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Mahindra XUV500 Review: Mahindra XUV500- The Futuristic SUV

Mahindra XUV500- The Futuristic SUV

By Shiva Shankar; 8th October, 2011
Introduction

Mahindra XUV500- The Futuristic SUV

Mahindra's latest entry, the Mahindra XUV500, is creating waves in the sea of SUVs in India. As it also marks M&M's entry into a new segment altogether, markets have been abuzz about the car, with 5,000 bookings already happening within the first few days of its launch.

We checked out the XUV500 and took it for a drive. Read on for our Mahindra XUV500 first impressions, written by Shiva Shankar.

As soon as I visited the testdrive location, I could see many XUV500s arranged for display. All variants were available and also there was one variant loaded with all accessories and different color combinations. Two vehicles had been arranged for test drive activity. Taking all the car for a good long test drive on highway with considerable traffic, the XUV500`s potential was displayed.

Mahindras are pitching this ride very high with every possible marketing and promotion techniques, after all the XUV500 dubs as the new flagship model for Mahindra. We were encouraged to run a thorough check on each and every possible feature of the car which includes the quality of plastics used, upholstery levels, the fit and feel of the vehicle. We drove the XUV500 at convenient speeds, wherein we could actually feel and enjoy the real performance of the XUV500.

Exterior

True to the claimed inspiration from the cheetah, the front shape of the Mahindra XUV500 looks aggressive and grabs the attention of onlookers; you will feel that “this is the kind of styling I was looking for”. The ORVMs come in body colors and also have side indicators affixed to it.

The headlamp design is impressive with sharp looks.The eye liner like row of LED lights seem to draw some inspiration from Audi cars. The headlamp used is of static bending projector type, where the advantage of the bending ability is that it allows them to light up curves when steering on curve roads.

Coming on to side view, the body styling is supposed to be inspired from the body shape of a Cheetah. Though one cannot expect the ultimate aerodynamic shape of a cheetah converted into metal body of the car, considerable styling points like fender covers, lines on doors, quarter panel etc. do give a  good image as compared to plain design of Scorpio and Xylo. The paw styled door handles are a unique styling statement, indeed a bold change from the standard door handle styling in SUV. (Though not as new as Chevrolet had introduced with its door handles on the rear doors of Chevrolet Beat). 

The rear portion is made on par with front and side panels. Much attention has been given to making it simple yet impressive. The logo of XUV500 is placed at right side bottom of the door and Mahindra on other side. The Mahindra emblem sits at the middle portion. The upper part is made completely of tinted glass with good visibility from inside.

The other points that can be noticed are the tail lamps stretching into quarter panel in upper side. The tail light is of the clear lens type and gives an elegant impression when viewed from side profile. 

Interior

True to the expectations built up with exteriors, interiors are also given high importance. The same is indicated through the features provided. Entering the car is easy and gives sense of uniqueness with the paw styled handles. The wide opening door helps easy entry to even large bodied persons also.

Once seated in driver seat, one can observe the unique detailing given to dashboard. The plastic quality used is very good and so is the sporty twin pod instrument cluster. Chrome lining runs parallel to music system and the center panel right front end of dashboard till the conveniently placed cool box. The steering is mounted with voice command-activated audio controls and cruise control.

The glove box has two compartments - the top part for holding small things and in the lower part, there is provision of putting laptop in a safe position. This is an important requirement in modern cars as most of the car owners have a laptop as standard luggage. The blower vents are designed in a fashion to spread cool breeze efficiently.

In the center panel first thing one notice is the 6”infotainment display. It’s a colored touch screen in W8/W8AWD variant and Monochrome in W6. The top end model also features GPS Navigation with touch screen and audio support. Integrated music system is available in both variant with CD, MP3, iPOD & USB connectivity. DVD Player is available in W8/W8AWD variant and DIS in-built infotainment available in both the variants. Some of the readings that can be read from infotainment display are the mileage, distance to empty, tyre pressure condition, Reverse assist, FM Radio selection, Alerts and Service reminders.

With respect to upholstery, premium fabric seats are available in W6 variant, while the W8/W8AWD features leather upholstery. The quality of upholstery is good and does give a sense of luxury with its fine cushioning and finishing.

8 way adjustable seats including height and lumbar support are available for the driver and hence ensure best of positioning, comfort of driver for long drives. 

Performance

The Mahindra XUV500 comes with a 4-cylinder 2179cc mHAWK140 direct diesel engine with 5th generation variable geometry turbocharger (VGT). The power generated by this unit is 140 bhp at 3750 rpm and the torque output is 330Nm at 1600-2800rpm. Transmission offered is a 6 speed synchromesh manual gearbox. The brakes on all wheels are disk and caliper type ensuring better braking. The chunky P235/65 R17, Radial Tubeless tyres give a smart profile to the vehicle in general. Alloy wheels are available only on the W8 variant.

The different colour options on the XUV500 include Dolphin Grey, Opulent   Purple, Tuscan Red, Moondust silver, Amazon Green, Volcano Black, and Satin White.  

The main strength of the XUV500 are the depth of features and convenience accessories. Some of them are the controls on steering, power windows, central locking, reading lamps on all three rows, mobile charging points on all three rows, rear washer and wiper, remote fuel lid opener, flexi seat configuration. The second row splits in a 60:40 ratio foldable and the 3rd row has a 50:50 ratio seat. Both are flat foldable and hence ensure maximum option for convenient storage.

