The Mahindra XUV 500 has been released with a lot of hype & hoopla surrounding it. Mahindra has been advertising it very aggressively even before the production began, but equal number of questions like whether Mahindra & Mahindra, which is famous for its utility vehicles can develop a luxury SUV? Will it end as another over-priced dud like the Aria? Can Mahindra do justice to the long list of electronics? Are they reliable etc. were creeping up. Finally the XUV5oo (It is XUV 5 “oh” “oh”, the alphabet “o’ but not zero) was launched on 28th september at a price that blew up any uncertainties that were surrounding it. It was released in three models, the W6, W8(2WD) & the W8(4WD) at a price of 10.80 – 12.88 lakhs (ex-showroom delhi).
This made the XUV5oo spec sheet a super delight to watch added to the aggressive pricing. The long list of electronics & all the bells & whistles in the top variant made the XUV5oo a run away hit as a result of which it has 8000 bookings in the first 10 days of its launch in only 5 cities in India viz. Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata & Mumbai. But can it survive in the long term and prove to be reliable or be blown away by the niggles? Lets get into the detailed review of the XUV5oo to answer these questions.
The Indian Scenario before the launch of Xuv5oo:
The SUV segment was dominated by the mighty scorpio’s safari’s & fortuner’s. None f them was a perfect car. The Scorpio inspite of having a macho image had its own set of reliablity issues & niggles. The safari was a good product but was never backed up by Tata. The Tata’s After Sales Service is among the worst all over India(Skoda being the worst). The fortuner proved out to be a game-changer for Toyota inspite of it being priced on the higher side. The Aria got good reviews & feedback from customers & although some people felt it was overpriced for a Tata, but still the car justified it. The Innova was another proven market leader. All these cars were doing quite good until the biggest game changer had arrived, the XUV5oo. The best thing that Mahindra did was to price it aggressively. The feature list blew out every car in the below 25 lakh segment from scorpio to the fortuner. The XUV all of a sudden made all the competition look over-priced.
Who would want to buy a Fortuner with rear drum brakes when you get a fully loaded XUV at half the price apart from the harcore Toyota fans.Leave alone the rest of the cars, the numbers itself speak for the car.
The engineers at Mahindra have developed the XUV from scratch at a budget of 650 crore.It is a monocoque unlike the other traditional body on frame SUV’s It has the stance of a cheetah when viewed from the side profile. I personally feel that the front has been overdone, especially the grill. The headlights have been neatly designed and the LED’s add to it. The front three views look good. We can notice the design cues from other cars like the Mitsubushi Outlander, strangely I find the rear three views resembling to Xylo to an extent. The build quality does not match the Europeans but is quite good for an Indian vehicle. Overall, the XUV looks good and is worth a watch on the r
Step into the XUV and you will find it hard to believe that it is a mahindra. It is a major step ahead for Mahindra.
The interiors look very appealing at first sight. The 6 inch touch screen with multiple functions like tyretronics, GPS, Temperature, Video playback, etc. called as the infotainment system looks perfect. The color combination is also tasteful. The steering wheel is neither too big nor too small and feels very chunky to hold. The leather wrap also looks good and feels good to hold. The air-con vents are funky and do a very decent job. The seats also feel quite comfortable, under thigh support is average. The front and middle rows have oodles of space for leg room, infact the middle row passengers have more room than in any other car in the segment. But it is the third row of seats that compromise in leg room. They are strictly meant for children or short adults under 5 feet. the second and third rows also have their own air-co vents. Although the interiors are intended to be premium they lag behind in fit & finish, this may be because of Mahindra’s lack of experience.And yeah the XUV literally has no room whatsoever for luggage unless you fold in the 3rd row of seats. So people who want a perfect 7 seater with some decent space for luggage, stay away.
It is like diwali during the night inside the XUV with all those mood lightings and all.
The speedometer looks very modernized and is a good sight for the eyes during the night.
Engine & Performance:
Once you open the bonnet, everything looks neatly packed and is good to watch.The XUV is powered by the same 2.2 litre mHawk engine that powers the Scorpio but at a variable state of tune. It makes 140 bhp in the XUV instead of the 120 in the scorpio. It has a peak torque of 330Nm. The engine is mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. The automatic is sorely missed, as it is the choice of most of the premium customers.
Although the engine has added only 20 odd horses from that of the scorpio, it does make that count. Add to that , the XUV is lighter than the Scorpio by 60 odd kilos, thanks to the monocoque design unlike the body on frame on the scorpio. Also the 6 gears ensure a wider spread to increase the performance and mileage. The XUV is quite quick and reaches to 60kmph from 0 in 6.54 s and 100kmph in 13.85 s. There is minimal turbo lag and you can fell the turbo kicking it right from 1800 rpm. You can rev it all the way to 4500 and it won’t disappoint you. The clutch is not too heavy and is comfortable to use. The gear shifts are smooth. The XUV is also stable at high speeds. It can cruise all day long at 150 kmph on the highways without any effory.It reaches 150 kmph in the 6th gear at just 2800rpm, so you can just floor the pedal and it will reach 180kmph within no time.
The suspension is just awesome and is a bench mark for the other cars. It is a bit on the stiffer side but is very comfortable once the speed climbs up. Throw the XUV in some potholes and patches, the suspension absorbs it all without any complaints. Overall, this car is pure fun to drive.
Everything looks too good to be true and the XUV looks like a dream car, but wait , it’s the reliability that governs the long term success of the car. Scorpio had its own share of niggles at the beginning and it took Mahindra a lot of time to solve them. So, is the case with XUV, the technology used is entirely new to the whole team. Complaints have just started flowing in and I saw a customer complaining that his 3 week old XUV making some squeaks. Another issue to deal with is the electronics which are prone to failure. The electronics on the XUV aren’t confidence inspiring and don’t give you a feeling that they will last long. I saw some of the customers complaining about the infotainment system not working properly. Also the customer service of Mahindra is not worth mentioning, although they are working hard to create a premium image for the XUV. But, one can live with all these considering the cost but if peace of mind is your top priority then it may not be a wise decision to go for the XUV. If mahindra can sort out these issues & the XUV proves to be reliable then they have a true winner in hands. It will continue to set the sales chart on fire for a long time.
P.S.You can go for the W6 model with less electronics if you are worried about their reliability.