUV remains among the best options around. More so when you consider that variant for variant, the XUV costs about the same as before. The lower W4 and W6 variants have been priced at Rs 11.2 lakh and Rs 12.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) respectively, while the higher-spec XUV500 W8 costs Rs 14.2 lakh (in front-wheel drive form) and Rs 14.9 lakh (all-wheel drive). The new W10 variant has been priced atRs 14.99 lakh (front-wheel drive) and Rs 15.99 lakh (all-wheel drive).

 

Add Comment

Required fields are marked *. Your email address will not be published.