 

Once we switch on the ignition and start the engine, we at once notice that there is not much noise heard from the engine showing good insulation. One can at once feel the smoothness of the engine working. The infotainment display helps a lot in maneuvering the car - the rear park assist does a great job in guiding the driver when reversing the car, an aid while driving such a massive vehicle. The instrument cluster displays the gear selected while driving.

We tried all the possible tricks to test the ultimate performance of the vehicle in given conditions. Some of this included applying brakes abruptly, pedal flooring acceleration, sharp turns in between two vehicles in signal and many more. Meanwhile, the infotainment display showed a real time mileage of 11.9 KMPL in the normal conditions of usage.

Few more points that are worthy of mentioning include the conversation mirror that is available next to sunglass holder at the roof of the left hand top corner of driver. The conversation mirror is a conical mirror and the driver can see the person sitting in 2nd row and 3rd row. This helps a lot to the driver to avoid to keep guessing the position of the person talking to in rear rows and hence avoids possible distraction of turning back to see the person. Though the cabin mirror also helps in this regard, it cannot cover whole seating positions.

Apart from this the tinted solar-reflecting glass is also worth a mention. At the time of test drive, we could get the direct sunrays from side windows, but the heat of the same was not felt much.

All in all, the Mahindra XUV500 is a large car, and it needs some effort to maneuver. However, the drive is quite smooth and comfortable, and both acceleration and braking do not remind of driving such a massive car.

However to mention some of the drawbacks, one can add that the 2nd row seat height is a bit low and hence for a person like me around 5’ 9”, the knee position is high and hence I can’t get desired thigh support from seats. A push button start that’s a normal feature these days among many cars could have been added for some extra utility whose absence was little disappointing.

The uniqueness of XUV500 is the automatic switching off of the engine while gear is in neutral and switching on while the gear is shifted from Neutral. In case of signals, when the driver engages the gear to neutral then the engine automatically switches off. However as soon as driver presses clutch pedal, the engine starts and hence enables the driver to engage to first gear and move the vehicle. This helps a lot in saving fuel while in idling and also helps the driver the hassles of switching On/Off the engine in long queues or at traffic signals.

 

Tech specs
Technical Specifications
 Make Mahindra
 Model XUV500
Variant W8 AWD
Engine Type mHawk140 Direct injection diesel engine
Displacement 2179/4
Power 140bhp(103KW)@3750RPM
Torque in Nm 330NM@1600-2800RPM
Gear Box 6/M
Tyres P235/65 R17
Fuel Tank Capacity 70L
Dimensions
Ground Clearance mm 200
Turning circle radius 5.6m
Length mm 4585
Width mm 1890
Height mm 1785
Wheel Base mm 2700
Mileage
City 12
Highway 15
Fuel Diesel
Suspension
Front McPhesron type with anti roll bar
Rear Multi-Link type with anti-roll bar
Brakes All disc brakes
Gross vehicle weight 2450Kg
Features
Features W6 W8/W8AWD
Micro hybrid technology Yes Yes
6-Speed transmission Yes Yes
Static-bending projection headlamps with LED Parking lights Yes Yes
6" colour touchscreen infotainment display No Yes
6"Monochrome infotainment display Yes No
GPS Navigation with touchscreen and audio support No Yes
Integrated music system with CD/MP3,iPOD& USB connectivity Yes Yes
4 Door speakers with 2 tweeters on dashboard Yes Yes
DVD Player Yes Yes
DIS in built in infotainment Yes Yes
Tyre tronics No Yes
Intellipark Yes Yes
Smart rain sensing wipers Yes Yes
Intelligent rainsensing headlamps Yes Yes
Digital immobiliser Yes Yes
Digital trip and tachometer Yes Yes
Glass embedded antena Yes Yes
Safety
Dual airbags(driver+passanger) Yes Yes
Competition
Specifications
Mahindra
XUV500
Tata Motors
Aria
Skoda
Yeti
Ford
Endeavour
Toyota
Innova
Variant W8 AWD Pride Elegance TDCI 4X2 VX
Cubic capacity 2179 2179 1968 2499 2494
Power in PS 140 140 140 143 102
Torque in Nm 320 320 320 330 200
Ground clearance NA 200 180 210 176
Turning circle radius 5.6M 5.6 5 - 5.4 M
Fuel Tank  in Liters 70 60 60 71 55
Seating 8 Seater 7 Seater 7Seater 7 seater 8 Seater
Mileage in KMPL 12 12 14 12 14
Key Features
Tubeless tyres Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ski rack Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Rear Wash and wiper Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Digital Drive Assist system Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Mobile charging point Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Flat bed seat Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Arm rest for driver and co driver Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Height adjustable driver seat Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Intellipark reverse assist Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Engine Immobiliser Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Surround cool dual AC Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Power steering Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tilt steering Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Keyless entry Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Central locking Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Power windows Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rear Defogger Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Genuine Leather seats Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Leather wrapped steering wheel Yes Yes Yes Yes No
2-DIN Audio system Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ABS Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Airbag 6 6 6 2 2
Ex showroom price Bangalore 16.03 15.57 16.8 16.7 12.7
Conclusion

Mahindra XUV500 is the answer to the Aria from Tata Motors, the Skoda Yeti etc. The XUV500 claims a mileage of 12-14kmpl. With awareness of the advantages and drawbacks of competitive models, Mahindra officials have worked hard in providing maximum features and best of styling at competitive and an aggressive price tag. With the kind of bookings going on, the success seems to be certain. It's now time Tata Motors take some drastic steps with Aria which also features similarly powered engine and lots of luxury features but at a hefty price tag.