Driving impression: Mahindra XUV 300

Mahindra launched the all-new XUV 300 in South Africa this week.

This manufacturer has gone from strength to strength locally and the XUV 300 is the logical next step in growing its product portfolio. Thus far it has focussed on offering humble cars with no direct competitors, but the XUV is set to compete in the hotly contested small SUV segment. With rivals like the Ford EcoSport and Renault Duster, it’s not going to be easy.

Luckily Mahindra has stuck to its formula for offering loads of car for not much money. Pricing for the XUV starts at R250 000 and goes up all the way to R325 000.

It may not seem that reasonable, but the XUV 300 offers a lot of kit as standard. The W8 diesel manual retails within the same pricing range as its main rivals, but it matches and surpasses all of them in terms of kit.

The W8 diesel we drove had LED daytime running lights, seven airbags, a touch-screen interface, satellite navigation, park assist, parking sensors, reversing camera, hill start assist and tyre pressure monitoring. The more luxurious gadgets include dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, cruise control and leather trim on all the surfaces the driver and passenger interact with most.

The quality of the interior is also a giant leap forward for the company. The plastics are of a high quality and the steering wheel and gear lever feel rather upmarket.

The 1.5-litre four-cylinder diesel engine is a peach. It offers 86kW and 300Nm of torque, which is available from 1500r/min. The gear ratios aren’t as short as they are in the Duster manual, which makes the Mahindra much more pleasant to drive in a suburban setting.

On the open road this car shines. With so much torque available from just over idle, one hardly has to gear down to overtake slower traffic.

You’ll definitely notice the difference at the pumps. On our 2000km trip, we had to refuel four times. The best fuel consumption figure it recorded was 4.8 litres/100km and the worst was 6.3 litres/100km. Considering the current fuel price, the XUV 300 is going to lure people to showroom floors with that figure alone.

In terms of ride and handling, Mahindra found the perfect combination. It’s comfortable on all road surfaces, including badly corrugated gravel.

Overall, this is a great little car which definitely deserves the attention of everyone shopping around in this hotly contested segment.

You can expect a full test in an upcoming edition of the magazine.

The XUV 300 comes standard with a five year/150 000km warranty and service plan.



Mahindra XUV300 1,2 Petrol W6: R249 999

Mahindra XUV300 1,5 Diesel W6: R274 999

Mahindra XUV300 1,2 Petrol W8: R304 999

Mahindra XUV300 1,5 Diesel W8: R324 999